A third of mothers are returning to work earlier than expected
A new survey revealed that one third of mothers are returning to work earlier than expected because of the current economic climate. Committed to supporting working mums Medela, the world leading breastpump provider, and www.babyworld.co.uk conducted the report to learn more about the current opinions on maternity leave and what provisions employers put in place to support working mothers.
Despite the fact that mothers are going back to work earlier, 67% of them said their employers offered them no general advice or guidance on their return. Readjusting to life in the work place following maternity leave can be a very challenging time with one mother explaining she was so worried about leaving her daughter that she ‘felt physically sick.’
The report highlighted that on the whole retuning to work was a stressful experience, but it seemed to be particularly hard for those who were still breastfeeding. Thirty percent of mothers who took part in the survey were still breastfeeding when they returned to work. Worryingly, 50% of the mums who were still feeding said their biggest struggle was the fact there was nowhere they could go to express milk. One participant said: ‘I really dreaded it and gave up breastfeeding the first time as the stress of going back to work and expressing was too much.’
Setting up a breastfeeding room is a simple change businesses can make to support new mums. A special place where mums can go and express milk privately will reassure many that they are making the right decision about returning, and will prove that the company values its staff and places great importance on supporting mums who want to breastfeed.
Some mothers may want to express, whereas others may prefer to take short breaks throughout the day to feed their baby. Providing flexible working hours and taking the time to really discuss all the options available is something all employers should do as standard. Some businesses are certainly leading the way by going the extra mile, for example one mum said: ‘I had an afternoon break to go to the nursery and feed my son which continued for a couple of months which was a gentle introduction back to work.’
Commenting on the survey Managing Director of Medela UK Paul Furlong said ‘This news should be a great concern for employers, especially in the current climate when it’s difficult to hold onto valued employees. Organisations really should be doing everything they can to support mums. We’ve all heard of Babies in the Office, but a dedicated expressing room is something far easier to implement. It’s a great first step for businesses and will really mark them apart.’