Breastmilk is natural food for babies. The World Health Organization and Health Canada recommend that babies are fed only breastmilk for the first six months and then continue to be breastfed for a minimum of two years and beyond with complementary foods introduced at around 6 months.
In Ontario, breastfeeding is protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code. This means that employers are legally obligated to support women who return to work and want to continue to breastfeed their child.
Being a breastfeeding-friendly workplace makes good business sense!
- Employees are less likely to need time off work due to themselves or their family getting sick.
- Lower healthcare costs from extended health plans as their family gets sick less frequently.
- Improved productivity, morale and loyalty due to increased staff work satisfaction.
- Improved public relations and less staff turnover as breastfeeding mothers are more likely to return to work after maternity leave.
- Increased connection to the community and positive publicity.
How can your organization support employees and students continuing to breastfeed?
- Create a breastfeeding-friendly environment. Start by putting up breastfeeding-friendly business signs, for example “you are welcome to breastfeed here”. Post the Halton BFI community policy and breastfeeding window decals (Order free by emailing us).
- Create breastfeeding policies and procedures for your business to help guide your employees to be breastfeeding-friendly and support employees returning to work. Ensure staff are educated about the policies and procedures.
- Educate management staff to ensure they are supportive of mothers returning to work.
- Make your workplace a Baby-Friendly space using our checklist.
- Provide a comfortable and safe space for breastfeeding and expressing breastmilk. Make a private space with a lock on the door available for mothers who need it. Provide a comfortable chair and facilities for handwashing and breastmilk storage.
- Offer flexible working arrangements, such as flexible breaks, reduced working hours, job sharing, flex-time, and working from home. Consider extended maternity leave opportunities.
- Make childcare available onsite or nearby.
- Advertise your business as being Baby-Friendly.
- Become involved with the Halton BFI.
- Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Strategy: A Toolkit for Employers
- How to be a Family Friendly Workplace
- Supporting Breastfeeding Employees Returning to Work – Sample Policy
- Breastfeeding and returning to work – Sample Policy
Page updated January 18, 2017