Women’s Health Development Unit, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains MalaysiaWhile both men and women can be affected by the demand between work and family, only working women have the specific role of breastfeeding. Therefore, women who are breastfeeding are likely to face challenges at work and at home while trying to balance their multiple roles as a mother, as a wife and as a worker.It has been suggested that the strains faced by employees may reduce productivity and increase absenteeism, thus affecting the overall productivity of the work. The inability to manage work-related issues has been shown to affect breastfeeding practices. Specifically, work outside the home has been identified as a factor that leads to a higher rate of early breastfeeding cessation. Hence, flexibility in working arrangements has been found to benefit employees as well as the employers.
This plenary session examines how working nature and environment influence nursing mothers’ ability to breastfeed. By understanding the challenges they face at work and at home, we are likely to learn from their experiences and take steps to improve their lives. Let’s make it work!