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Having a workplace that allows breastfeeding to continue after a new mum has returned to work can benefit employers and employees. 

A 2015 study by Women’s Health Action shows that women are four times more likely to stop breastfeeding their baby at three months of age or less if they receive no workplace support.  The same study also showed that over one-quarter of respondents (28%) are not aware of the Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding, and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008, which is to provide guidance for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding through breaks and facilities.
 
Employers can support breastfeeding employees by providing four simple things: good communication, time, space and support.
 

Why promote breastfeeding in the workplace?

Mothers who are able to continue breastfeeding after they return to work are more likely to return to the same employer, saving significant costs in recruitment and training.

How can workplaces help?

Under the ‘Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding, and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008’, employers must ensure that, so far as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances:

  • appropriate facilities are provided in the workplace for a breastfeeding employee who wishes to do so in the workplace (i.e. quiet and comfortable space to express or breastfeed milk, heating and storage facilities for expressed milk).

  • appropriate breaks are provided to an employee who is breastfeeding and wishes to breastfeed during a work period. 

Regardless of whether you have staff members going on maternity leave or not, talk to your staff about breastfeeding and communicate the support your workplace provides so staff know they are well supported should the need to breastfeed in future.

For more information about breastfeeding in the workplace, visit the breastfeeding page on the WorkWell website where you can access free resources, tools and assistance.

If your workplace would like to become breastfeeding friendly accredited for customers as well as staff contact 0800 221 555 or email our breastfeeding friendly advisor.

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