Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 2, 2008

Recess hour for nursing mums

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:03 pm

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has proposed an hour break for working mothers to express breast milk at their workplace.
This is on top of the one-hour lunch break that all workers are entitled to.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said he will discuss the proposal with the Human Resources Ministry on how this policy can be implemented at the workplace.
“We recommend that employers give a one-hour break for nursing mothers. It is up to the mothers to decide on the frequency,” he said after launching the Code of Ethics for the Marketing of Infant Foods and Related Products at Selayang Hospital yesterday.
He made the proposal following worries over the low number of mothers who practised breast-feeding.
The National Breast-Feeding Policy recommended that babies be exclusively breastfed until six months old. However, according to the 3rd National Morbidity and Health Study in 2006, only 14.5 per cent of mothers breast-fed their child for six months, as opposed to the international norm of 30 per cent.
“This is among the lowest in the region and I am very worried about this,” said Liow.
He said the problem was due to limited knowledge and skills to continue breast-feeding after mothers resume their work.It was compounded by the lack of support at workplaces such as inflexible working hours, limited creches and areas for nursing mothers.
“The marketing of baby food and other related products is one of the main competitor in practising breastfeeding. Social and environmental pressures will encourage mothers to replace breast milk with formula,” he said.
On the code of ethics, Liow said it would not be made part of the law.
Liow, who is also MCA Youth chief, said he was standing by his secretary-general Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is a victim of a smear campaign.

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