New Delhi, May 2018: A survey conducted by ProEves, a leading childcare & maternity solutions provider, and Medela India, leading manufacturer of breast pumps and nursing accessories, revealed that one of the most common reasons why new mothers switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding once they get back to work, is the lack of breastfeeding support and facilities at their workplace.
The survey conducted across 38 leading organizations under various sectors like FMCG, Manufacturing, IT, ITES, E-commerce, Financial Services highlighted that new mothers who resume work post their maternity leave have two major concerns- breastfeeding at work and the facilities provided by the employer for doing so. It also showed that corporates are investing in their female employees, through provision of childcare support and paid maternity leave, in order to retain them when they become mothers.
Some other findings of the survey:
- 92% of the companies comply with the provisions made in the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016 in terms of nursing breaks
- Only one-third of companies i.e. 33% provide a dedicated nursing room
- 53% of companies have medical rooms that nursing mothers can use to extract milk
- 37% of companies provide a storage unit for extracted breastmilk
- 34% of companies ensure that the new mothers have access to both hands wipes and sanitizers to maintain the required level of hygiene
The World Health Organization recommends mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months and continue breastfeeding along with solid up to two years to build a healthy foundation for the child. Recognizing the need to encourage mothers to breastfeed, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 was passed by the Government of India for increasing the maternity leave period from the previous 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Speaking about the need for corporates to support mothers in sustaining their breastfeeding decision, Ms. Emilie Moulard, Managing Director, Medela India said, “It is obvious that breastfeeding while working adds another dimension to the challenge of nursing: it is time consuming (at least 2 breaks of 20 minutes per day), energy consuming and requires some logistic (keeping the milk at the right temperature from the breast till the home, carrying the equipment etc.). Thankfully, over the years corporates have started realizing this and tried to extend support to new mothers getting back to work. The first thing is to offer comfortable breastfeeding/pumping facilities (dedicated rooms and equipment such as breast pumps, storage bags, feeding pillows). The next thing would be to help break the taboo of breastfeeding (or pumping) at work, to make women proud of it instead of hiding it, by establishing a better dialogue between manager and returning employee, maybe peer groups and/or access to counselors to help deal with this transition in a very hormonal and emotional period. Because the role of corporates in enabling mothers to double-shift between home and work is becoming increasingly important”.
This survey by ProEves and Medela India attempted to study childcare and maternity practices in detail and understand the associated ROI of such corporate practices aimed at returning mothers. Ketika Kapoor, co-founder ProEves states the survey clearly calls out Breastfeeding support/infrastructure as a practice with the lowest challenge yet the highest impact for companies when compared to other practices like extended leave, flexible working, maternity onboarding and we expect more companies to embrace such provisions for their returning mothers. This is the first comprehensive database on maternity and childcare support practices in India.
Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela serves parents through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 18 subsidiaries
Medela provides the most technologically advanced, superior-quality breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world. A longtime champion of breastfeeding, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world’s leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela’s breast pumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities worldwide.
In India, Medela works on few verticals. A lot of efforts are made to spread awareness and education about breastfeeding among professionals and parents, at the hospital level, online and through corporates. Medela can train employees and managers on how to create a better harmony in teams who have a mother returning to work and breastfeeding; and support employers in making the facilities more mother-friendly.