According to the Parenting in the Workplace Initiative, Babies at Work programs enables parents to bring their infants with them to work, generally from the age of six weeks to six months. When structured effectively, these programs are beneficial for all parties: Working mothers return to work sooner and can still care for their infant. Having their babies right there with them allows these moms to breastfeed their babies during the day. It is well-documented that close, regular contact with parents enhances a baby’s physical and mental development.
A number of state health departments have implemented successful Babies-at-Work programs. This page highlights several states' programs.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has an Infant at Work Program that reflects its commitment to developing and implementing family-friendly policies to attract and retain skilled staff. Its program is for babies from six weeks old to six months old. You can view the Department's full Infant at Work Policy, Employee Agreement Form, Alternate Care Provider Agreement, and CDC's guidelines for when to keep sick babies at home.
The Arizona Department of Health Services permits employees to bring their babies to work, provided they have signed permission in advance and follow the Department's policy and implementation guidelines. Arizona first launched a breastfeeding program and then expanded that program to Babies-at-Work. The policy applies to all parents or legal guardians of infants up to six months of age, whether breastfeeding or not. The program was featured in Time magazine and in the Arizona Republic. Agency Director William Humble said that his agency's Babies-at-Work program not only improves babies' health, but it "fosters team spirit and camaraderie in our work units. Bottom line it is the right thing to do.”
The Babies-at-Work website has a wealth of information on implementing a program in your workplace, including success stories, organizations with Babies-at-Work policies, speakers, liability insurance for Babies-at-Work programs and much more.
Grace Huppert, MS, RD, Obesity Prevention Program Coordinator at the California Department of Public Health has transcripts from interviews with state and county health departments that have implemented Babies-at-Work programs. Contact Grace at 916.552.9891.
The North Dakota Department of Health has had a Babies-at-Work policy since the early 1990s. The policy states that an employee may bring his or her infant younger than six months to the office during normal work hours with prior approval of the division director. The division director will evaluate the arrangement weekly. Click on the PDF above to view North Dakota's policy.
Nevada's Health Division has a pilot Babies-at-Work Program in keeping with the Division's commitment to creating a positive work environment. The Division believes that when an infant can stay with a parent, the family, the employer and the baby all benefit. You can view Nevada's policies and procedures in the two Word documents above.