More breastfeeding rights for mothers?

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As Home Affairs Minister and the minister responsible for overseeing the 1,001 Critical Days agenda, Senator Kristina Moore took on the role last year and with it responsibility for trying to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed their babies. The appointment followed a conclusion in the Future Jersey report, a survey and analysis of data that aims to influence States policy for the next 20 years, that breastfeeding rates had remained static for several years, with 54 per cent of infants between 2013 and 2015 having been breastfed when they were six to eight weeks old.

However, despite finishing second in the Senatorial election and having previously said she would like to seek a ministerial post in the next government, Senator Moore declined to stand for a ministerial post after Senator John Le Fondré was elected Chief Minister. Instead she said she would be focusing on Scrutiny.

Despite the move to the back benches, the role of breastfeeding champion has followed her, albeit with a new name.

‘I don’t think anybody in government wanted to do it,’ she said.

‘But I am very happy to keep it. I have become a guardian because I no longer have a voice around the table.’

Senator Moore is now working closely with Deputy Louise Doublet on the matter to make progress that both politicians believe can have a positive impact on society in many ways, from helping to tackle obesity and promoting health benefits for children to lowering illness rates in children and therefore reducing the number of days taken off work by parents.

They are due to meet Social Security Minister Judy Martin and law officers to discuss the possibility of making it a legal requirement for employers to provide somewhere clean and comfortable for breastfeeding mothers to express milk while they are at work.

In the States this week, the Social Security Minister said that mothers should have increased rights to breastfeed in the workplace – including breaks and access to special facilities – by autumn next year.

Answering a question from Deputy Doublet, Deputy Martin said increased breastfeeding rights would be debated by Members before the end of this year and come into force, if approved, by September 2019.

Senator Moore and Deputy Doublet are backing this year’s Big Latch event, which will take place at the Elephant Park on 21 September between 10 am and noon.

The event, which is similar to other global events, encourages women to breastfeed their children in public to demonstrate their support for breastfeeding.

‘When you look at the health benefits for the babies and also the mother and then you think about the future impact on schooling and general community benefits, it is a no-brainer to support and ensure that as many people as possible are able to breastfeed,’ said Senator Moore.

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