The declining rates of breastfeeding in the UK has lead to the new proposal, pushed by the Department of Health. Workplaces are being encouraged to adopt new “breastfeeding-friendly employment policies” that would allow mothers more flexibility for nursing and pumping when on the clock. Private areas would be provided for mothers to use to breastfeed, or to pump and store milk.
Among working mothers in Britain, those with manual labor jobs have the lowest rates of breastfeeding. Of mothers who stopped breastfeeding, 39 percent reported it was their work that caused them to have to stop. However, continuing breastfeeding has the potential to boost the entire country’s health rates.
The UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Giving young families good support is key to tackling health inequalities and key to good health in the whole population
“Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to give babies good health, but our society doesn’t always make it easy for new mums to do it. We want to make it easier for new mums to breastfeed.”
“If we can make it easier more mums would breastfeed and they might do it for longer, giving their children the best start in life,” Mr Lansley added.
Just last month, women in England won the right to breastfeed in public. The European parliament has also voted to give working mothers two separate, one-hour periods off for breastfeeding each day. Slowly, breastfeeding mothers are earning more rights to feed their children.
The new plan will be introduced slowly in the British workforce. Several unnamed private companies are planning to try out the new breastfeeding work arrangements. These companies will be mostly focused in poorer areas, where breastfeeding rates are lower. If the breastfeeding rooms are a success, they should spread to more areas around the UK. – Summer, staff writer
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