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Breastfeeding and Expressing at Work in South Africa

04 April 2019 | 0 comments | Posted by Shamima Ahmed in Parental Guidance

Breastfeeding and Expressing at Work in South Africa

As maternity leave reaches an end preparing to go back to work can be overwhelming for most moms. For at least four months your days have dedicated to the needs of your newborn baby and soon this will all change. With separation anxiety setting in, I have some good news for you,  one of the things that don't have to worry you is keeping up your breastmilk supply for the kiddo. 

If you are you are currently breastfeeding and would like to continue when you return to work, naturally you will have to keep stimulating milk production during the day by either breastfeeding or expressing. Failure to do this will cause a decrease in supply resulting in less liquid gold to feed your little one. 

“Breast is Best” and You Can Keep it That Way

The phrase “Breast is best” has been drilled into us from the day we visit the hospital for our first antenatal visit. We know that breast milk is much more beneficial to your baby than formula milk and if you not keen to switch, you really don't have to. Despite what the norm at your place of employment, South African Labour Law clearly states that all new moms have the right to breastfeed (if you are lucky enough to have kiddo at work with you) or express milk for storage at work. 

Expressing & Breastfeeding at Work is Your Basic Right

According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act under the Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of a Child, section 5.13 states as follows:

“Arrangements should be made for employees who are breast-feeding to have breaks of 30 minutes twice per day for breast-feeding or expressing milk each working day for the first six months of the child's life.”

You can download a copy of the legislation here.

What Does This Mean?

Each and every woman returning back to work after maternity has the right to:

  • 2 x 30 minute breaks to feed or express every day. 
  • These breaks are in addition to tea and lunch breaks. 

However, the law does not cover explicitly moms in the following regard:

  • Employers do not have to pay for these breaks
  • Employers do not have to provide you with the facility to feed or express.
  • Employers do not have to provide you with the facility to store your supply at work. 

If you have a good understanding with your boss scheduling this time should not be a problem. If your work performance is not affected, most managers will look past the 6-month limitation and won't mind if you keep expressing.

How do you feel about going back to work?

There no secret that all working moms have mixed feelings about this! With a love for both our careers that we have spent years cultivating and our new found love for this little bundle that's crept their way into our hearts? We would love to what your thoughts are, comment below and let us know you feeling!

Good luck with going back to work, from experience, it’s been great for my mental health! You got this!

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Tags: mom and baby , working mom, labour law, breastfeeding, womens health

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