Monday, May 30, 2011

Lactation Breaks

There is a lot in the news this week about paid lactation breaks at work for breastfeeding mothers. Smokers have paid breaks to have a smoke, wouldn't a lactation break take about the same amount of time?

As always there is more than one side to the story. What about women who don't have children and don't need to take these breaks? Maybe they don't smoke either and miss out on both, how is that fair in their eyes?

I know from having several different jobs over the years, workers who can take a break and come back refreshed, whether they take a walk, make a call, have a smoke, or breastfeed, will be more productive than workers who sit there all day, only having their lunch break.

Many friends that have gone back to work while they are still breastfeeding have said they sneak to the bathroom and use a breast pump in a toilet cubicle. They have said how sad they are to throw the milk down the toilet because they have nowhere to store it and don't want to let anyone know they were taking a lactation 'break'.

Hiding in the toilets trying to keep the pump as quiet as possible isn't the best environment to lactate. Surely having a new mum back at work is more productive for the company than the temps or casuals they have been filling her position with. Even if they were still very new mums and had to feed every two hours, a short break to feed the baby or use a breast pump wouldn't affect the productivity of their day.

Mothers that choose to breastfeed are encouraged to feed for as long possible, mothers are also being encouraged back to work, surely the two can work together.

There are times I have been at work and needed to make a phone call to organise something, or had to leave early to pick up a sick child, took a sick day etc. We all have things we need to do and most bosses try to help accommodate these things.

While we watch the news this week and see what is going to happen officially for lactation breaks, maybe we could just think of little things we've all had to do that may take 10 or 15 minutes from our work day. Would it be so wrong to let a new mum breastfeed, or use a pump (preferably somewhere other than the toilet)?

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