Breastfeeding works: the role of employers in supporting women who wish to breastfeed and work in four organizations in England

Kosmala-Anderson, Joanna and Wallace, Louise M. (2006). Breastfeeding works: the role of employers in supporting women who wish to breastfeed and work in four organizations in England. Journal of Public Health, 28(3) pp. 183–191.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdl012

Abstract

An important factor influencing duration of breastfeeding is mother's employment status. The main aim of this study was to determine the experience and views of employees (n = 46) in four large public sector organizations concerning breastfeeding support at work. Participants were recruited if they were employed by one of four public service employers and if they were planning to go on maternity leave in the next 6 months, on maternity leave or within 6 months of return from maternity leave. They completed a questionnaire anonymously. Almost 80 of women wanted to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. However, 90 of all respondents were not aware of any employer policy nor offered any information concerning support to enable breastfeeding after returning to work, despite two organizations having a range of maternity- and breastfeeding-related policies in development and some facilities in place. Almost 90 of respondents stated the employers should do more to support breastfeeding. This should include providing pregnant staff with information about breastfeeding support that they should expect and could therefore plan to use, including access to facilities to express and to store breast milk, to enable them to work flexible hours and to take rest breaks during working hours. Recommendations are made for employers. © The Author 2006, Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved.

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