Breastfeeding at Work: What Employers Must Do


Welcoming new mothers back to work involves more than just a “welcome back” email – there’s a legal and moral obligation to support breastfeeding mothers. For employers this means creating a workplace that’s not just compliant with the law but also genuinely supportive.

What the Law Says

Whilst there isn’t a direct law that says employers must allow breastfeeding at work, other laws come into play to protect breastfeeding mothers. The main idea is that employers need to make sure their workplace is safe and accommodating for mothers who breastfeed. This includes doing a risk check to ensure the work environment is safe and considering flexible working hours to help with breastfeeding schedules.

Steps to Support Breastfeeding at Work

Creating a breastfeeding-friendly workplace isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Here are some easy steps:

  1. Private Space: Find a spot where mothers can breastfeed or pump milk in private. This shouldn’t be a bathroom! It should be clean, private, and comfortable.
  2. Flexible Hours: Think about flexible work options. Can you adjust work schedules to fit breastfeeding needs? This could mean different start and end times or the option to work from home.
  3. Milk Storage: Make sure there’s a fridge or cooler where mothers can store their milk safely.
  4. Clear Policies: Write down your breastfeeding support policies and share them with everyone. It’s important that all employees know what support is available.
  5. Training: Teach managers and staff about the importance of supporting breastfeeding colleagues. This helps create a supportive atmosphere for everyone.

Overcoming Challenges

Finding space for breastfeeding or dealing with different opinions in the workplace can be tricky. Here are some tips to manage these issues:

  • Be creative with the space you have. Even small, underused areas can become a great spot for breastfeeding with a bit of rearrangement.
  • Talk about the benefits of supporting breastfeeding at work, like happier and healthier employees.
  • Get leaders involved. When the top of the organisation shows support, it sets the tone for everyone else.

Why It Matters

Supporting breastfeeding in the workplace isn’t just about following the law. It’s about creating a workplace where everyone feels supported and valued. This approach not only helps mothers and babies but also builds a positive image for the company. It shows that the company cares about its employees, making it a more attractive place to work.

In summary, supporting breastfeeding at work is a win-win. It’s good for the health and happiness of employees and their families, and it’s good for building a positive, supportive workplace culture.

If you would like helping in supporting your new mothers back into the workplace, please get in touch

Share this article
Posted in