Mothers the winners in workplace wellness initiative

(Press release from the AFGC website)

A new partnership between the Healthier Australia Commitment (HAC) and the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) will help employers provide more support to breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.
Under the three year partnership, the HAC, an initiative of the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the INC will develop the Baby Feeding Program (BFP) which will work to:

  • Promote healthy lifestyles for all Australian families, in particular by supporting the public health goals for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and when needed, infant formula as the only suitable alternative;
  • Develop relevant resources to assist workplaces to support their employee mothers to successfully combine work and motherhood by implementing a breastfeeding supportive environment in the workplace; and
  • Provide information in relation to infant nutrition.

Ms Jan Carey, CEO of the INC said that many women would like to continue to breastfeed their baby at work, but are unable to do so as their workplaces do not have suitable areas for the purpose.

“Over 40 per cent of women return to work before their child has turned one. It is essential that employers support and encourage this by providing appropriate facilities,” said Ms Carey.

“Many women would like to continue to breastfeed once they go back to work but wean their babies early as their workplaces don’t have suitable areas to either breastfeed or express,” Ms Carey said. “Research shows that mums who are able to express at work manage to breastfeed for longer than mothers who don’t have the same opportunity.”

AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson said the partnership between the AFGC and INC is a logical one and that the initiative will deliver benefits to both feeding mothers and their workplaces.

“This partnership will strengthen HAC which works across three key areas: communities; marketplaces, and workplaces. In each of these areas the commitment will develop programs and resources aimed at promoting healthy balanced lifestyles” said Mr Dawson.

“This is about assisting employers who want to provide a supportive workplace environment which not only benefits babies and their mums but provides benefits to the business through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and better employee engagement,” said Mr Dawson.

The Baby Feeding Program can be downloaded from the INC website www.infantnutritioncouncil.com and consists of:

  • A guide to assist workplaces to develop their company’s infant feeding policy
  • A checklist for implementing a Baby Feeding Programme in the workplace
  • Advice about the safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula
  • Links to the Australian Breastfeeding Association website for support for breastfeeding.

END

Release date: 24 October 2012