Health Services,

Creating breastfeeding-friendly workplaces

Latrobe Regional Health is encouraging employers to make their workplaces more inclusive for breastfeeding parents and their bubs.

The call follows World Breastfeeding Week at the start of August which featured the theme: ‘Enabling breastfeeding – making a difference for working parents’.

The global campaign is raising awareness about the advantages of breastfeeding by supporting workplaces to become breastfeeding-friendly environments.

LRH Lactation Consultant Leanne Horn said although Australia had adopted paid parental leave, there were still many barriers facing breastfeeding parents in the workplace.

This included allowing the time and a quiet place for mums to express and store milk which was often a challenge in busy working environments.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association offers employers the opportunity to become an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace, by helping them provide the necessary space, time and support.

“It’s hard in some jobs to schedule a break for mums to relax to express enough milk,” Leanne said.

“And in some workplaces, women may have to express in a bathroom or other inappropriate area, as there are no designated spaces set aside for them.

“Normally a mum will need to express a couple of times at work to maintain a constant supply of milk and this is not always easy, and can also stress a mum.”

Leanne said there were many harmful misconceptions or conflicting advice about breastfeeding and encouraged parents to contact LRH or the Australian Breastfeeding Association for information.

LRH offers breastfeeding classes and a lactation consultant to provide evidence-based information to address a parent’s specific concern.

Leanne also acknowledged there were some mums who chose not to breastfeed their kids, and others who faced barriers such as producing milk, sore nipples, or latching-on.

“We know there are some women who can’t breastfeed, or don’t want to, and this is okay,” she said.

“But we also know there are women who want to keep breastfeeding but don’t get the support to continue.”