Find out about the great work Project Liquid Gold does and how you too can make your workplace more supportive for breastfeeding mums...
For breastfeeding mothers needing to head back to work and who want to continue giving their babies the goodness of their breastmilk, one of the biggest issues they face is how to express enough milk at their workplace to get their little ones through the day, and keep their supply up.
For those who need more clarity — breastfeeding works on a “supply and demand” basis. A breastfeeding mother’s breasts will usually* produce the exact amount of milk her baby needs, depending on how often the little one nurses.
This means that when a breastfeeding mum returns to work, it’s really important that she is able to express breastmilk regularly in order to both build up a stock of milk for her baby, and to ensure that her milk supply doesn’t drop.
However, unless mums have a supportive work environment — including colleagues, managers and infrastructure –expressing milk at work could become a literal nightmare.
While there are quite a few companies in Singapore that provide incredible levels of support for working, breastfeeding mums, others are not quite there.
We recently spoke to Billie Anne Lyou — a Principal Specialist with the U Family team — about Project Liquid Gold.
Please tell us about Project Liquid Gold — what prompted its initiation and for how long has it been around now?
NTUC U Family has been advocating for a long time for workplaces to have a family friendly culture.
For new mothers, transitioning back to work after their maternity leave can be stressful as they would have to think about how to continue to provide breast milk for their babies while they are away at work.
To help with this issue, NTUC U Family started Project Liquid Gold in 2012 to encourage workplaces to be supportive of working mums who have to express breast milk at work.
Could you describe the various Project Liquid Gold programmes? How can breastfeeding mums benefit from them?
Recognising that mums may not know how to prepare to express milk at work, Project Liquid Gold started a monthly support group with ABAS (Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore) to help mummies who are still on their maternity leave.
These support group sessions are led by a lactation consultant from ABAS and are free for mums to attend.
To enable working mums who have the passion to help other new mothers in the area of breastfeeding, Project Liquid Gold came up with a Workplace Breastfeeding Mentor Programme.
This one-day course is accredited by ABAS and trains mums to be able to mentor other mums on breastfeeding issues, especially in the context of the workplace.
This is important because breastfeeding employees may not feel comfortable to raise up issues on breastfeeding to the management, who may be male staff.
A Workplace Mentor can help to support breastfeeding employees. Workplace mentors also have access to Project Liquid Gold’s posters and desk signs which can help promote the awareness of breastfeeding at work. Employers are encouraged to support their staff to attend this course.
On the next page, find out how Project Liquid Gold is working with companies to help them better understand the needs of a breastfeeding mum.