Breastfeeding at work good for mothers and employers

Breastfeeding facilities in the workplace enable mothers to come back to work earlier after giving birth

The Department of Health advises mothers that children should be breastfed up to the age of at least six months but many are forced to stop when they return to work.

However research, from the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, claims breastfeeding facilities in the workplace help women return to work sooner after giving birth while also allowing mothers to breastfeed for longer.

The study, found that mothers who could breastfeed at work were eight per cent more likely to return to work before their child was six months old and five per cent more likely to return before the baby was four months.

‘What these findings tell us is that there is an economic benefit to employers of providing breastfeeding facilities at work, such as facilities to express milk or actually breastfeed, as it can shorten the time taken off work,’ says co-author Dr Del Bono.

The study was based on a sample of 3,000 women who took part in the government’s nationwide 2005 Infant Feeding Survey.

It found that 53 per cent of well-educated mothers return to work when their child is six months old. Of these working mothers, a third were still breastfeeding suggesting the availability of breastfeeding facilities in the workplace would be hugely beneficial.

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