31 July 2013: U Family calls upon on all employers to create a workplace that is friendly for breastfeeding mothers
Published on 31 July 2013
As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, we call on all employers for your strong support in creating a workplace that is friendly to breastfeeding mothers. Returning to work should not be a barrier to mothers who wish to continue to breastfeed their children.
In April this year, U Family had conducted a poll on 231 married women who returned to work after their maternity leave and have a child of 3-year-old or less. Results showed that close to 50% of respondents stopped breastfeeding by the baby’s 6th month. This is despite the World Health Organisation's recommendation that mothers should provide exclusive breastfeeding to babies up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding accompanied with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Some key reasons as to why mothers stopped providing breast milk after they returned to work included a lack of time and flexibility to express at workplace; a lack of space at workplace to express breast milk; and a lack of support from employers and co-workers.
Accommodating mothers’ breastfeeding needs is not complicated. What they need are: time, a private room and understanding employers. Employers can definitely play a bigger role in supporting breastfeeding mothers at the workplace by providing accessible and private lactation rooms that are shielded from view and free from intrusion. These mothers should also be granted time to express milk.
This week, we urge all senior and line managers of companies to take the first step in reviewing some of these needs and consider putting in place policies that are mother- and baby-friendly.
NTUC U Family through its programme Project Liquid Gold will continue to advocate and raise awareness for lactation support at workplaces.
Toh Hwee Tin
National Trades Unions Congress
Tags: NTUC, U Family, Breastfeeding, Project Liquid Gold, Mothers, Workplace, Employer, Parent, Babies, Family friendly