Why we should do this: what the evidence says

Increase understanding of, and compliance with, the legislation protecting and supporting breastfeeding employees.

Evidence shows there is a lack of understanding regarding employer obligations to breastfeeding employees under the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2008 (Department of Labour 2010; Women’s Health Action 2015).

Work collaboratively with national and regional providers to support the consistency and effectiveness of national and regional Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace (BFW) initiatives.


Combining breastfeeding and employment is difficult for many parents, and a perceived lack of employer support negatively impacts the success of breastfeeding employees (Lubold and Roth 2012).

Breastfeeding support in workplaces improves breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity, and increases job satisfaction and commitment (Atabay et al 2014).

Implement policy and training to ensure early childhood education (ECE) centres are breastfeeding friendly.

ECE centres influence breastfeeding practices and decision making (Bartle and Duncan 2009). Implementing policy is essential in supporting ECE centres to be breastfeeding friendly (Marhefka et al 2018).


Atabay E, Moreno G, Nandi A. 2014. Facilitating working mothers’ ability to breastfeed: Global trends in guaranteeing breastfeeding breaks at work. Journal of Human Lactation. 31(1): 81–8.

Bartle C, Duncan J. 2009. Breastfeeding guidelines for Early Childhood Education. Canterbury: University of Canterbury.

Department of Labour. 2010. The 2008 Infant Feeding Amendment to the Employment Relations Act 2000: A snapshot of the impact in the first year. Wellington: Department of Labour.

Heymann J, Raub A, Earle A. 2013. Breastfeeding policy: A globally comparative analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 91(6): 398–406.

Lubold A, Roth L. 2012. The impact of workplace practices on breastfeeding experiences and disparities among women. In P Smith, B Hausman, M Labbok, Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities (pp 157–182). New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Marhefka S, Sharma V, Schafer E, et al. 2018. Why do we need a policy? Administrators’ perceptions on breast-feeding-friendly childcare. Public Health Nutrition. 1–11, 17–21.

Payne D, James L. 2008. Make or break: Mothers’ experiences of returning to paid employment and breastfeeding: A New Zealand study. Breastfeeding Review. 16(2): 21–27.

Women's Health Action. 2015. Breastfeeding at work: Employers survey. Auckland: Women’s Health Action.