Government has said yes to breastfeeding at workplaces after MPs endorsed legislation which will make it compulsory for employers to make a breastfeeding centre available for nursing mothers in their different offices.
This means that working mothers will now be able to combine work and nursing. The breastfeeding clause which is part of the 2015 Health Bill was endorsed on Tuesday.
The Bill which was backed by National Assembly Health Committee chaired by Rachel Nyamai requires all employers to provide centres for breastfeeding that will boast of useful facilities, such as electric outlets for breast pumps, refrigerators and appropriate cooling facilities within the office premises.
The employers are also mandated to make the centre very comfortable by providing seats for mothers to make the women relax while breastfeeding their babies.
Therefor, nursing mothers can now take breaks within work hours to feed their infants in the provided places for breastfeeding. According to the clause, the breastfeeding timing however is reasonably as fast as it will take the women to fully feed their offspring – and must not exceed one hour for every eight working hours.
This is surely the first time this type of bill has been passed into law even though some firms have centres where breastfeeding mothers stay in feeding their children.
MPs say the law will allow mothers to encourage the bringing up of healthy babies in the country as working without such facility means children would not be fed until after work hours.
Health professionals have warned that the health of a baby is put at risk if breastfeeding period is cut down, so this measure will encourage full-time feeding for new born babies.
Having in mind that for many women today, work is essential for the economic survival of their families while they also desire to meet their role of providing optimum nutrition to their babies through breastfeeding.
And Breast milk insufficiency due to time they return to work have been a major reason why they end breastfeeding even before required time.
Though a similar clause was trashed eight years ago because some employers threatened to stop employing child-bearing women, this is another gain for Kenyan women.
It adds to the Matrimonial Property and Sexual Offences bills, which the Parliament had earlier passed in favour of women.