Companies asked to provide private areas for breastfeeding mums and fridges for storing breast milk
A government White Paper has called for companies to offer more support to their female employees who breastfeed. The suggestion comes ahead of a new law due to roll out in 2011 that enables dads to take more time off to help with childcare, which may see more mums returning to work before they have finished breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to give babies good health, but our society doesn’t always make it easy for new mums to do it,” said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who hopes this move will increase breastfeeding rates and improve the health of babies and children.
Facilities would include a private room for feeding or expressing and cool boxes and fridges for storing expressed milk. The plans would also ask employers to be flexible and allow mums to take up to two hours a day in paid breaks to feed their baby.
However, business leaders have criticised the idea, suggesting it may harm women’s job prospects and be difficult for smaller businesses to comply with.
Would this encourage you to continue breastfeeding after you go back to work?
I think this is brilliant, as I have breastfed both my children after returning to work when they were 5 months (for economic reasons - my husband looks after the kids at home). I was fortunate enough to work at a place that provides a private 'quiet room' where I could go to express during my breaks and lunch hour (also prompted some good discussions on breastfeeding with colleagues). This eased my transition back to work (I didn't have to scale down daytime feeds before returning to prevent engorgement), and my LOs got expressed milk during the day - 2 ten-minute expresses with a hand pump gave me enough milk to cover the next day at home (supplemented by frozen cubes if necessary). It was discreet & easy - I just kept the pump & bottle in my lunchbag in the fridge, and ate lunch while expressing.
I think all women who want to should be given this opportunity - the World Health Organisation encourages breastfeeding for the first 2 years, but currently very few mums continue past the first 6 months.
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