A survey has released findings that one-third of breastfeeding mums are forced to use a toilet at work when they express milk, according to The Guardian.
2,000 women who had a baby within the last five years were interviewed as part of the study, which found that more than half had to express milk in an unsuitable place, such as the staff room, their desk or their car.
The lack of support in the workplace for women who are returning from maternity leave was highlighted as a result.
As well as this, almost a third of women said they experienced issues while trying to express, including infections, anxiety and issues with their supply.
The employment complications resulted in 30 percent of mums ceasing breastfeeding before they would have liked.
An anonymous 36-year-old pharmaceutical worker stated that her employer had not provided adequate facilities to express milk;
She continued, “Sometimes I’ve just gone back to the car park and expressed in my car. It’s not acceptable but I don’t really have a choice.”
Employment laws currently state that breastfeeding staff are entitled to a place of rest. "You should be able to express milk at your workplace if you wish," according to the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
"You can request that your employer provides you with a suitable private space where you can do this," they said.
"Guidelines recommend that you have access to a private, clean and comfortable room with a lockable door- not a toilet- in which to express." Yet there's no requirement for employees to have paid breaks to express milk or feed their baby.
The law firm Slater and Gordon carried out the survey, and discovered that half of breastfeeding mums said their bosses were unaware of what to do when it comes to expressing milk, had no facilities or were embarrassed during the conversation.
Paula Chan, who is one of the firm’s employment law specialists, stated: “This research is concerning- no mother should feel forced to express milk for her child in a toilet."
“People would be horrified at the thought of food being prepared in such unhygienic conditions so it’s unacceptable that we are in a situation where that is considered to be an option when preparing milk for a baby."
Advice on breast-feeding or expressing milk in the work-place can be found on this website.
Feature image: Raising Children Network