August 16, 2006

Three US Companies Cited as Best for Nursing Moms

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PNC Financial Services, WhiteWave Foods and Mothering Magazine were cited on Wednesday as the best U.S. companies for nursing mothers to work for, according to WorldWIT, a networking organization for professional women in business.

The three offered the best resources, services and policies for nursing mothers who have returned to work, said Boulder, Colorado-based WorldWIT, which selected the winners.

Research has shown that breast milk offers babies numerous health advantages over formula including heightened immunity and compounds that aid brain development. But many women struggle to continue breastfeeding when they return to work and are separated from their babies for a lengthy part of the day.

PNC Financial Services, based in Pittsburgh; WhiteWave Foods in Broomfield, Colorado; and Mothering Magazine in Santa Fe, New Mexico, were selected out of nearly three dozen companies that submitted themselves for consideration, WorldWIT said.

PNC provides private rooms for nursing mothers to collect and store breast milk that are equipped with pumps and refrigerators, Kathy D'Appolonia, a PNC senior vice president, told WorldWIT.

One-third of large U.S. companies provide a private, secure area for nursing mothers during the workday, while 7 percent offer on-site or near-site child care, according to a 2005 national study by the Families and Work Institute and cited by WorldWIT.

In picking the winners, judges weighed such factors as private, secure rooms for mothers, refrigerator facilities, how much maternity leave is offered and at what pay, WorldWIT said.