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A breastfeeding friendly workplace

Why should employers support breastfeeding?

How can I support?

A breastfeeding friendly workplace

Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace is where an organization or enterprise provides an appropriate and friendly environment for their breastfeeding employees to express breast milk at workplace so that they can continue breastfeeding for their babies.
Join ‘Say Yes to Breastfeeding’ campaign now if have worked or plans to provide a friendly environment to your breastfeeding colleagues.

Why should employers support breastfeeding?

Providing lactation support is a great CSR initiative to show your company respects and supports children’s rights and well-being.

Providing decent working conditions that also support workers, both women and men, in their roles as parents or caregivers, for example providing support for pregnant and breastfeeding women beyond legal compliance is as one key action that business can take to maximize the positive impacts on children.

It is beneficial to companies

The Business Case for Breastfeeding published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau founds out supporting breastfeeding employees has huge return of investment, including:

Lower medical costs and health insurance claims

For breastfeeding employees and their infants (up to three times less for breastfeeding employees)

Reduce turnover rates

86-92 percent of breastfeeding employees returning to work after childbirth when a lactation support programme is provided compared to the national average of 59 percent

Lower absenteeism rates

Up to half the number of 1 day absences

Improve productivity

Raise employee morale and loyalty to the company

Returning of work was found as one main factor contributed to mothers’ early cessation of breastfeeding.

A prospective study on the breastfeeding and weaning practices among mothers points out the main reason for mothers to stop breastfeeding in the first three months after delivery is “returning to workplace”. Another study about initiating and sustaining breastfeeding: contextual influences on new mothers’ experiences comment that it is difficult to express breast milk in workplace even if they want to continue breastfeeding their children.

How can I support?

Provide TIME

Allow lactation breaks

  • Allow two 30-minute lactation breaks or one hour in total for an 8-hour working day
  • Lactation breaks are recommended to be counted as “paid”
  • Employees are not expected to replenish for the time used for milk expression
  • Proof of breastfeeding status is not required for providing lactation breaks.

Want to do more?

Longer lactation break, longer period

Some breastfeeding mothers may need more breaks or longer breaks to express breast milk. You may consider asking them to use lunchtime, the time before or after working hours.

For employee who would like to sustain breastfeeding for more than a year, you may arrange flexibly, say one lactation break a day as children aged 1 year old or above are already having a variety of food and the daily milk intake and the frequency of breastfeeding or breast milk expressions will reduce accordingly.

Provide SPACE

A private area with facilities for milk expression and refrigerating breast milk You can create a lactation room, or simply deploy existing resources flexibly to provide employees a space for expressing breast milk with privacy – as long as
The space is private and equipped with

  • A chair with back rest for breastfeeding mothers to sit down when expressing breast milk
  • A small table for placing items needed during breast milk expression
  • A power socket

Below are some examples of the space you can provide:

  • A lactation room for employees
  • Consider reserving two time slots in the use of existing rooms such as conference rooms, multi-function rooms or changing room temporarily for milk expression
  • Set up a screen or curtain in a secluded corner for expressing breast milk and display a signage such as “mummy’s break, please wait”
  • Allow employees to visit nearby community baby care facilities during lactation breaks.

OPTIONAL - Refrigeration facilities for keeping breast milk

Breast milk is characterised by its antibacterial properties. Storing in a refrigerator or a cool box is generally safe. Simply put the expressed milk in a box placed inside the pantry refrigerator will do. A separate refrigerator is welcomed but not a must.


A friendly environment so mothers can feel welcome and be supported to express milk It is important to encourage all employees to support by not discriminating breastfeeding employees. Frequent communication between management staff, breastfeeding employees and coworkers, making known the temporary nature of the measures and the long-term benefits for multiple parties will all facilitate a successful implementation.