Breastfeeding in the Workplace

Parents are encouraged to breastfeed their babies as this can help the child’s gut development and has many physical and psychological benefits.

Organisations such as UNICEF, a baby friendly initiative, are leading a campaign to increase breastfeeding in the UK. Employers can help with this by providing a private room that a mother can express her milk in, as well as a separate fridge to store the milk.

What does the law say?

There is no legal obligation for you to provide breastfeeding breaks, however, you must provide suitable facilities where pregnant workers and breastfeeding mothers can rest.

“Where necessary, the rest area should include somewhere for them to lie down. New and expectant mothers are entitled to more frequent rest breaks so you should discuss this with them, agreeing on their timing and frequency.

Toilets are not a suitable place for new mothers to express milk. You may choose to provide a separate private environment where your employee can safely both express and store milk, though you are not legally obliged to do so.”

The Health and Safety Executive: Protecting new and expectant mothers at work – Rest and breastfeeding at work (

What are the benefits of supporting breastfeeding?

It is good practice to support breastfeeding at work. Some examples of the benefits to your organisation are:

  • Reduced absence

  • Increased staff morale and wellbeing

  • A drawing point to attract potential employees

  • Reduced stress

  • Mothers will feel included and supported, increasing their morale and efficiency

How can I support employees who are breastfeeding?

It is good practice to support breastfeeding at work. Some examples of the benefits to your organisation are:

  • Create a specific policy to support breastfeeding within your organisation

  • Communicate with your employees

  • Make them aware of your policies before they start maternity leave

  • Find out if they will require support when they return from maternity leave

  • Don’t be afraid to have the conversation – mothers will appreciate that you are trying to support them

  • Offer a break allowance for mothers to express milk

  • Provide a clean, warm, private room for expressing

  • Toilets are not appropriate for this

  • Provide a secure, clean fridge to store expressed milk, separate from fridges used by other employees

  • Offer flexible working options for breastfeeding mothers

Further information about the benefits of supporting mothers to breast feed can be found in the links below.

Single Employer

Information for Employers

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