Breastfeeding and lactation facilities in the workplace

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2020 National Women's Conference
24 October 2019

NHS advice is that breastfeeding has long-term benefits for babies and mothers, lasting right into adulthood. Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer a baby is breastfed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of:;infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result ;diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result ;sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);childhood leukaemia ;obesity;cardiovascular disease in adulthood Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first 6 months (26 weeks) of a baby’s life. There are also benefits for the nursing mother, the more a mother breastfeeds, the greater the benefits. Breastfeeding lowers a mother�s risk of:;breast cancer;ovarian cancer;osteoporosis (weak bones);cardiovascular disease;obesityIn 2017 Australian Senator Larissa Waters has become the first politician to breastfeed in that nation’s parliament, but not all women are this fortunate. Why should your employer�s practices dictate your choices about how you feed your child? Following birth women may need to take the decision to return to work whilst still breastfeeding, but without the provision of suitable facilities, this economic need can also impact upon their choices regarding the feeding, and therefore health, of their child. In their 2015 report, the Equality & Human Rights Commission found that among mothers saying a return to work influenced their decision to stop breastfeeding, three in four (74%) cited the practicalities of expressing milk or breastfeeding, or lack of facilities at work as being the reason.Although not yet enshrined in law, the Health and Safety Executive recommends that employers provide a private, clean, secure and safe place to express and store milk. Expecting nursing mothers to breastfeed or express milk in a toilet is never acceptable. Providing appropriate facilities can enable women to make affirmative choices about when they return to work, normalise breastfeeding, and work to address remaining stigmas about nursing mothers in the workplace.This motion calls upon the National Women�s Committee to work with the national health and safety committee to;1)draw up a guide to good practice, which will enable branches to lobby and work with employers to deliver appropriate breastfeeding and lactation facilities within the workplace.2) Encourage branches to promote the usage of such spaces and promote a flexible approach for managers to support and allow women to access these facilities.3)encourage branches to work with employers to the raise awareness with managers as to their responsibilities regarding breastfeeding and lactation in the workplace.4)provide guidance on breastfeeding support groups, the benefits of breastfeeding, and the details of employers� responsibilities to women who are breastfeeding when they return to work.