Breastfeeding guidelines

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Creating breastfeeding-friendly workplaces

Mothers who feel able to continue breastfeeding when they return from parental leave generally have a smoother transition back into paid work. Workplaces that are versatile enough to support their choices are likely to benefit from increased staff loyalty.

Breastfeeding emerged as an important issue in EEO Trust research on parenting and work.

What some parents said:

"I found it very difficult to carry on breastfeeding after returning to work because there were no breastfeeding facilities. I was embarrassed to approach anyone to find out about facilities. Information should be given to all staff on maternity leave on how and where they can access the breastfeeding facilities without them having to ask for it."

"My need was more for a place to express milk. It can be very embarrassing for the mothers and others who burst into meeting rooms/closed rooms and find the mother expressing milk. As a result, it is not easy to relax, and so it is more difficult to express. This creates more stress about the return-to-work process."

"When working full-time and being almost a full-time mum it's easy to lose the balance. Workplaces need to have systems in place to enable staff also to be mums."

One father said: "I obviously do not have a direct need for breastfeeding facilities, however, I am continually stunned (and was before I became a dad) that breastfeeding is still considered offensive. Well, so long as it is considered offensive, facilities must be made available."