Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces

  Talks at Workplaces

As part of its initiative to promote continued breastfeeding for working mums, ABAS is available to conduct lunchtime talks to staff at workplaces to help them understand and manage breastfeeding better after returning to work. The talks are conducted by ABAS volunteers who are trained healthcare professionals or experienced mothers from the support groups. The two topics offered are:

    Feeding Baby Right in the First Year - This topic guides parents on the best nutrition for infants in the first year of life.

  Consultations with Management

• Sit down with management in your organization to discuss how to make improvements to your workplace with the special needs of the breastfeeding employee in mind.
• Advise your organization on how to set up a Lactation Room

Enquiries to

Setting up a Lactation Room

    •  Clean, private area with comfortable seating and power point (eg the meeting/conference or store room, but definitely not a toilet). In most cases, this does not involve a lot of expense to the employer, rather reorganizing. If there is no specially designated breastfeeding room, a special signage for when the room is being used should be available.
    •  Facilities for washing hands and equipment.

    •  Refrigerator for storage of breastmilk.
    •  Flexibility of times of usual breaks and/or lactation breaks as required for expressing of breastmilk or breastfeeding. Lactation breaks need to be negotiated between the employer and employee. The International Labour Organisation recommends two thirty minute breaks in an eight hour shift in addition to normal breaks
    •  Information about facilities and policies provided at time of request for maternity leave.

    •  Facilities for storage of breast pump and other equipment (eg cupboard or locker).
    •  Availability of a steam/microwave sterilizer.
    •  Availability of flexible work options eg job-sharing/part-time/home-based/flexi-hours. These may already be in place but not utilised and can make it easier for mothers to combine their parenting and work commitments.
    •  Assistance with child care eg on-site centre/help with locating childcare places/employer-sponsored child care.
Adapted and modified from Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Accreditation Information Booklet, Australian Breastfeeding Association

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What if I don’t have enough milk?

Very rarely would a mother not be able to produce enough milk for her baby. Mum’s supply is de-pendent on baby’s demand. As long as baby is given unrestricted access to the breast, a very good supply will build up quickly. Three practices help to build supply: give baby the first suckle within half an hour of delivery; feed the baby often (on demand) after that; and breastfeed the baby in the night. One practice that will decrease your supply is to offer baby feeds of formula in between.

How do I know that baby has enough?

It is important to know that baby has latched on properly to the breast and is emptying it efficiently. Watch your baby’s suckling pattern. It is normal to have periods of strong, rhythmic suckling at the beginning, which tapers off as baby fills up. Your newborn should nurse at least 8 times each 24 hours. You may not be able to see how much he has drunk, but you can monitor his output. Your fully breastfed baby should urinate at least 6 times a day and have at least 4 stools daily in the first month.

Can I breastfeed baby if I have the ‘flu?

Yes, you can, and you should. By the time you realize you have the ‘flu, you have already been incubating it, and baby has been exposed to the infection. Your body will have started making anti-bodies to fight your ‘flu. By continuing to breastfeed, your baby will get your antibodies through the milk, and be better protected against the ‘flu. By discontinuing, baby gets no protection and is more likely to succumb. Let your doctor know you are breastfeeding, and ask for medication that will not affect the baby. There are very few medications that are unsafe for breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before discontinuing breastfeeding. Get plenty of rest, and feed the baby. Get help for other house chores.

How long should baby be breastfed?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for six months. Semi-solids can be introduced after six months, and baby can continue to have breast milk for two years and beyond to enjoy the maximum protection breast-feeding can provide.

What if mum has to return to work?

It usually takes mum 6-8 weeks to establish a good milk supply. With forward planning and a good understanding of supply and demand, expressing techniques and milk storage, working mums are well able to continue breastfeeding long after returning to work. The longer maternity leave now in place helps working mums to make this transition.