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WHAT MAKES BREASTFEEDING INTERVENTIONS WORK – AT WORK?

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The link is clear: women with access to lactation support and interventions at work have better breastfeeding outcomes than women who do not.

Employers around the world have taken note and are increasingly seeking ways to support their employees who wish to work and breastfeed their children. Yet until now, they had little clarity about what made an intervention successful – or not.

Thanks to a just published, first-of-its-kind realist review, employers can now see which factors lead to an intervention’s success. These emerged as equally important: 

• Raising awareness of the support or intervention among employees, supervisors and co-workers.
• Changes in knowledge and attitudes that create a supportive breastfeeding culture and physical environment.
• Time and flexibility for a mother to breastfeed or express breastmilk during work.

See the full findings, from 37 articles and 11 countries, published in the International Journal for Equity in Health (How do breastfeeding workplace interventions work?: a realist review).

“In order to better address breastfeeding inequities affecting working mothers, workplace breastfeeding interventions need to be tailored … for the contextual factors underlying the different working conditions for mothers globally”, write the authors.

As next steps for additional clarity, the authors recommend further research into interventions involving women who are informally employed and/or based in low-resource settings.

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