The New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA) is advocating for stronger workplace policies for breastfeeding mothers to improve national breastfeeding rates once mothers leave hospital.
A big part of the post-hospital breastfeeding decline is a direct result of women feeling alienated about breastfeeding in the workplace and public places. As a society, we need to ensure:
all women have access to ongoing support
communities are consulted to establish the right facilities and services
health workers are educated to understand cultural issues
For many women, the decision to return to the workforce full time is influenced by the breastfeeding facilities available in the workplace. Whether you are working in a formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that you are well-supported in claiming your right to breastfeed your child.
In New Zealand, there are many cases where women abandon breastfeeding partially or completely when they return to work. This is largely a result of mothers not having sufficient time or a place to breastfeed, express and store their milk.
The NZBA believes that creating supportive conditions at work such as paid maternity leave, flexible or part-time work arrangements and improved onsite facilities will help.