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Did you know that this week is World Breastfeeding week?

This is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness amongst the wider community about the importance of breastfeeding. The theme for 2023 is Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents. Can you imagine the difficulty some mothers must go through to breastfeed at work?? From inadequate sized facilities, unhygienic spaces, and made to feel like a burden are just some of the issues with work and breastfeeding.  Alongside this, the comments mothers receive about the necessity to pump when they could “just give your baby formula!”. These types of comments can really alienate a mother who is doing her best in a really difficult time. Formula is definitely one choice to make but when you don’t choose formula and instead EBM (expressed breast milk) you shouldn’t feel penalised for doing so.

What do the stats say?

The World Health Organisation recommend exclusive breastfeeding up until 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding until 2 years of age. However, its estimated that only 35.4% of mothers are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months of age. Although, there are many reasons parents’ may choose to stop breastfeeding returning to work is a huge contributor to cessation of breastfeeding.

Why is this theme important?

  • More than half a billion working women are not given essential maternity protections in national laws.
  • Workplace challenges remain the most common reason for women to choose not to breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended/earlier than they would like to.
  • Parents often do not have adequate time and support to breastfeed. Parents with less than 3 months of maternity leave reported shorter breastfeeding then those with 3 or more months of leave.
  • In order to be a breastfeeding-friendly workplace they need to provide adequate breastfeeding facilities. Currently this is only mandated in 42 countries.

Objective of World breastfeeding week 2023:

  • Inform people about working patents’ perspectives on breastfeeding and parenting.
  • Anchor optimal paid leave and workplace support as important tools to enable breastfeeding.
  • Engage with individuals and organisations to enhance collaboration and support for breastfeeding at work.
  • Galvanise action on improving working conditions and relevant support for breastfeeding.

Common Barriers to feeding in the workplace:

  • Limited or no access to private facilities to breastfeed or pump.
  • Feelings of guilt or embarrassment about breastfeeding in the workplace.
  • Limited flexibility from workplaces surrounding lactation breaks.
  • Feeling restricted and like you have limited support.
  • Changes in routine that can potentially lead to issues such as blocked ducts arising.
  • Parents feeling like they have to choose between returning to work or breastfeeding their child.
  • Difficulties with safely storing expressed breast milk at work.

How returning to work can impact your breast health?

As we know the return to work isn’t always so smooth and there can often be meetings that pop up but how does this impact your breast health? Some of the key factors that can result in poor breast health and conditions such as mastitis, engorgement, and blocked ducts include a significant decrease in the number of feeds or weaning too quickly, uneven breast drainage, distractions that prevent or delay the bay or mother breastfeeding and sustained pressure on the breast such as an ill-fitting bra.

How can we help a breastfeeding mum?

With the added stress and significant change in breastfeeding routine many mother’s experience blocked ducts or mastitis. At the Melbourne Mastitis Clinic, we are able to offer individualised care plans for these parents’.

We want to support parent’s so they feel prepared and confident when returning to work to make the transition as smooth as possible.

What do we offer:

  • Therapeutic Ultrasound.
  • Hands-on-therapy and soft tissue treatment.
  • Education surrounding what is happening to the breast and why.
  • Education and knowledge to have you feeling confident in your breastfeeding journey.
  • Support to develop a return to work plan best suited to your needs.
  • Prevention strategies to avoid those nasty episodes of blocked ducts or mastitis.

Let’s make breastfeeding + work, WORK!

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