“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life”
Lebo, returned to work on the day her son turned 4 months. As a proactive employee and
determined mother, she pre-arranged with her supervisors to create a space for her to
breastfeed at the office. Unable to afford a separate nursing area, her employees allowed her
to use the small boardroom and the office fridge to express and store her milk.
However, it’s not always good news for moms returning to work. Tshego did not receive such
a positive reception. Little did she know her colleagues would take offense and go so far as to
ostracize her for her choice to breastfeed and for her baby’s right to vital nutrients. She
endured office bullying, which went so far as to spur on a male colleague to set up a hidden
camera in the small boardroom, film and distribute a video of Tshego expressing milk.
This is just one example of the harsh realities working mothers face when trying to do what is
best for their babies.
On Friday 27 October, SACSoWACH – a coalition of health advocates- will host a round table
discussion lead by the coalition’s patron, Dr Tshepo Motsepe.
The discussion will feature thought-provoking topics as well as critical discussion points, the
Departments of Labour and Health, Ministry for Women in the Presidency, and trade unions
Keynote speaker Dr Judy Dlamini will lead into the discussion and as a business entrepreneur
will provide insight into the poignant timing for South Africans to have this discussion. Dr Sello
Motaung (SABC Health Talk) will facilitate the round table discussion.
In South Africa, many women return to work before their babies are 6 months old, thus
requiring employers to create an enabling environment for mothers at work to continue
This can be achieved by affording women their right to breastfeeding breaks and by making
private and comfortable spaces available for mothers at work to express breastmilk
confidently. South Africa should be implementing best practice to support breastfeeding in
the workplace as seen in other similar contexts, such as Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, and
Join the conversation
- Parking is available on the Education Campus (St Andrews Road entrance). This will not be dedicated parking but visitors will be able to park in free general parking spaces on the campus and will have to walk the short distance to the SPH.
- There is also parking available on the road (with parking attendants) but this, although commonly used by staff and students, is less secure.
- Participants are also encouraged to Uber to the venue