TL;DR – Flexi-work and WFH arrangements are helping working mums breastfeed for longer!
Society places many expectations on mothers and working mums often feel pressured to balance both work and family. The truth is, we can’t do it alone and need help. Some Stay-at-home mums (SAHMs) also expressed the difficulty they face when wanting to return to the workforce after they have taken some time off.
This sentiment was echoed in the paper released by PAP’s women’s wing and youth wing. The paper recommended that the Government, organisations and employers work together to develop support packages and networks for women who wish to re-enter the workforce and rebuild their careers after taking a break to care for their children.
In her recent Facebook post, Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling also noted that many women returning to work shared candidly on the support needed for them to work with a peace of mind.
Flexi-work is the new normal
The pandemic has shown us that flexible work arrangements are possible. It is hence timely for NTUC to “push boundaries for flexible work arrangements in the new normal”. For women seeking to return to the workforce after a few years, flexi-work and WFH arrangements can help ease them into the rigour of work again.
Apart from benefitting those returning to the workforce, flexi-work arrangements also benefit current working mothers. One obvious benefit is the ability to breastfeed our babies at home. In fact, a recent ST article reported that WFH was helping mothers breastfeed their babies for longer periods. Before the pandemic, working mothers often found it more challenging to continue nursing their babies after resuming work. As a working mother, I can attest to the hassle of having to transport pumps and breast milk to and fro when I had to return to the office previously. Direct latching also saves precious time for mothers, since babies are more efficient feeders than pumps.
Project Liquid Gold
What about breastfeeding mothers who are in roles that require them to be physically at their workplaces? Breastfeeding is tough and many mothers have shared the challenges they face when they do not have a designated nursing room at work. To counter this problem, Project Liquid Gold was also launched to bring more awareness in support of breastfeeding mothers. A clean, safe and designated nursing room means a lot to breastfeeding mothers. Hence, unionists have been advocating for females in the workplace and asking employers to provide working mothers with a designated nursing room.
There’s always more that can be done
Our women form an important part of Singapore’s workforce and there will always be more that can be done to support them. There are more and more politicians advocating for females in the workplace and we definitely see this as a step in the right direction!