Welcome to the September Carnival of Breastfeeding. This month's theme is breastfeeding and working. We've had a huge response to this one so it's obviously something that strikes a cord with a lot of breastfeeding mothers. You'll find links to all the other bloggers' posts at the bottom of this one so make sure to pay a visit and leave some comments if you'd like to have your say!
I decided I'd have a look at what it's like to be a working breastfeeding mum in the UK. In my own experience, as I've mentioned many times in the past, when I returned to teaching after my first daughter's birth, I was fortunate in that she was seven months old and was taking solid feeds regularly. I tended to breastfeed her before I went to work and as soon as I returned home in the evenings. In between times she drank either expressed milk, water or occasionally a formula feed. In those days I didn't realise or even consider expressing at work, but I don't actually think it would have been as easy to do so as it appears to be these days. I don't ever recall being aware of any private rooms in schools I worked in where a mother could have expressed her milk and actually I have a feeling that I would have had to nip out to my car!
Thankfully, I was only away from my baby from 8.30am until about 4.00pm so the arrangements I had worked fine for us and as a result I continued to breastfeed her until she was 15 or 16 months old.
However, in recent years, UK law has begun to take note of the importance of keeping their breastfeeding employees happy. Since I became self-employed after my second baby was born I've never had the chance to personally find out if in practice breastfeeding in the UK workplace is commonplace or if the law is adhered to as required, but below is what UK law says in regard to breastfeeding and working in the UK.
Breastfeeding and Working in The UK
Many mums are unaware that UK law protects working breastfeeding women.
The law states that breastfeeding women must not be put at any risk. However, in the event that this is not possible then employers must either:
· change a woman’s work hours or
· offer alternative work at the same wage or
·suspend her on paid leave for the duration of her breastfeeding