Late on Tuesday evening a friend sent me a media invite for the launch of the Nestle Breastfeeding centre, and early on what turned out t be a chilly morning yesterday I was making my way to the Nestle offices in Industrial area.
Curious,very curious we all were when we got there.
But first some coffee to ward of the chills.
And as the res of the world prepared to celebrate World Breast feeding week from the 1st to the 7th of August,Nestle was marking a mile stone with the launch of their breastfeeding center.
Present at the event was the Nestle Management led by head of Nestle East Africa Cluster Ms Ciru Miring’u and to officially open the center was the Chief Executive Officer f the Federation f Kenya Employers Ms Jackline Mugo.
As Ms Ciru Muring’u pointed out supporting breastfeeding mothers made sense for them as it resulted in lower medical costs,lower absenteeism rates at work and increased retention of female employees.
Research has underlined the critical role breast milk plays in the formative years of a child’s life, the World Health Organization recommends that exclusive breastfeeding be done for the first 6 months of a child’s life.Complementary foods are introduced after 6 months while breastfeeding should continue up to the age of 2 years.
Unfortunately this does not always happen.
Many a working mother in Kenya can attest to the heart wrenching feeling that comes when they have to go back to work and leave their babies at home.With most work places not having any designated places where women who choose to exclusively breastfeed can pump breast milk and store it for use when they get home they are forced to abandon exclusively breastfeeding their children .
The ones bold enough to find a private place to pump breast milk for their children resort to using workplace washrooms ,which are not the most hygienic or even private places to do so.
Friendly and supportive work place policies will ensure women continue playing a role in providing much needed nutrition to their children for the first 6 months of their lives.
A few years back when i had my daughter and was working i had to carry a stash of breast pads with me to soak up excess milk that inadvertently leaked for the 8 hours i was at work.
Ms Jackline Mugo,the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Kenya Employers lauded Nestle East Africa for taking the bold step to support women in the critical role they play as mothers and hoped that other employers would make it possible for women to achieve a work life balance with such initiatives.
Does you work place have a designated lace for mothers to make use of if they choose to exclusively breastfeed,share with us in the comments section.Also do let us know what steps Kenyan employers can play in helping mothers raise their children while they are at work.