“In a world filled with inequality, crises and poverty, breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers”. These are the words of the World Health Organisation.
Current advice from the HSE recognises that “being pregnant or a new mother does not prevent you from working and developing your career. Many women work while they are pregnant and return to work while they are breastfeeding.”
Whilst you are not obliged to tell your employer if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is important for you and your child’s wellbeing that you notify them. This is so that they can conduct a risk assessment to review your daily work activities and ensure that adequate controls are in place to protect you and the child from any harm which could potentially happen in the workplace.
Regular discussions between new or expectant mothers and their employers are an important way to address any issues or concerns about health and safety risks.
Employers must provide a clean, safe and private environment for mothers breastfeeding their child. It is not adequate that nursing mothers are told to do this in toilets.
The HSE also advises that “as a new or expectant mother, you are likely to need to go to the toilet more often, as it is important to drink plenty of fluids whilst breastfeeding.”
If you have any queries surrounding breastfeeding in your workplace, feel free to contact THSP for further advice.