Kwara NNEW advocates workplace breastfeeding space at private, public offices

The Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), Kwara State chapter, has commenced an advocacy campaign to promote workplace breastfeeding for female employees.

The workplace breastfeeding and lactation support programme in Nigeria is being spearheaded by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), with support from FHI360, and Alive & Thrive.

The project aims at creating family friendly work environment and improved productivity of female employees.

Led by the State NNEW Chairperson, Mrs Taiye Loveth Bamigboye, the NNEW delegation kicked off the advocacy with a visit to TASCON Plastic Industry Limited, in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

Speaking during the visit, Mrs Mary Ajado said the lack of workplace breastfeeding in most corporate institutions, and public buildings has become a major concern with attendant negative effects.

According to her, working mothers often struggle to breastfeed according to recommendations due to lack of support and weak protective environments.

Ajado highlighted these to include insufficient break time, lack of privacy and strict work rules.

She added that many mothers also discontinue exclusive breastfeeding midway because of work demands, a development she says calls for a review of workplace policies affecting women.

In her remark, Mrs Ayobami Bamigboye Adediran, said poor infants and young child feeding practices remain a major contributor to the high burden of infant and childhood morbidity and mortality.

She therefore stressed the need for organizations to provide a conducive place for nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies.

This, she noted will help to reduce childhood infections, increased intelligence, and proper growth for children

“Even the nursing mothers are most likely to be protected against overweight or diseases like diabetes and cancer.

“Once they’re assured of a space to feed their babies, they will also not be distracted and will be available at work.

“It’s a win-win situation because it leads to improved productivity of female employees for the organization as well,” she said.

Also speaking, another member of the delegation, Mrs Olorunloju, said adequate infant breastfeeding is a building block for human capital development and is essential child survival, health and development.

She admonished the manufacturing company to adopt the lactation policy in compliance with labour laws as well as international and national recommendations.

The company representative, Mr Kunle Ayantola, commended NNEW for engaging with the public on such impactful campaign.

While noting that the manufacturing company is male-dominated because of the nature of their job, he however vowed to engage the management, towards ensuring the establishment of a workplace breastfeeding space.

The NNEW delegation also presented the company, with toolkits that provides guidelines on establishing workplace lactation programmes for their workers.

The campaign is to be extended to other private companies, public organizations and key institutions in Kwara State.

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