BRIEF: Arizona Sees More Happy Babies

News Release

April 25, 2019

PHOENIX — Arizona’s “Infant at Work” program started in 2000 at the Department of Health Services as a way for mothers to bring their newborn babies to work, enabling them to continue breastfeeding during the early months of their child’s life. In 2017, Governor Ducey expanded this successful program, affectionately known as “Happy Babies,” to the Governor’s Office as well as the Governor’s Southern Arizona Office, and encouraged other agencies to follow suit.

“This program boosts morale and productivity in the workplace, keeps high-quality workers in state service and allows new parents to spend these important first few months with their newborns,” said Governor Ducey in 2017. “Arizona is proud to be a place where new mothers and fathers can enjoy life’s greatest gift.”

Governor Ducey highlighted the Infant at Work program in his 2017 State of the State address, describing it as a “win-win-win” for taxpayers, parents and babies. The program aims to empower Arizona mothers and foster healthy relationships between parents and their babies while boosting productivity and morale across the state.

In the past 2 years:

  • Over 17 state agencies have participated in the Happy Babies program;
  • Nearly 400 babies have been enrolled in the program.

Today, nearly 40 babies are currently enrolled in the program. Infants participating in the program must be at least four weeks old and no older than six months.

Here’s what parents are saying about the program ➡️

"Being able to bring Kate with me took all the anxiety out of returning to work. And I think she added an element of playfulness to the office. We joked that she was the office therapy baby. It's much easier to get out of a tough mood when there's a smiling baby around!" – Colleen Floyd, Office of Tourism

"Since this is my first baby, it was wonderful being able to have her close and really get to know her in these early months. I didn't want to miss any of her 'firsts!' The first time she really giggled happened downstairs in the family room in ADOT's building, as well as the first time she held her own bottle. I was able to get a video of both! Though it was a bit stressful at times, I would do it again in a heartbeat." – Amber Feldhake, Arizona Department of Transportation

“Both Abby and I were very thankful for this program as it allowed us to have more bonding time with our babies and helped us out financially for a while. At that age, it was easy to have our babies with us because they slept and ate most of the time, so we had enough time to get the work done. When they were awake, we multitasked: Luna loved being in her bouncy and James watched Netflix cartoons. Abby also took James on a business trip to several states.” – Miriam Lemke, Arizona Lottery

“I am so grateful that the Infant at Work program was an opportunity I had available to me. The program is in place to help parents create an important bond and positive relationship with their new baby, especially as a first-time parent. My daughter had some issues gaining weight early in life and I know that the time we had together at work helped us develop that emotional bond, but also made it so I was physically able to feed her on demand and get her on track with healthy weight gain. She is now thriving and happier than ever in her new career at daycare.” – Jesse Lewis, Arizona Department of Health Services

“Having the opportunity to bond with my son in such a unique way has been the top highlight of my ADHS experience. The program has truly been an invaluable asset for my family." – Matt Jamieson, Arizona Department of Health Services

“I am so grateful to be able to be a part of the Infants at work program! Being a mother with a newborn can seem like getting back to the workforce will be hard along with separating from your new baby after only 6 weeks. The infant at work program really helped me restore my work ethic and enabled me to be at ease allowing my infant to return with me and my Colleagues that were great support. It also benefited my little one learning social contact and great motor skills at a young age.” – Jennifer Garza-Nodora, Department of Child Safety

“I participated in the infants at work program at DCS from October 2018 through March 2019. Overall, I felt the program was very successful and I am appreciative that I was allowed the opportunity to participate. I was quite nervous bringing my child into the work environment; I was unsure how others would react if my daughter became fussy or upset. However, I received nothing but support from friends and coworkers. Everyone was willing to assist in any way they could and it brought a sense of relief. I enjoyed the time spent with my daughter. I am fully supportive of the program and am excited to utilize it again in the future.” – Kathrine Pesce (Andrews), Department of Child Safety

“I have enjoyed being a part of the Infants at Work program. Being able to bring my child to work has helped me bond with my son. It has made breastfeeding more feasible and I have been able to provide my son with proper nutrition. I have been able to continue to contribute financially to my family. I am blessed and grateful to be a part of this program.” – Isabel Breceda, Department of Child Safety

“The Infant At Work program has been wonderful for me and my family. By having him twice a week at work with me I am able to continue the incredibly important bonding process that is so crucial with young babies. It allows me to nurse my child, which is healthiest for both him and me. My coworkers all say that they love the atmosphere that comes from having a baby in the office. I have had several people mention how quiet he is. I am able to “baby-wear” him in a wrap, so he stays calm (and sleeping) much of the workday, which is good for both of us! It also is saving me several thousand dollars in daycare costs. I am so glad we have this option at my work!” – Becky Eden, Arizona Department of Water Resources

“I think Infant at Work is an awesome program. My daughter was on a waitlist for daycare, so the program made it possible for me to return to work earlier than I would otherwise have been able to. It also seemed to be a morale booster in the office for folks to see a baby coming to work! I met quite a few colleagues from both ADWR and ADEQ that I wouldn’t ordinarily have an opportunity to work with because everyone was excited to see the baby. For me, personally, it was also an opportunity to continue bonding with my daughter before she started daycare.” – Kimberly Parks, Arizona Department of Water Resources