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Comfort zones at workplaces for nursing mothers need of the hour

An India–centric breastfeeding survey conducted last year says over 50% working women are still not supported by breastfeeding facilities in the workplace

Ankit Garg |


Rashmi Gulati (42) recalls her pregnancy days when she resumed work after her three-month maternity leave. The new mother would be juggling between her meetings and then pumping out breast milk every now and then. With no entitled room for the same, she had to book conference rooms or request for other people’s cabins in order to pump, which was awkward for her due to the complete lack of privacy.

Once done with the pumping, she had to use the common kitchen to clean her pump and to store breast milk for the baby, which she would get extremely embarrassed about. Her troubles did not end here, she also had to wait for someone to come from her home every afternoon to send the milk bottles for her young baby. It was extremely difficult for Rashmi to maintain a consistent schedule for breastfeeding as she had to manage it alongside a company culture that was not really supportive towards this entire idea.  As a result, Rashmi had almost lost her milk production ability and even though she wanted to continue breastfeeding, she was forced to rely on alternative ways to feed her baby.

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Rashmi is not the only woman who faced the struggles of breastfeeding at workplace. Many companies and corporate houses until a couple of years back weren’t prepared to meet the needs of nursing women who return from maternity leaves. Even till this date, there are many workplaces that are not supportive in terms of providing facilities or infrastructure for nursing mothers. An India–centric breastfeeding survey conducted last year by Medela India stated that over 50 percent of working women in India are still not supported by breastfeeding facilities in the workplace. This statistic shows a deep-rooted negligence and insensitivity towards one of the most natural bodily processes of a mother.  

Nursing while working demands commitment and willpower from the mother and support from the employer. A large section of new mothers today are juggling between the responsibilities of motherhood and of being a professional. As a result, corporate houses are slowly opening up to the idea of making their workplaces breastfeeding-friendly for new mothers. However, there is a difference between providing amenities and creating a truly comfortable space for new moms to take care of their infants.

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As the world celebrates Breastfeeding Week, the first thing that comes to our mind is what a breastfeeding-friendly workplace should look like?

Empower working and nursing moms:  that care for a mother and welcome her back with ease, not only support infant health, they also highlight how much they value their employee. A private (read not a bathroom), sanitized and a well-equipped place that is close to the workspace yet shielded from any intrusion from co-workers and the public is a must. The mother must feel comfortable to get her baby here and breastfeed him/her or pump milk as per her needs and desires.

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Workplace Support: must create a nursing room that is comfortable for both the mother and the infant and is not just a mere pumping space. There should either be a couch or a low floor bed with comfortable mattresses to sink in. Wakefit’s well-designed, comfortable, and therapeutic mattresses and pillows can help the moms remain comfortably upright, thereby ensuring a blissful experience for both the mother and the baby while breastfeeding. It will also allow the mothers to stay more in touch with their infants during the formative years.

Right Ambiance: comes next is setting the mood of the nursing room, which can be achieved by painting the walls with a soothing colour like relaxed blue and installing dim lamps. Adding floral curtains can make the space feel more personal for the mothers. To further enliven their spirit and mood, employers can think of out of the box and install a well-stocked refrigerator, a bottle drying rack or an electric kettle to make tea that can help moms in feeling refreshed after a pumping session.

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Businesses these days are facing a tremendously competitive recruiting landscape, which means, only a family-centric and caring approach can help them in getting skilled women job- seekers onboard and simultaneously engage and retain the existing employees. And, here most parents and business leaders will agree that a breastfeeding-friendly workplace is not only a win-win game for both the mother and the employer, it’s also the basic right of every working mother and her child!