From antibodies which protect an infant at birth, to the exclusive nutrients in mothers' milk which prevent a number of childhood diseases, the benefits of breastfeeding are incalculable.
‘Lactating mothers either stay-at-home or work along with challenges to breastfeed their baby and look for benefits from their company.’
Though it is vital, many mothers forego breastfeeding due to various reasons. Sometimes social, work related, psychological and personal reasons prevent mothers from being able to breastfeed the child. In such cases breast milk can be expressed manually or with a breast pump, stored under optimum conditions and given to the infant when needed.
Mothers who are not sure of the storing techniques or who feel that they may take too long to be back home usually avoid such situations. One such reason is their job. Working mothers look for options to take a break now and then to feed the baby. While some companies offer such benefits, many fail to.
A survey on breastfeeding among working women was conducted as part of the world breastfeeding week observed between August 1 - 7th.
Medela India, leading manufacturer of breast pumps and nursing accessories
analysed the most common issues that affect a mother's breastfeeding decision and was conducted across major metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and other tier-2 cities.
Opinion of Working Mothers on Breastfeeding
The survey brings to notice, the urgent need for Indian workplaces and corporate to encourage and support new mothers to breastfeed their babies.
- Seventy-eight percent of Indian mothers planned to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first 6 months post-delivery.
- After becoming a mother, 54% had to forego their career aspirations.
- Over 50% of working women in India feel that corporates lack facilities that encourage breastfeeding.
- Only 35% of new lactating mothers were able to resume back to jobs within 6-9 months.
Ms. Emilie Moulard, Managing Director, Medela India said, "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."
What Can The Corporate Do?
Not only corporate but any company which employ women could make arrangements with regard to work timing, work schedule, setting up feeding rooms. Mothers would soon be able to get back to work once they are are able to balance their responsibilities at work and at home.
Assigning flexible work timing or work from home options would make them feel supportive.
Free lactation support through lactation consultants could encourage them. Sharing workload will not only make mothers give their best but will also benefit the organization as they may continue to work for the company.
Breastfeeding can be challenging to mothers who play an equal role in managing the finance at home. Motivation from the work place can be a real boost as a support to reach great heights.