Combating stigma around breastfeeding at work

New Delhi: A recent survey has revealed that one of the most common reasons why new mothers switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding once they get back to work, is the lack of breastfeeding support and facilities at their workplace.

The survey conducted by ProEves and Medela India revealed that across 38 leading organizations under various sectors like FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, ITES, E-commerce, Financial Services highlighted that new mothers who resume work post their maternity leave have two major concerns- breastfeeding at work and the facilities provided by the employer for doing so.

It also showed that corporates are investing in their female employees, through provision of childcare support and paid maternity leave, in order to retain them when they become mothers.

Some other findings of the survey:

– 92% of the companies comply with the provisions made in the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016 in terms of nursing breaks

– Only one-third of companies i.e. 33% provide a dedicated nursing room

– 53% of companies have medical rooms that nursing mothers can use to extract milk

– 37% of companies provide a storage unit for extracted breastmilk

– 34% of companies ensure that the new mothers have access to both hands wipes and sanitizers to maintain the required level of hygiene

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months and continue breastfeeding along with solid up to two years to build a healthy foundation for the child.

Recognising the need to encourage mothers to breastfeed, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 was passed by the Government of India for increasing the maternity leave period from the previous 12 weeks to 26 weeks. (ANI)