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Flasks at work

  1. Breastfeeding is healthiest for you and your child, especially if you can give it for at least six months. But after a while your maternity leave is over and you have to go back to work. How can you continue to breastfeed?

  1. There are several ways to keep feeding your baby while you work. You can arrange childcare close to your workplace, so that you can feed your little one yourself. You can also ask someone to bring your child to work, so that you can let your baby drink there. Another way is to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding or to take parental leave or days off after your maternity leave.

Legal possibilities

  1. The law also offers all kinds of possibilities for combining breastfeeding and work. However, many new mothers do not know this. Research shows that many employers do not know this either. To help those mothers and employers, a law on breastfeeding and work has been drafted. In summary, your employer must allow you to pump in a special room during working hours. In addition, your employer is obliged to inform you about the risks if you work with hazardous substances, for example.


  1. The breastmilk that you express at work can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and you can even freeze it. This expressed milk can be given to your baby in a bottle by your boyfriend or husband, the babysitter or the caretakers of a nursery. So make sure that you have already expressed some expressions before your first working day. On the second working day, your child can drink the milk you expressed on the first day and so on.


  1. Despite good legislation, there still appear to be problems in practice. Research by FNV Bongenoten shows that 75 percent of mothers experience problems with pumping in the workplace. The employer does not provide time and space or his / her attitude is indifferent. Studies by the Nutrition Center also show that there are many problems on the employer side. Employers often do not know the law and if they already know it, they do not or hardly translate it into practice.


  1. Although the initiative should lie with your employer (you as a mother are already busy enough with your work, your child and getting used to everything), you can lend your employer a hand. For example, by telling you well in advance that you want to continue breastfeeding. Your boss will then have plenty of time to prepare and learn more about the law. It is also important for your colleagues to know your decision at an early stage. Other tips: Start expressing early so that you and your baby can get used to it. Have a network of nurturing mothers at work (if possible). You can support each other, exchange experiences and help with problems. Put nursing pads and an extra shirt or sweater at your work place in case your breasts leak and your clothes get wet.

Legal right to time and space to express expressionsWorking Hours Act, article 4: 8:

  1. 1. A female worker who feeds a breast child has, if she has informed the employer thereof, the right to interrupt work during the first 9 months of the child's life in order to nurse her child in the necessary rest and seclusion, or breastfeeding. 2. The interruptions take place as often and for as long as necessary, but together amount to no more than a quarter of the working time per shift. The timing and duration of the interruptions will be determined after consultation with the employer. 3. The duration of the interruptions count as working time, over which the female employee retains her entitlement to the fixed wage.

Working Conditions Decree, article 3.48:

  1. A suitable enclosed space that can be closed off is available for pregnant and lactating employees. In such a space, a suitable bed, whether or not folding, or a suitable couch is available.

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