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Unlike some other programs, there may not be a "first day" or official launch of your lactation support program (LSP), because it may phase in as you develop a policy, design breastfeeding support services, and design your lactation rooms. A launch celebration can be held at any of the points along the way, even if other components have been in place for some time. It’s important to celebrate progress in implementing your LSP and document the lessons you learn along the way. Whether you launch the different components of the LSP together or separately, the following suggestions will help you get the most from your LSP launch(es):

Communication with Stakeholders

During the implementation phase of your LSP, it is important to communicate with stakeholders about what is happening and when portions of the program are "coming online." This could consist of a series of announcements, as appropriate. Make sure stakeholders know that their input is appreciated at this, and every, step of the program.

Promoting the LSP

Unlike a new fitness center or many other employee services, there may not be widespread use of the LSP at any given time. Factors like the number of pregnant employees, the breastfeeding rate among employees prior to implementation of the LSP, accommodations for maternity leave, and many other factors will impact how heavily the LSP is used. Also, the program may be used more than casual observers realize because it is a very private experience and not necessarily one that people will discuss casually with coworkers, even though they use it and appreciate it very much.

For these reasons, promoting the phases or events of your LSP is important. It helps women in the organization who might be eligible for the program know of its existence, and may have good public relations value for recruiting and retaining other employees. So, consider promoting the program not only to those you see as your target audience, but to the organization in general.

Setting Up the Launch

photo of a ribbon cutting ceremony at a lactation roomSome ideas to consider include the following:

  • Have a ribbon cutting for your new lactation room(s).
  • Have someone in senior management give the welcome speech at some Lactation Support Service class or function. Consider finding someone who benefited from or wished that they had access to a similar program at some point in her career.
  • Have someone in senior management announce the new policy, following your organization’s procedures for announcing new policies.
  • Meet with employees whose work areas are in close proximity to the lactation room(s) prior to the launch and answer any questions they may have. Invite them to the launch.
  • Combine the launch with other celebrations such as World Breastfeeding Week (usually the first week in August), if the timing is appropriate.

Next Steps

After launching the LSP component(s), identify and implement changes that resolve "opening day" issues, or issues that arise anytime with the program.

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