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Question
Posted by: Jenn | 2010/04/22

Any rights after returning from maternity leave (breastfeeding)

I would like to find out if I have any rights to breastfeeding after returning to work from materinity leave?
This is my second pregnancy and I''m agian planning to breastfeed but want to go on longer this time. With my first child I stopped a few weeks after starting working because I didn''t have effecient milk supply. The reason being that I wasn''t able to keep the supply going because I didn''t breastfeed or express during the day at work. Night and weekend feeds wasn''t enough to keep it going and I was forced to use formula.
My reason for not expressing at work was that I didn''t really feel comfortable asking if I can sit somewhere to do it. We didn''t have an HR team those days and I didn''t feel comfortable asking my male boss about it. Now we have a very helpfull HR Team.
We have a huge open plan office and all the boardrooms and other offices has glass panels. I don''t want to go sit in the bathroom and express, because there isn''t any space to do so. I do have access to a fridge so I can store the milk, but can I request a place for me to sit and express and should that time be part of my lunchtime?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageLabour lawyer

RE: ANY RIGHTS AFTER RETURNING FROM MATERNITY LEAVE (BREASTFEEDING)

You certainly have rights, but unfortunately after the four months you need to return to work. It is suggested that you raise a grievance with regard to your personal problem.

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Our users say:
Posted by: labour lawyer | 2010/04/29

RE: ANY RIGHTS AFTER RETURNING FROM MATERNITY LEAVE (BREASTFEEDING)

You certainly have rights, but unfortunately after the four months you need to return to work. It is suggested that you raise a grievance with regard to your personal problem.

Reply to labour lawyer
Posted by: Purple | 2010/04/26

If you can''t find anywhere to sit or there is absoloutely no office for you to sit in, then perhaps use your car for expressing.

My understanding is that until your child is 6 months old you can take 2 breaks of half an hour to express.

Having breastfed and expressed at work myself, I think that a morning and afternoon time to express and then using your lunch as an additional time to express is reasonable for maintaining milk supply. I do know that companies often try to say that someone gets an hour for lunch so they must use part of that time as their second breastfeeding break but I pesronally don''t think this is what the code of good practice means.

If you have problems from work, which it doesn''t sound like you will, you should then point out that the amount of time you take off to breastfeed is less than what a smoker takes off in total each day.
Also point out that your baby will get sick less often from the breast milk and when your baby does get sick it will generally recover faster from the illness, meaning that you will prdobably need to take less time off work for your child''s illness. (rememer children get sick fairly often and so in addition to your 3 days of FRL and if you can twist your husbands arm hard enough his 3 days too, you will in most years need to take off about a week of annual leave for caring for a sick child).

If you want to continue expressing after 6 months, it''s generally fine to just express at mid morning and again at lunch time, and you can use these same arguments.
If you breastfeed beyond a year, you don''t really need to express anymore as baby doesn''t breastfeed int he same way as a young baby does anymore and your milk supply won''t dwindle if you wait till the evening when you are home.

Good luck, I hope you find a happy middle ground. Do have a look at the breastfeeding peer forum where there are lots of questions and answers on making expressing at work work out.

Reply to Purple

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