Breastfeeding and working journeys

Employer support can make or break many women’s success when trying to combine breastfeeding with working. In the following examples you see the differences between women who were supported in their right to breastfeed compared to women who were not.

Positive experiences:

“I work for a publishing company where they not only allowed me to breastfeed at work but bring my daughter in every day. We would arrive at work at 8 am where she would get a feed and then go to sleep until 11.30 when I fed her again, then dad would collect her. I expressed milk in the afternoon then arrived home for her evening feed. My boss was very generous in his support during this time and I am ever so grateful for that”.

WHA survey

“HR were nothing short of extraordinary. I asked for a space (broom closet would do) and was given a spacious, dedicated room with electronic swipe card for privacy, complete with a new couch, fridge and even a tape deck to relax by! Even more than all this, I appreciated their attitude that it was a perfectly normal thing to do”.

WHA survey

“I expressed milk sometimes up to three times a day at work for three months. My male manager was more than happy for me to use his office. I believe that I wouldn’t have lasted that long without the support of my employer”.

WHA survey

Challenging experiences:

“I had to express in the toilets as there was no other suitable place. Every break I would rush upstairs to the loo to express and if I could manage have something to eat at the same time. I tried using a little room off the boss’s office but got walked in on and a second time turfed out. I felt like no one really cared”.

WHA survey

“They were not supportive at all. Did not want to provide me with suitable options… Male colleagues felt uncomfortable discussing the topic all together… I fought a fight not only for me but other colleagues also. It worked for a few weeks, but I then had to give up. If they had been more accommodating I (would have) continued breastfeeding longer”.

WHA Survey