A new study undertaken by Women’s Health Action has found clear and significant differences between the length of time working mothers spend breastfeeding, and the support offered in the workplace.See the results of the study here:
The survey results have found that women are four times more likely to stop breastfeeding their baby at three months of age or less if they receive no employer support.The just released results of a study carried out by the Employers and Manufacturers Association reveal that more than one third of New Zealand employers are unaware of workplace breastfeeding legislation, a figure reflected in the lack of support for breastfeeding employees.Women’s Health Action Maternal Health Advisor, Isis McKay says around 96 percent of pregnant women in New Zealand intend to breastfeed, and most want to do so for more than six months, but the reality is often very different for them.“Women are too often faced with significant challenges to reaching their breastfeeding goals, including returning to paid employment”, says Ms McKay“There is an urgent need to educate and support New Zealand businesses around the benefits of breastfeeding in the workplace and employers’ legal responsibilities. Three quarters of employer respondents say they want more information and training to better support breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.“A supportive workplace can make all the difference” Says Ms McKay.The non-profit organisation’s survey found that women are three times more likely to continue to breastfeed for 12 months or longer if they have access to a clean accessible and private space at work. It also found that women are twice as likely to continue to breastfeed past 12 months if they have flexible hours and break times.While 54 percent of the 484 employees who responded to the survey said their employers provided them with flexible hours and or private facilities to breastfeed, 20 percent said that no workplace support was available.“Employer respondents overwhelmingly said they find providing adequate breastfeeding facilities to have a positive influence. 67 percent of employers said they saw a reduction in staff turnover. The same percentage of respondents said they found it had a positive impact on their company’s public image and 69 percent reported it helped improve staff morale,” says Ms McKay.The survey data was taken from a random sample of 75 employers and 484 employees.Employer’s and Manufacturer’s Assoc (EMA) Half-Yearly Employers Survey (July 2015), asked ‘Is your business or organisation aware of the 2008 Infant Feeding Amendment to the Employment Relations Act which is designed to provide guidance for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding through breaks and facilities?’ 38 percent of respond they were not aware.ENDSFor interviews, access to women’s stories , photos or filming requests or for further information please contact: Penny Hartill, director hPR 09 445 7525, 021 721 424, firstname.lastname@example.orgEditor’s Notes:Since 1984 Women’s Health Action has been at the forefront of women’s health in Aotearoa New Zealand. Founded by health activists Phillida Bunkle and Sandra Coney, the group came to national prominence when it broke the story of ‘the unfortunate experiment’ at National Women’s Hospital in Auckland.Today, Women’s Health Action is a charitable trust which aims to provide women with high quality information and education services to enable them to maintain their health and make informed choices about their health care. The organisation has a health promotion and disease prevention focus, with special interests in breastfeeding and women’s health research and policy.wha.localBreastfeeding – some key facts:
- Breastfeeding helps lay the foundation of a healthy life for a baby and it’s good for the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding women too.
- Breast milk is all a baby needs to eat and drink for about the first six months of their life. For some women breastfeeding can be a struggle, especially if they do not have good support systems in place.
- Research highlights that a significant barrier to breastfeeding is women not feeling supported by their family, whanau, friends, and wider community, to breastfeed.
Benefits for baby:
- Breastfeeding decreases the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)
- Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of obesity and may help reduce the risk of diabetes in later life.
- Breastfeeding and breast milk helps protect babies from chest infections, meningitis, ear infections and urine infections.
- Benefits for women:
- Breastfeeding may reduce women’s risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life.
- Breastfeeding reduces women’s risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding helps women recover from birth.