Paid breaks to breastfeed and express milk should form part of flexible working requests for mothers, claims a new report.
Published by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative, the study believes it is vital for women to be allowed paid time to help increase the UK’s breastfeeding rates and support workers returning to work after maternity leave.
“The UK has among the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world,” the report states.
“About 80 per cent of mothers in the UK begin to breastfeed, but within weeks, breastfeeding rates plummet due to lack of support and an unhelpful culture. One of the most common reasons mothers give for stopping breastfeeding is their return to paid employment.
“Support to continue exclusive breastfeeding, for example, by provision of a workplace creche, a room for private expression, and paid breaks during working hours would help.”
A number of international companies have already introduced new policies to help support breastfeeding women. For example, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have seen retention of female employees increase from 64 per cent to 95 per cent following the implantation of an initiative in support of lactation at work.
Recent research by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that many women who return to part-time roles after a break to raise a family would prefer to longer hours, but a lack of flexible working prevents them from doing so.
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