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Returning to Work After Baby & Breastfeeding

When returning to work after having your baby, it is important to know your rights if you wish to continue with breastfeeding or expressing your breast milk while in the workplace.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission1 states that:

  • It is against the law for workplaces to discriminate against a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding
  • An employer should provide a breastfeeding mother with enough time to breastfeed or express breast milk for her child
  • Employees who require breaks for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk should be given these breaks, and should not be asked to miss regular breaks or work additional time to make up for breaks taken

If your workplace is not already breastfeeding friendly, it is important that you discuss with your employer your plans to breastfeed upon returning to work (ideally before you go on maternity leave and are still at work). Some things that you could discuss with your employer are:

  • Requiring a private room (not the toilet area) with a comfortable chair, a refrigerator where you can store expressed breastmilk, somewhere to store an electric breast pump or manual breast pump, and time to express milk during lunch break and other breaks if necessary
  • Discuss the possibility of your baby being brought to work and breastfeeding during breaks and lunchtime, and flexible work hours and breaks in order to accommodate this

For more information please contact the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623, or see Healthy Pregnancy  – Live, Work and Play 

References

  1. Ontario Human Rights Commission (2014). Policy on discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-discrimination-because-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding

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