Do you know that there are more than 150 breastfeeding-friendly public spaces in Singapore? And that’s excluding indoor playgrounds! But it’s not just the nursing rooms that have been increasing in numbers. Parents, companies and the community are more aware of the benefits and practice of breastfeeding. Not convinced? Here are the reasons why we think this little red dot is becoming more breastfeeding-friendly.
1. Shop and breastfeed with ease
Shopping malls and attractions in Singapore today are equipped with nursing rooms. The facilities, hygiene and quality of each nursing room may differ from various malls, but most of them are equipped with the basic amenities. For mamas on-the-go, this list of shopping mall nursing rooms may come in handy – Best Nursing Rooms in Singapore Part I and Best Nursing Rooms in Shopping Malls Part II.
2. Nursing rooms at community centres and public spaces
Community centres are now upgrading their facilities to cater to young families. If you are stay around Yishun, check out the newly revamped Nee Soon East Community Club which boasts a well-furbished breastfeeding room. It not only comes equipped with a diaper changing table, it even has toys to keep your other kids occupied while you nurse your baby. The direction for the Community club to be baby-friendly was put forth by Mr Patrick Tay, the previous Member of Parliment for Nee Soon East, who saw the need for more places to be accessible to young families.
3. ‘Liquid Gold’ companies
For companies with pro-breastfeeding policies and set aside lactation space and breaks for working mothers, their efforts have not gone unnoticed. NTUC U Family hands out the Liquid Gold Awards every year, in recognition of their work and dedication in implementing breastfeeding-friendly policies and facilities at the workplace.
One company who has received the Liquid Gold award is DBS Bank. The office building which is serviced by three different lift lobbies has a lactation room at each lobby. The bank, which won the Liquid Gold Nurturing Workplace award, also took the initiative to upgrade the size of the fridge in the lactation room, when more breastfeeding mums returned to work. Even companies that have predominantly male workers have been recognised. Keppel Fels set up a room just for nursing mums and provided flexible nursing breaks, despite being a male-dominated workplace.
4. All the help you need
- U Family, an NTUC initiative, is the voice for working families. They advocate the building of strong and happy families by championing pro-family measures at the community and workplaces. U Family started the Project Liquid Gold to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding, to advocate for more support for new mothers who are returning to work after their maternity leave.
- The Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore (ABAS) is an alliance of healthcare institutions, healthcare professionals’ associations, mother-support groups and individual healthcare professionals in private practice who see breastfeeding of infants as an important fundamental building block.
- Online support groups. There are many support groups for breastfeeding mothers, both offline and online. Do a quick search on Facebook and you will be able to find private and closed breastfeeding groups available. One such group you can join is Breastfeeding with Love.
To urge employers to look into the provision of adequate facilities, pro-breastfeeding policies, and foster a culture of understanding and support among employees, NTUC U Family and The Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore (ABAS) have jointly developed a Workplace Breastfeeding Mentor Programme to provide information and support to new mothers in breastfeeding.
In the programme, participants will learn the basics of breastfeeding; how to make the transition to expressing milk at work after returning from their maternity leave, and how to support other breastfeeding colleagues. After attending the course, Low E-wen and Jeslyn Thong of Public Utilities Board were inspired to promote a supportive culture in their workplace – they organised a talk and sharing session for their other breastfeeding colleagues.
Interested to learn more? Seek your employers’ support to let you attend this 1-day course. If you wish to find out more about the programme, contact U Family at firstname.lastname@example.org
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