Workplace Breastfeeding Support Available at International NGOs and Local NGOs Which Are Members Of The Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance In Myanmar

Both (WHO, 2017) and (MOHS, 2017) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of child’s life and continuing breastfeeding together with timely and appropriate complementing food up to two years  and beyond. Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance is a coalition of civil society organizations formed with a purpose of supporting development and wider implementation of the nutrition agenda in Myanmar (The Secretariat of the SUN CSA, 2017).  Women working in those organizations are more likely to have support from their employer regarding breastfeeding their babies upon their return to work after delivery. Therefore, it was very interesting to understand the breastfeeding support available in their workplace and the status of breastfeeding among those women. Results from this study can also be useful for informing the decision makers to create breastfeeding-friendly workplaces. The study was conducted by using mixed methods: 1) individual interviews using self-administered online questionnaires for the leadership and female employees of the organizations and 2) focus group discussions with co-workers, both male and female separately, of the working mothers. There were 15 organizations and 28 females who are pregnant or have children younger than two years participated in this study. Six FGDs were also conducted. The results showed that 85.7% of employers agreed that promoting breastfeeding has benefits for the organization and 100% of them said regular breastfeeding or pumping breaks are important. Although 66.7% of the employers said in the early section that designated breastfeeding spaces are provided, only 20% of the organizations have appropriate lactation rooms which are accessible, clean, private, and safe and set up with basic facilities. Mean duration of maternity leave provided by the sample organizations was 4.18 month. It was found that 91.7% of the female employees who have children younger than two years said that they are still breastfeeding at the time of interview. However, 64.3% of the working mothers used infant formula too. Actual support received by the working mothers is still limited though their employers are willing to be supportive. It is recommended that SUN CSA organizations should invest more in strengthening the breastfeeding-friendliness of their offices to set as good examples. At the same time they should also take more initiatives to inform the government and policy makers to invest more in breastfeeding.