How a Formula Maker's New Maternity Leave Policy Helps Nursing Moms

And now Nestlé is getting in on the action. The Swiss-based food and beverage corporation recently unveiled its new international maternity leave policy, and it's pretty generous: 14 weeks paid leave—and an opportunity to extend that by up to six months (unpaid), if you want—and the option of a  flexible work schedule once you return. A major reason for the generous arrangement? To support breastfeeding mothers, say Nestlé brass—which is ironic considering the company is a major manufacturer of infant formula.

In an interview with Fortune, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke explained that the corporation is all about giving babies and moms a good start in life and supports breastfeeding for the first six months of life. "We as a company should allow mothers that are our employees to live up to that," he says.

But lest you think this is a ploy to corner the mom market, Bulcke insists the new maternity leave policy is simply a reflection of the company's beliefs. It's a way that "mothers can secure a healthy start for their babies, because we as a company believe in that," he explains. "It costs money and reduces productivity [but] I can tell you of the motivation that it creates."

Of course, paid time off is crucial whether you're bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. Those early weeks and months are a special time for a new family, and the last thing moms and dads should have to worry about is their job. Hopefully more companies—and our government—will come around and see that.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

Need to go back to work after maternity leave? Here's how to find the best child care for your baby or toddler.

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1 Comment

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