Four out five employers do not offer any support to new parents around breastfeeding.
Research, commissioned by Peppy to mark World Breastfeeding Week, found that nearly two thirds of employers (63%) offer support for new parents, but specific support for infant feeding is only offered by 18% of employers overall.
Dr Mridula Pore, CEO of Peppy, said that the focus of World Breastfeeding Week this year is on education and support and she encouraged employers to do more.
“Employers often struggle to find the right way to support new parents. They may send a bouquet of flowers after the birth, which is a lovely gesture, but having support from a paediatric expert will go so much further in helping them settle into this new phase of life and tackle inevitable questions and worries with confidence.”
Peppy said that, as well as helping individual employees, offering support for new parents helps organisations demonstrating that they care about the health and wellbeing of working parents and their families.
Comprehensive support should also continue as the employee transitions back to work, as this can have implications for how parents decide to feed their baby.
Employers may need to consider offering flexible working to accommodate breastfeeding or pumping breaks, and allocating a suitable room for such purposes.
Pore added: “At a time when NHS services are already hugely overstretched, the value of personalised and empathetic care from an infant feeding expert is immense. In particular, support that is available digitally gives new parents the ability to source information at a time to suit them no matter what routine they or their new baby might be following.
“Offering feeding support is one of the best new baby gifts that parents can receive, genuinely strengthening the bond between parent and baby and parent and employer.”
The research on employers’ breastfeeding support was carried out by Opinium among 506 HR decision makers.