Bosses encouraged to support breast-feeding at work

| 25/07/2013

(CNS): As part of this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Week, health officials are encouraging local employers to help support the feeding mums on their staff by providing appropriate environments in which women can feed their babies in the workplace. Experts say the road to successful breast feeding for mothers comes with support from those around them, including their employers. With the many benefits and importance of breast feeding recognized the world over, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action will be marking the 21st anniversary of the annual campaign to focus global action on protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding on peer support and peer counselling.

Support, experts say, comes from many people and places, but particularly important for mothers today is support from their bosses and colleagues. Peer support was first introduced at the WABA Global Breastfeeding Partners Meeting in 2010 but the concept has been around for much longer.

“Fifty-six years ago, seven breastfeeding mothers realised that their abilities to breastfeed their own infants, came from being provided with information, education and emotional support from each other,” WBW Global Coordinator Anne Batterjee said. “They believed that so many other mothers who longed to breastfeed could be enabled to do so, if only those around them, their peers, had the knowledge and skills to be supportive.”

The week begins on 1 August and in the Cayman Islands the focus will be on encouraging employers to create breastfeeding friendly environments for mothers in the workplace.

The Health Services Authority’s (HSA’s) Nutritionist Simone Sheehan notes that staff at the Cayman Islands Hospital supports the message of early and exclusive breastfeeding with the introduction of appropriate complimentary feeding at around six months of age.

“We are consistently stepping up our efforts in relaying this message to mothers of new born infants,” she said, adding that while breastfeeding is a learned behaviour, the journey to practising it successfully begins with the support of families, healthcare providers, employers, and, by and large, the community.

This year’s theme is based on what is known as the five Circles of Support for Mothers and Children. These “circles” reflect potential factors that influence whether breastfeeding mothers have a positive breastfeeding experience. They are formally categorised as: Family and Social Network, Healthcare, Workplace and Employment, Government/ Legislation and Response to Crisis or Emergency.

Officials said that the Cayman Islands has many resources to support breastfeeding families. Each new mother is given an information packet which includes helpful tips and resources. They also receive a contact list of group members whom they are encouraged to call with questions or concerns. These volunteers are experienced mothers or health care professionals. Anyone needing support can contact 244-2648. 

Expectant mothers are also sensitized about breast feeding and its importance to both mother and baby, as well as other issues relating to pregnancy and lactation, through Parent craft classes held at the Cayman Islands Hospital, every Monday at 5:30 pm.

During WBW celebrations, a breast feeding cafe is being organised for mothers and their babies to facilitate mutual support and peer counselling. This will be held at the Women’s Health Courtyard, Cayman Island Hospital on 2 August from 10am-11am. The Cayman Islands breast feeding support group and the Women’s Health Centre invite pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to join in the celebration of this event.

For more information on Breastfeeding Week, Parent Craft classes and other activities planned for new mothers during the month of August, call Simone Sheehan on 244-2655. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What's wrong with pumping at home?  Women can save enough milk to go on an overnight trip if they wish.  It seems to be a matter of what they want to do.  I am a mother and I personally don't care to see someone nursing their children.  I know it's a natural thing to do and so are a lot of other things that I don't care to see.


    When you choose to have  children you need to think about the responsibilites that come with having children.  Maybe you need to plan for more time off work.  This is not your employeers problem, it is yours.

    • Anonymous says:

      eeeewwww. children are so…. so…. icky.  I do not like breasts either.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Most of these comments are so sad. Such anger and hostility about a mother feeding her baby. Is there anything that people don't get rip roaring angry about anymore? You pass judgement on the mother who neglects her child (you know, the one who social services supports) and you pass judgement on the mother who properly takes care of her baby. You people need to get a life. Or at least some compassion.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think it has anything to do with a mother feeding her baby.  It's an issue of what it taken away from the work time.  There are ways to do this without having to do it on your employeers time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What do Darts people think of it. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This doesn't havwe to be a problem.  You can pump at home and store.  Many many people do this.  YOU DON"T HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PUMB AT WORK TO BREASTFEED.  I am a mother and I do not care to see someone breast feed their baby and I don't care it it's normal.  There are a lot of normal things that I don't care to see between people.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope that's meant as funny cuz it's VERY funny!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are these mothers going to work late or take reduced pay to make up for the time they will spend in the pumping room these posters are expecting businesses to provide?  Bet not. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It is scientifically proven that breastfed babies get sick less often than formula fed babies. Ergo, the mother OR father of a breastfed infant will not need to take DAYS off work as often to deal with ill children. The extra MINUTES that a breastfeeding mum takes will pay dividends now and in the long term. 

      Also, just musing, but I wonder how many smokers businesses employ. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Let's just ignore your ignorance for a sec…if they agreed to make up the half hour (avg time a woman will spend pumping in a typical 8 hr day) or take a pay cut, what would be your excuse then?! Mule!! 

