How to be a Breastfeeding-friendly Employer

This checklist has been designed to assist employers who are interested in implementing a 'breastfeeding friendly' return-to-work policy for employees returning from maternity leave.

Getting organised

Step 1: Discuss the advantages and benefits with senior management/human resources staff and gain agreement to participate in this important initiative. Each workplace will be different in how it is able to support their employees and the level of flexibility that is achievable.

Step 2: Develop an appropriate workplace policy that sets out how your organisation is able to provide a supporting environment for returning employees who wish to maintain breastfeeding. Please note that the policy can be tailored to suit your workplace.

Step 3: Designate a room(s) within the organisation that can be used for expressing breast milk. Ensure there is a nearby fridge with space for milk storage.

Step 4: Publicise this employee benefit within your organisation.

Step 5: Prepare Employee Information Folders which are given to women who indicate that they will be taking maternity leave. Such folders should include a letter of support from your organisation outlining your progressive approach in encouraging women to return to work and maintain breastfeeding, your organisational policy, and a copy of the Best Start publication 'Breastfeeding and Work or Study'.

Information for mothers who are interested in breastfeeding while returning to work or study.

PDF, 611 KB

As an employee or student prepares to take leave for the birth of their baby

Step 6: Discuss the initiative again with a staff member as they are about to go on maternity leave. Provide them with the Employee Information Pack and communicate the support of your organisation.

Step 7: Be open to discussing flexible arrangements when your employee is arranging to return to work. Ensure that both parties are clear as to what the agreed arrangements are.

Welcoming the new or returning employee or student

Step 8: Make a time to emphasise your organisation's commitment to supporting employees who wish to continue breastfeeding. Ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place to facilitate this.

Step 9: Be an ambassador for the benefits of this employee support. Encourage other organisations to follow your lead.