Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A campaign promoting breastfeeding at the workplace, “Sixty minutes working as a mom”, was launched on Tuesday in HCM City.
The campaign seeks to highlight how female workers can effectively use the 60-minute paid lactation breaks to nurse children up to 12 months of age.
It was launched at Pou Yuen Việt Nam Co Ltd in Bình Tân District, the country’s largest footwear factory, by UNICEF in collaboration with the private sector.
The launch was attended by experts, nutritionists, the factory management and women workers there, and relevant agencies.
Lesley Miller, deputy representative of UNICEF Việt Nam, said: “Female workers are mothers too and must be supported at the workplace for breastfeeding.”
Only 24 per cent of babies under six months are exclusively breastfed in Việt Nam, and only 22 per cent are breastfed until two years of age.
Returning to work is a major factor preventing women working in the manufacturing sector from exclusive breastfeeding.
Miller called on factories to support breastfeeding at the workplace to help increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months and continued breastfeeding upon return to work.
Yao Cheng Wu, director of Pou Yuen Việt Nam, said the company has 74,000 workers, of whom more than 80 per cent are women.
The company’s human resources data shows that on average a female worker takes 14 days off a year to take care of sick children aged under 12 months, he said.
“If we promote breastfeeding, babies’ health will be improved significantly. It reduces female workers’ absence from work and increases productivity, creating a win-win situation both for the company and the workers.”
A panel discussion was held to discuss key issues and solutions to common misunderstandings and barriers related to breastfeeding at factories.
Experts recommend breastfeeding as the best for the baby and more economical if mothers know proper breastfeeding methods.
Đỗ Hồng Phương, a nutrition specialist from UNICEF Việt Nam, said a breast-feeding mother could save VNĐ12 million (US$527) in sixth months on formula.
Võ Thị Yến, a factory worker, said: “I know the benefits of breast milk as the most valuable nutrition source for babies, so I try to exclusively breastfeed my baby.”
The company’s breast milk storage is really convenient for mothers returning to work after delivery, she said. — VNS