“I had a lot of good support- there are a lot of moms in my department, and they all encouraged me to take full advantage and said I wouldn’t regret it.”

Nestlé’s Parent Support Policy has only been in place a year, but it’s already making a difference in the lives of employees like Leanna

I had my first child, Izzy, on January 6 — one of the first babies born after Nestlé launched our new Parent Support Policy. When I was first pregnant, I didn’t know that the policy was coming yet — when I found out, I was so excited. I knew as soon as I heard about the policy that I would want to take the full six months. I had a lot of good support- there are a lot of moms in my department and they all encouraged me to take full advantage and said I wouldn’t regret it. At that time, I couldn’t really understand and appreciate what it would be like, and they were right.

I had actually left my previous employer because I worked all the time with no life-balance, and I thought to myself ‘I can’t sustain this and have a family.’ I was very upfront about that with Nestlé, and they really emphasized flexibility and work-life balance from the minute I walked in the door. The Parent Support Policy itself is great, but for me it was also about having the support of my team, management, and executive leadership. Everyone is different, some people live to work and some people work to live. My top priority is raising my family. Nestlé gives you the opportunity to grow while balancing other things, whatever works best for you. I’ve never been in an environment where you can talk so freely about your goals and the company will work with you. When I came back I asked my boss, “who can I write a letter to to thank them for this policy?!”

During my leave, I could actually take time for my own health, like going on a run. We would go on picnics, we had a lot of quality family time. At 3 months everything clicked, and Izzy got easier and more interactive. We were there the first time she crawled.

They were the best six months of my life — I’ve never been happier or more content than having that time with my family.

They were the best six months of my life — I’ve never been happier or more content than having that time with my family. Going back was still difficult, but the extra time made a big difference for me personally — it was nothing near as sick-to-my-stomach as it would have been at three months. Even down to routine issues like sleep: at 3 months, Izzy wasn’t sleeping as well as she was at 6 months. If I’d gone back at 3 months, I’d have been exhausted and unable to perform as well. At 6 months, we were rested, we had a routine down. As a first-time mom, I didn’t even realize how beneficial it would be, but all those little things mattered so much. I felt like developmentally, we were both ready.

This experience has made me more understanding and supportive for fellow parents in my workplace — I got such welcome support from my team, how could I not offer that same understanding? The team made sure that I felt no guilt about it whatsoever. They may have been panicking behind closed doors, but they never projected that on to me at all. When I came back it was nothing but support. The people who covered for us went through a lot, but we’re all in it together. That level of support isn’t easily found elsewhere.

Learn more about Nestlé’s first year of the Parent Support Policy.