Importance Of Creating Breastfeeding Facilities For Lactating Mothers At The Workplace: A Case Of Safaricom Kenya Limted
This was a cross sectional descriptive study exploring importance of creating breastfeeding facilities for lactating mothers within Safaricom Kenya Limited. Thus, the study sought to: examine the facilities put in place for breastfeeding mothers, understand the benefits of breastfeeding spaces to mothers and Safaricom and establish challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers at the workplace. The study was guided by the theory of planned behaviour and data collected through in-depth interviews and key informant interviews. The data was analyzed through constant comparative approach which is consistent with the grounded theory and presented according to themes informed by the study objectives. The findings indicate that breastfeeding facilities put in place by Safaricom Kenya Limited play a significant role in the realization of optimal breastfeeding objectives. Thus the facilities serve to meet the feeding on demand basis, exclusive breastfeeding duration beyond the 90-day maternity leave as well as ensuring great outcomes on the growth and development of the infants. Among the facilities put in place include: Day-care centre equipped with milk storage facilities and running water, lactation breaks, standby health worker and caregivers for the children. Further, workplace support including training and availability of breastfeeding handbooks for new mothers has been put in place by Safaricom. The facilities however, are faced by a number of constraints including: conflicts between the lactating employees and departmental supervisors on over-stayed breaks and the feeling of embarrassment of public breastfeeding. The study recommends that there is an urgent need to address the perception by mid-level management that workplace breastfeeding might undercut the performance of female employees giving it a distractive face. Further, there is need for a study on the experiences of female employees employed in the informal sector with regards to exclusive breastfeeding.
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