[2021] Motion 47 Breastfeeding and returning to work

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from:

The Acas guidance, “Accommodating Breastfeeding Employees in the Workplace”, was published in 2014 and sets out the legal requirements and best practice recommendations for employers to support women returning to work after having a baby.

Unfortunately, it is being ignored by many organisations, as mothers report expressing milk in staff toilets and not being allowed paid breaks in which to do so and having nowhere appropriate to store their milk during the working day.

The World Health Organisation recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for a minimum of six months and continue for up to two years, supplementary to other food. For mothers, breastfeeding is protective against some cancers, obesity, diabetes and postnatal depression. For babies, it reduces the risk of certain infections, diabetes and has many other health benefits.

The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and although 81 per cent of mothers start by breastfeeding, this declines to around 17 per cent by three months. According to national statistical infant feeding surveys, mothers have cited returning to work as one of the reasons for not their fulfilling breastfeeding intentions.

Breastfeeding employees must be accommodated fully in the workplace. Congress supports the review and strengthening of Acas guidance, and for its provisions to be placed on a statutory footing.

Royal College of Midwives