State's "Infant at Work" program helped state worker bond with his baby

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- For a decade, the Arizona Department of Health Services has operated the "Infant at Work" program, which allows mothers and fathers to bring their newborn children to work, for the first six months of their lives.

Now, that program is expanding.

Currently, there are 39 babies enrolled in the program, with 17 agencies throughout the state participating. One father said the program has helped him bond so much more with his baby.

"Unbelievably beneficial," said Ryan Lang. "It's truly brought me and my sons closer."

When a person walks into Lang's cubicle, that person will see things one would not normally see, with a stroller parked outside, a walker, and a mat for his four-month-old baby William.

William is one of 39 babies participating in the Infant at Work program.

"It's a balance of work and taking care of William," said Lang. "He's a good baby."

The program started as a breastfeeding program for mothers, but expanded to fathers and caregivers. For Lang, it benefited his family when his wife went back to work after maternity leave.

"It's awesome that we can bring our boys to work," said Lang. "I think it's a peace of mind that when she goes back to work, we don't have to send him right away to child care."

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ said the program is cost effective for parents, and there's workplace benefits.

"Increases morale, employees return earlier to work, and if they have enjoyed the program, it's a great retention bonus," said Christ.

Infant at Work Program