      • Anonymous says:


        The employer should just hire someone that does not need to take a half hour each day to breastfeed. Problem solved!


        If we can agree that an employer should be allowed to hire the person that is the best fit for a particular position, then, all other things being equal, the person that does not need to take additional time each day to breastfeed should get the job.


    • Anonymous says:

      This is exactly the attitude of bosses on this island. Although I was willing to make upp the time, flexi-time is a taboo word ..not sure why. If I was 5 mins late, it was a huge deal !!! This lead to more stress and less production ..of breastmilk. And I would also gladly take less hours for a reduced pay. But this is also a no-no as I am on a work permit. So no employer wants to pay the same work permit for someone that will only work part-time. Until men start giving birth and breastfeeding, the options to balance work and children will never be available. It will always be an either or choice for women.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why should any employer be burdened with your personal problems? You are paid to show up on time and do the work like every other employee. Why should any employer hire you when they can hire someone that will show up on time and work like every other employee? You most likely made a decision to have a child and should not place the burden of that decision on your employer.

      • Anonymous says:

        When you are hired at a job you are expected to be there.  Your employeer counts on you.  He doesn't need you to be five minutes late.  He had goals/deadlines to meet and he is counting on you.  Pump at home the night before.  Problem solved!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I understand breastfeeding is an uncomfortable topic for people and employers especially if you do not have children.  However, it is completely natural and what are bodies are built to do!  Breastmilk is the best possible nutrition you can give your child.  The milk is made for your baby and if you are lucky enough to provide that nutrition to your child you need to do it.  I think most of us mothers would love to stay home and nurse our children but the reality is many of us need to work.  Because we are working mothers does not mean we need to give up breastfeeding.  Yes, it would be ideal to run home and nurse but it does take significant time to go back and forth and if you are a woman you will know that your body runs on a clock for the milk and it isn't always possible to up and leave work.  Let's embrace working mothers and find a way to support them.  I am happy to say my employer is extremely supportive of working mothers and I am happy to see this initiative on the island.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Although the article does not say so specifically and I understand how the photo is misleading but the most common form of support for breastfeeding mothers at work is allowing them time to pump their milk and providing them a private space to do so. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Breat feeding women is one of the most beautiful sights in the world to me. They can come and hang around my desk all day any day.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think the thrust of the campaign is actually to encourage employers to support breastfeeding *mothers*, particularly with providing a clean, private space for them to pump during the working day. Some employers are uninformed about the importance of breastfeeding and suggest that mothers should pump in the toilet! There are several local businesses who recognise the benefits to all and provide dedicated space for such needs. Kudos to those employers!

  8. Anonymous says:

    What working new mums need is private and comfortable area for pumping at work.

    Too many mums are pumping in toilets, or in offices with doors that don't lock. Makes it so hard to relax and successfully pump, and makes these ladies much more likely to give up.

    Maternity leave is only 12 weeks, recommended breastfeeding period is at least 6 months … so pumping rooms please! A couple of comfortable chairs, a microwave to sterilise equipment, and a small fridge for storing milk…. can't be that hard? 

    • Anonymous says:

      If I can afford to have an employee away from their job for twelve weeks then I don't need that employee.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why can't you pump at home?  Go home on your LUNCH HOUR and pump.  I don't see that it has to be done at work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Won't be happening in my office.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You are either at work as a working mother or you are taking time away from employment to look after children.  Nothing in between ever works and usually everyone ends up unhappy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I'm sorry, but, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  12. Anonymous says:

    This should not be tolerated in a work environment.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i don't understand why they are asking bosses to support breast feeding at work , mothers or fathers take their kids to day care not to work, mothers. take breaks to go and breast feed at the day care where their kids are, maybe ask bosses to support the breaks and time need to breast feed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly!! This is so stupid!! Are mothers taking their babies to work with them now?  I understand giving the mother time to go into a certain prepared room to pump the milk and a refrigerator to keep it in  or if close enough the mother could get time off to run home/nursery to nurse the baby.  I  don't understand why they would have to nurse at work?  So many people get so carried away with these things that their brains stop working.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would I employ someone that needs to leave work to breastfeed when I can employ someone that doesn’t have this problem?

  14. 4 Cayman says:

    Employers should also encourage paternity leave too. It is long over due as this is half the problem with our society whereby its the mothers and grandmothers raising the children.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of the fathers breeding the children can't get paternity leave bexcause they don't bother to work. They let the women do that…………..AND have the babies. Sickening.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you talking about? Are these "fathers" sneaking into homes in the middle of the night and getting women pregnant while they are sleeping? It is time that you stop blaming other people for your mistakes and start to take some responsibility for your actions.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would assume you know who the father is.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is long past the time when we should have mandatory paternity testing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is becoming a Nanny State,

    How on earth did we cope before without the Gubermint?