Breastfeeding Laws for Working Mothers in India: According to experts, it is recommended that a baby should be breast fed exclusively for the first 6 months so that the baby gets the necessary nutrients and antibodies to fight diseases. While the attitude towards Breastfeeding in India is generally influenced by social, cultural and economic factors, many women fail to openly share their problems and choosing between work life and breast feeding becomes quite challenging for them.Also Read - Feeling Sleepy After Lunch? Tips to Control Sleepiness After Lunch | Watch Video

Whether be it breast feeding or maternity concerns, World Breastfeeding Week, gives us an opportunity to educate, promote and support progressive trends to normalize breastfeeding as a special bond between the baby and mother.  As numerous women in India are ignorant of their rights under Article 42 of the Indian Constitution and under the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, we are here to tell you about some Indian law and policies related to breastfeeding at work for working mothers. Also Read - Dengue Prevention Tips: Delhi Witnesses Massive Surge In Dengue Cases, Here's How You Can Protect Yourself - Watch Video

The Maternity Benefits Act Also Read - Khosta-2 Virus: Scientists Find A New Virus In Russian Bats Which Can Infect Humans, Here's All You Need To Know - Watch Video

  • This act requires employers to provide nursing breaks of prescribed duration for new mothers in order to express breast milk for nursing child. These nursing breaks are fully paid and are available until a child reaches the age of 15 months.
  • This Maternity Benefits Act was amended in 2017 where every establishment having fifty or more employees must provide the facility of crèche within such distance as proposed either separately or along with common facilities was added. A woman worker will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day.

According to crèche guidelines issued by Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India;

  1. One crèche should be provided for every 30 children between the ages 6 months to 6 years of all types of employees.
  2. The crèche must be located at the workplace or within 500 meters of the establishment.
  3. Employers are required to employ one crèche worker along with a helper for every 10 children under the age of 3 years and for every 20 children between the age group of 3-6 years.

Apart from this, different states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu in the country have laid down various acts for alleviating maternity help in the states. However, these laws may vary from state to state but has these following points in common:

  • Building, maintenance and sanitization of crèches should be provided.
  • Crèches should involve washing facilities and must be located within convenient distances from the work place.
  • Adequate supply of milk for each child per day.
  • Granting reasonable and adequate nursing breaks to nursing mothers.

Though various steps are taken to provide relief to nursing mothers, there are states which still do not have any specific breastfeeding laws and policies. The increase in working women and importance of breastfeeding demands stronger maternity policies and quality child care to enable women employees in all sectors to achieve positive breastfeeding outcomes.

Script by Sneha M Jain