Home Depot, TripAdvisor among dozens of companies adding breast milk shipping benefit

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Breast milk shipping has turned into a bona fide benefits trend.

In the last six months, more than 25 companies — including the Home Depot, Vox Media, TripAdvisor and Pinterest — have signed on with Milk Stork, one of the largest breast milk shipping providers.

Employers are increasingly turning to the benefit as a way to attract and retain female employees, says Milk Stork CEO and founder Kate Torgersen, who launched the company in 2015 after she experienced challenges expressing milk on a business trip.

“I was a working mom who was breastfeeding and had to take a business trip,” says Torgersen, who worked for Clif Bar & Company at the time. “I came back from a business trip and I had two gallons of milk that I had to deal with.”

See also: Noodles & Company adds breast milk shipping, adoption assistance to growing benefits package

Torgersen says breastfeeding a newborn baby while traveling for business is a continuous pain point for nursing mothers. Women often have to pump while traveling, leaving them with a high volume of perishable milk and limited options for shipping and storage.

Breast milk shipping services like Milk Stork provide mothers with the tools to ship milk home. Milk Stork kits often include breast milk storage bags, a refrigerated box for packing and a tote if mothers chose to carry milk with them.

“It allows her to continue to be productive in her job without having that compromise,” Torgersen says.

Other recent Milk Stork clients include Zillow, Ocean Spray, consulting firm BDO, medical technology company Hologic, marketing agency the Marketing Arm, law firm Duane Morris, News Corp and investment bank Piper Jaffray. The company now offers breast milk shipping to more than 300 employers.

Other breast milk shipping providers include LifeCare, FedEx and women’s digital health startup Maven.

While breast milk shipping may be growing in popularity, a relatively small number of companies offer it to their employees. Only about 2% of employers offered the benefit in 2018, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. By comparison, nearly half of the employers SHRM surveyed indicated that they offered onsite lactation for mothers.

Torgersen says she thinks more employers are going to begin adopting the benefit as time goes on. Millennials specifically are becoming more interested in having family-friendly benefits in the office, she says. It’s important to acknowledge that women have different experiences in the workplace, she says, and employers need to honor these differences.

“Our experiences as women in the workforce are not the same as a man’s, our life transitions have different needs and support,” she says.

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