World Breastfeeding Week

As this week nears its end I thought I would bring to your attention that it is World Breastfeeding Week. The WBW campaign commenced 23 years ago. The theme this year is “Working Women & Breastfeeding”, Over the last two decades there have been ongoing campaigns to improve conditions including  maternity payments, questioning of marketing practices by milk supplement companies  and encouraging  more work places to be mother-friendly. The focus for 2015 is for global action to occur to support the working women’s rights to breastfeed.

The 2015 Slogan is “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s make it work”.

The Objectives of WBW 2015 are:

  1. Galvanise multi-dimensional support from all sectors to enable women everywhere to work and breastfeed.
  2. Promote actions by employers to become Family/Parent/Baby and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding.
  3. Inform people about the latest in global Maternity Protection entitlements, and raise awareness of the need to strengthen related national legislation and implementation
  4. Strengthen, facilitate and showcase supportive practices that enable women working in the informal sector to breastfeed
  5. Promote actions by employers to become Family/Parent/Baby and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding.

Many countries around the world have been actively involved in promoting WBW 2015 this week. In Australia the Australian Breastfeeding Association(ABA) launched its “Friendly Workplace Program “. Their aim is to encourage all employers to provide clean, safe & friendly environments where women can express or feed their infants at work. Education of fellow employees is also key to the success of such programs.  In Australia 96% of women initiate breastfeeding but by 5 months of age there are only 15 % still exclusively breastfeeding.  In Guanzhou,China this week there was a “Flash Mob” of breastfeeding mothers  with their family supports standing around them at Canton Tower! Their aim was to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and encourage the government to provide breastfeeding rooms in the cities so that women would feel more comfortable to breastfeed away from their home environment. Breastfeeding rates in China are very low with only 16% of the population  breastfeeding  in the first 6 months.

Are you or someone you know returning to work soon? Is the employer struggling with what they need to do to make the workplace a more supportive environment for women breastfeeding and or expressing?  The ABA can help, they have a resource pack that will guide your employer and help them achieve this goal. They also have great fact sheets that will help you start the conversation!

Supporting women in the workplace makes good business sense. The benefits include less absenteeism, reduced recruitment costs and improved retention rates.

“ Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s make it work”.