The mother-friendly workplace
Carrie Linder disagrees that breastfeeding at work leads to a more relaxed and confident mommy.
In a bid to make the work place more “mother friendly” the UK government is now putting pressure on companies to set aside special areas for mothers to breast feed in, and provide fridges to store expressed milk in. The full details, outlined in this Daily Mail article, initially made me wish that our South African government was this progressive. 

But then on the other hand (or boob) I wonder how helpful would this actually be? And how many women would choose to do this should we be offered it in South Africa?

Think about it from a logistical point of view: what happens to the baby when you aren’t breastfeeding him/her? If your company doesn’t offer a crèche facility (which hardly any do in South Africa) your nanny/ au pair would have to shuttle the baby to and from work all day to be fed. Assuming your nanny/au pair even has her driver’s license and own vehicle, surely the time on the road is more dangerous to your child than a few bottles of expressed  milk/formula while you’re at work?

The UK National Childbirth Trust welcomes this change, saying it means women will be “relaxed and confident” to go back to work, well I disagree. I don’t know about your working environments, but in the high stress/busy deadline kind of environment I work in, having to rush out of meetings to breastfeed will only render me stressed and insecure in the work place; knowing that my colleagues possibly resent the extra work they might have to do in order to make up for my absence. While you can change the law, you can’t change people’s attitudes.

Then of course there’s the glaring problem that employees will surely shy even further away from females of child bearing age, resulting in the change of law doing women more of a disservice than actually helping them.

So, in case the SA government is listening, I’ll take more favourable maternity leave options over boobs in office place privileges any day thanks.
Would you welcome a more mother friendly workplace?

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