Talks at Workplaces
As part of its initiative to promote
continued breastfeeding for working mums, ABAS is available to
conduct lunchtime talks to staff at workplaces to help them
understand and manage breastfeeding better after returning to
work. The talks are conducted by ABAS volunteers who are trained
healthcare professionals or experienced mothers from the support
groups. The two topics offered are:
• Working and Breastfeeding – This talk covers the practical
aspects of how mothers can continue feeding infants breast milk
even after they have returned to full-time work.
• Feeding Baby Right in the First Year - This topic guides
parents on the best nutrition for infants in the first year of
Consultations with Management
• Sit down with management in your
organization to discuss how to make improvements to your
workplace with the special needs of the breastfeeding employee
• Advise your organization on how to set up a Lactation Room
Setting up a Lactation Room
• Clean, private area with comfortable seating and power
point (eg the meeting/conference or store room, but definitely
not a toilet). In most cases, this does not involve a lot of
expense to the employer, rather reorganizing. If there is no
specially designated breastfeeding room, a special signage for
when the room is being used should be available.
• Facilities for washing hands and equipment.
• Refrigerator for storage of breastmilk.
• Flexibility of times of usual breaks and/or lactation
breaks as required for expressing of breastmilk or
breastfeeding. Lactation breaks need to be negotiated between
the employer and employee. The International Labour Organisation
recommends two thirty minute breaks in an eight hour shift in
addition to normal breaks
• Information about facilities and policies provided at
time of request for maternity leave.
• Information about facilities and policies displayed and
distributed where appropriate to inform employees who are
pregnant or considering pregnancy.
• Facilities for storage of breast pump and other
equipment (eg cupboard or locker).
• Availability of a steam/microwave sterilizer.
• Availability of flexible work options eg
job-sharing/part-time/home-based/flexi-hours. These may already
be in place but not utilised and can make it easier for mothers
to combine their parenting and work commitments.
• Assistance with child care eg on-site centre/help with
locating childcare places/employer-sponsored child care.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What if I don’t have enough milk?
Very rarely would a mother not be able to produce enough milk
for her baby. Mum’s supply is de-pendent on baby’s demand. As
long as baby is given unrestricted access to the breast, a very
good supply will build up quickly. Three practices help to build
supply: give baby the first suckle within half an hour of
delivery; feed the baby often (on demand) after that; and
breastfeed the baby in the night. One practice that will
decrease your supply is to offer baby feeds of formula in
How do I know that baby has enough?
It is important to know that baby has latched on properly to the
breast and is emptying it efficiently. Watch your baby’s
suckling pattern. It is normal to have periods of strong,
rhythmic suckling at the beginning, which tapers off as baby
fills up. Your newborn should nurse at least 8 times each 24
hours. You may not be able to see how much he has drunk, but you
can monitor his output. Your fully breastfed baby should urinate
at least 6 times a day and have at least 4 stools daily in the
Can I breastfeed baby if I have the ‘flu?
Yes, you can, and you should. By the time you realize you have
the ‘flu, you have already been incubating it, and baby has been
exposed to the infection. Your body will have started making
anti-bodies to fight your ‘flu. By continuing to breastfeed,
your baby will get your antibodies through the milk, and be
better protected against the ‘flu. By discontinuing, baby gets
no protection and is more likely to succumb. Let your doctor
know you are breastfeeding, and ask for medication that will not
affect the baby. There are very few medications that are unsafe
for breastfeeding. Check with your doctor before discontinuing
breastfeeding. Get plenty of rest, and feed the baby. Get help
for other house chores.
How long should baby be breastfed?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all babies
be exclusively breastfed for six months. Semi-solids can be
introduced after six months, and baby can continue to have
breast milk for two years and beyond to enjoy the maximum
protection breast-feeding can provide.
What if mum has to return to work?
It usually takes mum 6-8 weeks to establish a good milk supply.
With forward planning and a good understanding of supply and
demand, expressing techniques and milk storage, working mums are
well able to continue breastfeeding long after returning to
work. The longer maternity leave now in place helps working mums
to make this transition.