Lets make breastfeeding and work, work!
WHAT WE KNOW…
- Globally half a billion working women lack access to the needed workplace provisions to provide breastmilk to their children (paid maternity leave, flexible working environment, space to express milk)
- Allowing women to take the time to breastfeed or express breastmilk whilst at their workplace, or at home, ensures children receive the nutritional benefits of breastmilk that build healthier populations, reduce morbidity and mortality, and lessen the economic burden associated with not breastfeeding, approximately $302 Billion annually (Lancet, 2016). It is these children that will contribute to our society in the future.
- Supporting women to breastfeed needs to be multi-dimensional across all levels from policy right through to addressing attitudes at home within our own families, but this is possible. Doing this will women stop women from having to make decisions regarding being employed or providing breastmilk to their child.
- Adequate support from the workplaces in which women are employed and the communities they live such as
- Legislating a minimum of 18 weeks, and ideally offering 6 months paid maternity leave.
- Flexibility when returning to work whilst breastfeeding.
- Space, time, and storage facilities for women to express breastmilk or feed their baby directly whilst at work.
- Addressing workplace discrimination that targets women during their pregnancy and when they return to work.
- Be supportive of colleagues, family and friends, who are returning to work and are still breastfeeding.
- The Lancet, 2016, Why invest, and what it will take to improve breastfeeding practices? Bhandari, N, Hajeebhoy, N, Horton, S et al; Volume 387, Issue 10017, 30 January–5 February 2016, Pages 491-504. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01044-21044
- The Lancet, 2023, Breastfeeding Series, Breastfeeding 2023 (thelancet.com)