Accommodating breastfeeding at work
Sir, – Paul Cullen’s article “Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world – report” (Front page, October 27th) highlights that Ireland has breastfeeding rates well below the global and EU normal. The WHO recommends that breastfeeding continue for up to two years or beyond, and the HSE’s Breastfeeding Action Plan 2016-2021 has an aim of increasing breastfeeding duration rates.
As a solicitor, I receive queries from nursing mothers about their rights on their return to work. It is with increasing frustration that I advise that after the infant turns six months old, legislative protections cease in the workplace for the biologically normal feeding method. Research shows that breastmilk does not lose any benefits after an infant turns six months. And as a nursing mother, I can attest that the necessity for accommodations at work do not cease after six months.
It would be a very simple legislative change to extend workplace protections for breastfeeding beyond six months.
Living in times where antibodies are a topic of daily conversation (and breastmilk provides same), it would be appropriate that our legislature might consider such legislative amendment as a priority. – Yours, etc,
LISA QUINN O’FLAHERTY,