Today, C and I had a presentation before our employees' association to request for support for our lactation program proposal. C was supposed to present during the last council meeting (in May). However, she had another seminar to attend to abroad. In the May meeting, a proposal for a breastfeeding station was brought up. However, there were no concrete plans made. Instead, it was proposed that the nursing moms be directed to the employees' association room to express their milk.
For today's meeting, C and I came prepared. C had a 30-slide presentation which was very well-researched and included the demographics of our office (female employees, those in the child-bearing age, pregnancy data for 2007-08). There was also data on government initiatives, enacted and pending laws/bills focused on breastfeeding, infant/child nutrition. C and I also presented the benefits of breastfeeding and how having a lactation program at work would benefit not only the mom-employees but the entire institution as well.
I initially thought that it would be difficult explaining the necessity of the lactation program since most of the representatives were male or females (who were no longer of child-bearing age). I was pleasantly surprised that our presentation was well-received. I think it really helped that C researched and put in a lot of data. They were impressed with the data-gathering and generally agreed that they learned a lot from the presentation.
The most important concern that C and I raised was the establishment of a lactation program policy to ensure that nursing moms would be permitted by their bosses to express milk. C and I were lucky that our bosses were supportive and we could express our milk on schedule (except under exceptional circumstances). However, some employees' bosses did not give them time to express in view of the workload. C and I emphasized that having an established policy would oblige these bosses to provide lactation breaks to their nursing subordinates.
One concern raised was the length of time it took to express milk and the potential inability of the nursing employee to catch up or complete her work. C and I explained that it would also be the duty of the nursing employee to ensure that she uses her time efficiently at work and make sure that she makes up for the time spent pumping.
The representatives expressed their support for our proposal and even proposed to buy a hospital-grade pump. However, C and I emphasized that we needed to take a step-by-step approach in establishing the program. The establishment of a lactation policy must be first, followed by lactation rooms. M, the association's president, assured us of the association’s support and asked us to prepare a proposal for management. :D
C and I were very pleased with the result of this meeting. Next step - drafting the proposal. We will be utilizing the toolkit we obtained from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources Administration (HRSA) and Breastfeeding Pinay to draft our proposal. C and I believe that it should be the employees' association who need to sponsor or submit our proposal to management to ensure its successful implementation.
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