Working Women Breastfeeding Essay

Total Length: 1943 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

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Working Women and Breastfeeding

According to Bouchez (2016), nursing babies once involved hardly any complications. As a majority of mothers were housewives, it wasn't hard to keep up with breastfeeding.

However, the scenario today is quite different and complex. With throngs of females joining the labor force, an increasing number of new moms face breastfeeding-related problems, which they must balance with their career demands. About 70% of moms in the workforce have kids aged below three years. About 33% of this cluster rejoins their jobs as soon as their baby turns three months, while about 66% return to work within half a year of the baby's birth. Clearly, a large employee group's breastfeeding requirements are to be accommodated. A number of females claim rejoining their jobs is the key cause of breastfeeding cessation. The many physical and emotional obstacles they encounter at work are: the absence of a pumping-friendly, private space, inflexibility of work schedule, discomfort with cleaning or storing pump supplies before coworkers, challenges scheduling pumping time, and anxiety with regard to discussing workplace breastfeeding needs. Those who encounter the greatest challenges are employed in retail and low-salaried posts. While several new mothers feel they have to sacrifice one of the two: rejoining work or breastfeeding, these activities are able to coexist peacefully. But experts caution moms not to delay this amalgamation until they have returned to the workplace (Bouchez, 2016).

Research Topic and Action Plan

Several researchers have proven the significance of breastfeeding for the mental, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing and health of babies, their moms, fathers and the whole family. Failing to breastfeed is associated with a number of risks, including diabetes mellitus type 2, cot deaths, and obesity/overweightness. To put it in brief, breastfeeding helps improve communities' health status. It is a fundamental human right; international law and the 1993 Human Rights Act afford women breastfeeding rights and safeguard them from being discriminated for breastfeeding. Likewise, if a baby's mom is able to, or desires to, breastfeed, the child is entitled to enjoy that right to good health. The protection, promotion and advocating of this right will help ensure babies, their parents, the whole family and the overall community experiences its health benefits. The action plan aims at ensuring exertion of this right in the routine lives of mothers (National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee of New Zealand, 2009).

It has been noted by King (2002) that on the international level, the UNICEF, WHO (World Health Organization), WHA (World Health Assembly), and the ILO (International Labor Organization) have taken significant initiative to come up with programs and policies for breastfeeding protection, promotion and advocacy.
The WHA's resolve to safeguard and encourage exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, and offer safe, suitable complementary infant foods with ongoing breastfeeding until the child reaches the age of two is undoubtedly the most noteworthy one. Hence, action plans prove vital to supporting initiation and improving breastfeeding maintenance across the globe. An intensive and coordinated local, national and regional approach is needed to achieve this.

The foremost step entails organizations' active participation in supporting workplace breastfeeding. Organizations must be aware of and accept breastfeeding's positive effects on health for the baby and his/her mother. Studies suggest that macro- and micro-level economic advantages, organizational ROI (returns on investment) and environmental benefits represent breastfeeding's key secondary benefits. With regard to economic advantages at the micro level, reduced formulaic expenditures alone can generate savings from $1k to $4k a year for individual families. Added savings on indirect expenses include reduced medical bills linked to babies falling ill, and reduced working mothers' absenteeism from work for sick babies' doctor appointments. Macro-level advantages include a convenient to reducing healthcare spending across the nation. Breastfeeding decreases expensive health-service usage, which has to be disbursed by insurers, families or governmental organizations. Decreased workplace absenteeism offers micro-level family benefits as well as macro-level societal benefits in the form of increased productivity. Supporting breastfeeding can decrease governmental expenses on formula as well (Mohler, 2011).

Companies will recognize breastfeeding benefits if they offer their female employees the option of continuing breastfeeding upon rejoining their jobs. Owing to the above benefits, some studies suggest that breastfeeding-related workplace costs must be thought of as an investment. Some key benefits to companies include decreased absenteeism, lower healthcare expenses, decreased personnel turnover rates, and greater workforce loyalty. Furthermore, companies supporting breastfeeding will more likely enjoy an improved image in society (Mohler, 2011).

Guiding companies on breastfeeding accommodation on premises entails the second step. This requires county government and lawmaker participation. Workplace regulations in this regard must mandate reasonable organizational efforts towards: offering a breastfeeding employee a private, milk-expressing space close to her work area, sufficient milk-expressing time (may be unpaid/paid meal or break) until her child turns two, and not discriminating against females for doing so at work. Some companies believe lactation support initiatives are an expensive, low-priority and logistically challenging benefits that require special treatment (special rooms, more breaks, etc.), and a potential liability risk (safety and storage of human milk). Moreover, organizations lack knowledge of lactation initiatives' business advantages: reduced healthcare expenses, personnel turnover and absenteeism, and improved productivity, company image, and personnel job satisfaction. The action plan may also include offering organizations technical aid to develop organizational….....

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Bouchez, C. (2016). Breastfeeding 9 to 5. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from Webmd:

King, A. (2002). Breastfeeding: Guide to Action. Wellington: Ministry of Health, New Zealand. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from

Mohler, B. (2011). Is the Breast Best for Business?: The Implications of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. William & Mary Business Law Review, Vol 2, Issue 1, 155-184. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from

National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee of New Zealand. (2009). National Strategic Plan of Action for Breastfeeding 2008 -- 2012. Wellington: Ministry of Health, New Zealand. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from

New York State Department of Health. (2016, June). Breastfeeding Promotion, Protection and Support. Retrieved October 8, 2016, from New York State Department of Health:

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