Women’s digital health startup offers breast milk shipping benefit for employers

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Women’s digital health startup Maven is now offering a breast milk shipping program as a benefit for employers using the company’s digital health platform.

Maven introduced the service in September as a way for companies to help employees transport their breast milk when they are spending time away from a newborn.

“As women transition back to the workplace, a lot of them are still breastfeeding and it’s really hard to travel and go on work trips and pump at the same time,” says Katherine Ryder, Maven’s founder and CEO.

Maven is among a small group of companies that sell its breast milk delivery services as a benefit to employers; others are Milk Stork, LifeCare and FedEx.

On average, Ryder says it costs around $185 to ship breast milk, per use, using Maven’s plan. The company declined to share which employers are using the breast milk service, but technology company Snap Inc., the creators of the social media app Snapchat, have used Maven’s platform.

The new delivery service complements its other women’s healthcare and family benefit services. Maven provides a platform where employees can access benefits surrounding fertility, maternity, adoption and return to work. Maven also has a network of healthcare providers where women can reach doctors ranging from OBGYNs to physical therapists. The breast milk shipping service will be offered in addition to the benefits Maven already offers, Ryder says.

“It’s part of our return to work program,” Ryder says. “As we’re helping new moms prep to come back into the workforce and manage work and life as a new parent, we help them plan for everything from traveling to childcare.”

To use the service, Maven provides new moms with a breast milk shipping kit, depending on whether they are flying domestically or internationally. The company offers three different varying kits that generally include items like breast milk bags, a refrigerated shipping container, foam ice packs and packing directions.

Breast milk shipping is emerging as a more popular benefit, with companies including auto manufacturer Nissan and fast-casual pasta chain Noodles & Company offering it to workers.

See also: Shipping breast milk emerges as an employee benefit

Ryder says she thinks employers are embracing more family-friendly benefits like breast milk shipping as a way to show that female leadership is important to the company. For new moms, taking a work trip that may force them to be away from their baby for an extended period of time can be stressful. And if an employer shows they are supportive that can make a big difference, she says.

“As a new parent, it sends a really strong signal that female leadership at the company matters,” she says.

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