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Bringing your baby to work? These moms are making it work in Martin County

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February 06, 2019
When Carra Crehan, the manager of the popular dining spot Chef’s Table, gave birth to her daughter Frances in August of 2017, she soon returned to the workplace – with baby in tow.
 
“My work is important to me, but I also didn’t want to miss any of that precious time with my daughter,” said Crehan.
 
Like many new mothers, Crehan found that she could still be productive at work, all while spending time with her daughter, which also allowed her to continue breastfeeding.  In fact, having a baby around seemed to make everyone happier at the workplace. “Now one-year-old, Frances is in daycare, but I still bring her in to the restaurant twice a month to visit with everyone.”
 
The Martin County Healthy Start Coalition embraced a family-friendly workplace in March of 2015 when Aubrey Campbell, Manager of Operations, gave birth to her first daughter June.  June fed, napped, played and explored while mom Aubrey took care of both work and baby.  Now, the office is home to Aubrey’s second child, Otis, and Executive Director Samantha Suffich’s daughter Nora.
 
“One of the main barriers for women meeting their breastfeeding goals is returning to work,” said Suffich.  “By allowing women to keep their young babies with them in the workplace, they’re better able to continue breastfeeding after maternity leave ends.”
 
Among the growing list of local workplaces allowing new mothers to bring their babies to work is United Way of Martin County, QuitDoc Foundation, Kirchman Construction and Big Brothers Big Sisters.  The Parenting in the Workplace Initiative, an organization that provides resources for programs in which parents can bring their children to work every day and care for them while doing their jobs, has recorded 2,100 babies at work.
 
Some of the key benefits the institute highlights include an earlier return to work after baby’s birth, increased employee retention, higher morale, increased teamwork and increased efficiency from parent participants.  They provide a step-by-step guide to implementing a babies-at-work policy, including policy templates.
 
The goal: to ensure everyone’s needs are met – management, coworkers, parents and babies.
 
Elisabeth Glynn, Director of Community Relations, Major Gifts & Endowments at United Way of Martin County, brings her daughter Alison Paige to the office and to meetings.  “Newborns sleep quite a bit, so I’m able to focus on my work while Alison naps throughout the day, but I still get that precious time with her,” said Glynn.  “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work and be the best mom I can be.”
 
Alison frequently joins her mom at community meetings and volunteer opportunities through United Way.
 
According to a new survey released by Motherly, 70% of Millennial moms work outside the home, and the demand for workplace and societal support is higher than ever. And with increased technology, today’s workplace options are more flexible than ever, with more opportunities to tele-commute and work from home, and more inclusive workplace opportunities.
 
And among those options are a new take on the work/life balance – babies in the workplace.
 
“It’s exciting to see more flexible options for working parents becoming the mainstream,” said Suffich.  “Offering parents the ability to return to work while still benefiting from the closeness to their newborns is a win-win.  Employees are able to return to work sooner and continue to grow with their workplace, and new parents are able to better meet their breastfeeding goals and enjoy early bonding time with their babies.”
 
The Martin County Healthy Start Coalition encourages workplaces to consider adopting the babies-at-work policy and are offering resources for interested employers, funded by the Children’s Services Council of Martin County.  To learn more, visit mchealthystart.org or call 772-463-2888.
 

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