Working women in metro cities feel no support with facilities or infrastructure to breastfeed their babies at workplace

Chennai,August2: As the world celebrates Breastfeeding Week, working women in metro cities of the country,  including  Chennai, feel that they are not supported with facilities or infrastructure to breastfeed their babies if need arises.

Medela Breastfeed India Survey 2017 conducted by Medela India says that over 50 per cent of workingwomen in India are not supported with breastfeeding facilities in the workplace.

Women feel that corporate offices lack breastfeeding and lactation facilities and accessories such as breast pumps, creches and proper feeding places. The findings from the survey further highlighted that while 78 per cent of Indian mothers planned to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months post-delivery for ensuring a strong and healthy foundation for the child, 54 percent had to forego their career aspirations after becoming a mother.

“A large segment of new mothers today are finding themselves caught between the responsibilities of motherhood and that of a professional. Therefore, the role of corporates in enabling mothers to double-shift between home and work is becoming increasingly important.  Initiatives such as setting up feeding rooms will help new mothers to take care of their infants,” Emilie Moulard,  managing director of Medela India, said about the survey.  Women activist and entrepreneur, B N Priyadarshini, says some organizations do not allow to bring infants after they resume work, which is very insensitive.

“Even if they do, hectic work at the workplace does not allow women to take care of the child at the required time. Women should be aware of their maternity rights to avoid such consequences. Paid maternity leave, part-time work arrangements, on-site creches, breast pumps, facilities for expressing and storing breast milk and breastfeeding breaks at workplace can help new mothers,” she said.

WHO recommends that women should breastfeed infants till the age of two as it not only helps to build the emotional bonding between the mother and infant, but also helps women to reduce the abdominal fat they develop during pregnancy.

Underlining the significance of breastfeeding in women, renowned pediatrician, Dr M. Sridhar says, “Breastfeeding is necessary for child and the mother for a large number of health benefits. Breast milk is the only diet a child should be provided for first six months of life that protects against several infections and provides them necessary nutrients.”