Breastfeeding Support at Work Is Possible, Here’s How

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Gone are the days when the broom closet was the only location where working mothers could pump on the job. Today, more offices are providing safe, clean spaces for breastfeeding and breast pumping, and rightfully so, as the amount of birthing people continues to rise in the workplace.

After seeing new mothers abandoning careers they loved due to lack of support at work, Cassi Janakos knew she could apply her engineering skills to create options for women to support their nursing needs. She is the co-founder, chief operating officer, and chief engineer of Healthy Horizons Breastfeeding Centers and Corporate Lactation Services, which provides on-site lactation rooms, and offers workplace support services.

We create healthy, equitable workplace facilities for new mothers and parents by partnering with employers on lactation room facility design, on-demand education, and safe products for pumping at work,” Janakos tells CircleAround

The Birth of Lactation Support in the Workplace

A natural designer and serial problem-solver, Janakos uses her technical and leadership expertise to create disruptive changes in how companies ease the transition of new parents returning to the workforce.

Services include lactation room setup and ongoing maintenance in 120 cities in North America, return-to-work gifts for new parents, and an online education platform that focuses on parenting and lactation content. 

Healthy Horizons is actually a mother-daughter operation. Together with her mother, Sheila Dukas-Janakos, their team works with businesses and lactation room advocates to identify, design, and implement lactation spaces anywhere they are needed.

Healthy Horizons and the Baby Formula Shortage

Proper lactation support is especially needed in today’s climate, and the recent baby formula shortage has many parents worried about obtaining adequate nutrition for their infants. Dukas-Janakos was discouraged by her doctor from breastfeeding during her first pregnancy, which helped inspire her to create a company that provides general information and counseling to women on nutrition, human sexuality, health, and general breastfeeding support

According to their website, Dukas-Janakos is affectionately known as the “The Milk Fairy Godmother” to many families and is proud to advocate for moms who want to provide breastmilk for their newborns. They created a list of important information and resources for the baby formula shortage as additional support.

Working for Workplace Equity

While Healthy Horizons has been around for nearly 30 years, its work is especially prominent in today’s fight for more equitable healthcare and wellness in the workplace. 

“Employers are mobilizing their workforces to either return to the office or settling into a long-term hybrid or virtual work environment,” Janakos explains. “They will need solutions to support this shift in work environments.”

“The last couple of years of the pandemic have shown us different ways to live and work,” she adds. “People are re-evaluating their needs, wants, and what it means to integrate work and life in a less stressful way. This means people will look for resources and tools to integrate the two realistically.”

The Future of Healthy Horizons

A Girl Scout alum, Janakos continuously focuses on giving back to her community. She serves as a Cultural Mentor with TechWomen through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is a Stanford StartX Mentor, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Society of Women Engineers.

And on their horizon, the future looks bright. “Healthy Horizons is supporting more new parents than ever while being a green business with a social good focus,” Janakos tells CircleAround. “I am proud that our strategic planning, genuine care for the experience parents have while pumping at work, and focus on creating a supportive workplace within Healthy Horizons has facilitated this success.”

Parents should have the support they need at work to care for their growing families. You can advocate for mothers at their workplace by reaching out to Healthy Horizons or sharing information with your HR team.

Tags: Breastfeeding, Motherhood, new moms

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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