FAQs - Breastfeeding Policy

“Breastfeeding is quick and easy and has become a natural part of mothering to me. I returned to work after one year maternity leave and like all mothers was concerned about the challenges of balancing work and a young family. Fortunately, my coworkers were very supportive, as I figured out what the best plan was for me to return to work and continue to nurse my child. Now after being back to work for almost a year, I’m glad to say our breastfeeding relationship is still going strong!”   Morgane Stocker

Why does Capital Health need a staff breastfeeding policy?

Capital Health promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding anywhere, anytime, including at work. This is particularly important in Nova Scotia as we have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Canada. Less than 10 per cent of Nova Scotians are meeting Health Canada’s recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.

Health Canada recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond. Often, this is well past the point that most parents return back to the workforce.

The benefits of supporting employees to breastfeed at work can include an easier transition back to work, lower employee absenteeism and turnover rates, lower health care costs and improved productivity and loyalty among employees. Breastfeeding support in the workplace has also been shown to increase breastfeeding duration rates.

Why is breastfeeding important?

Breastfeeding is recommended as the safest and healthiest way of feeding infants and young children. Breastfeeding provides nutritional, immunological, social and psychological benefits for the mother and child. Economic and ecological benefits are afforded to the family, health care system and the community.

Capital Health supports breastfeeding, respects the decision each person makes about how to feed their child and understands that Health Canada recommends babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding encouraged after solid foods are introduced up to and beyond two years of age.

Why breastfeeding matters. It:

  • Decreases child’s risk of asthma, diarrhea, lung and ear infections, diabetes and obesity.
  • Decreases mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease and bleeding after birth.
  • Requires less preparation time and costs less.
  • Decreases parents’ missed work time due to sick children.
  • Protects the environment (no waste).
  • Creates healthier communities and decreases health care costs.

Is this a human rights issue?

It is not permitted to harass or discriminate against a staff member on account of breastfeeding. Such harassment or discrimination can amount to sex-based discrimination (under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) and will not be tolerated in the workplace.

Am I able to have my child brought into work to be breastfed?

Staff members are welcome to have their babies brought to work by the caregiver for breastfeeding. The breastfeeding staff member and their manager will determine and mutually agreeable time and space for breastfeeding. A bathroom is not an appropriate space.

If I’m planning to pump, will there be a designated space for me to use?

The breastfeeding staff member and their manager will determine a mutually agreeable space to use for breastfeeding and/or expressing milk. A bathroom is not an appropriate space.