Date: 6 August 2014
Breastfeeding at work a real option for mums
Waikato DHB health promoter Jo Cottrell said she is delighted at the response to the 2014 Big Latch On breastfeeding events across the Waikato. Waikato DHB strongly supports the initiative and helps to promote it as part of Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August).
Ms Cottrell said most people were much more accepting of public breastfeeding now.
“It is also important that women realise they can continue to breastfeed when they return to work. It may take a bit of organisation at first, but it can benefit the baby, the mother and the employer.
“This may mean having the baby at work, or at a nearby childcare centre, or even arranging for baby to come to the workplace at feed times. Most workplaces can easily be breastfeeding-friendly with a little bit of flexibility and creativity.”
Te Maia (25) returned to work when baby Anahera was three months old, with the support of her employer Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa. “It’s great having her with me. At five months she is really social.” Now Anihera is beginning to transition to care outside the workplace, however will continue to be breastfed.
Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa has found it works well for them too. Manager Roma Balzer said the organisation can keep skilled staff, and accommodating a baby is easy to do. “It creates a softer, more considerate environment and other staff respond really well,” she said.
“Having a baby is not a barrier – or shouldn’t be.”
More information about breastfeeding options in the workplace can be found on Waikato DHB website (www.waikatodhb.health.nz/breastfeeding) or on the Ministry of Health website (external link) and on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website (external link) – use “breastfeeding at work” in the search function on these websites.
This year the Big Latch On provisional total nationally was 1580 latch ons, the highest number since the breastfeeding event started 10 years ago.
Big Latch On is held annually under the auspices of Women’s Health Action, a New Zealand non-profit organisation, to promote breastfeeding. It relies on individuals and community groups to register official locations for the synchronised latching on of babies across New Zealand.