Forthcoming issue 3 A qualitative study of employed mothers breastfeeding experiences at designated workplaces in Worcester, South Africa.

Main Article Content

L C Daniels
X Mbhenyane
L M Du Plessis


Background: The work environment presents major challenges for breastfeeding mothers through the physical separation of the mother and the baby post maternity leave. The study aimed to explore the experiences of employed breastfeeding mothers from designated workplaces (who have more than 50 employees) in Worcester, South Africa.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted using focus group discussions (FDGs). Employed breastfeeding mothers from designated workplaces, who exclusively or predominantly breastfed their children from birth for any period up to six months and had their babies within the last 24 months were recruited within the communities. Mothers were contacted to plan for the FDGs.

Results: Five FDGs (n=24) were conducted. The return to work for mothers was experienced as difficult and challenging. Mothers who were able to combine breastfeeding and work displayed commitment and a belief in breastfeeding. Enabling factors and main support mentioned consistently were, immediate family of mothers, grandmothers, siblings and spouses. Challenges identified relates to lack of breastfeeding space and time at work, unsupportive workplace culture, older generation beliefs and work life balance. Several needs were identified to support successful return to work and breastfeeding.

Conclusion: There is a need for more support for breastfeeding mothers within the workplace setting. Mothers should be educated by health professionals of their right of a breastfeeding break at work. Much more engagement with workplaces relating to the topic of breastfeeding support must be initiated. Dietitians, nutritionists, breastfeeding professionals and occupational health professionals can play an important role in this process.

Article Details

How to Cite
Forthcoming issue 3: A qualitative study of employed mothers breastfeeding experiences at designated workplaces in Worcester, South Africa. (2024). South African Journal of Child Health, 18(2), e1809.

How to Cite

Forthcoming issue 3: A qualitative study of employed mothers breastfeeding experiences at designated workplaces in Worcester, South Africa. (2024). South African Journal of Child Health, 18(2), e1809.


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