Returning to work as a breastfeeding mother is a right for employees and parents throughout Australia and here at Aussie Kindies, we are committed to making this transition as easy as possible.
Affinity Education Groups national community of Centres are proud to acknowledge World Breastfeeding Week with national accreditation status by the Australian Breastfeeding Association for the second year in a row.
“The journey to achieve and then maintain national accreditation by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) has been extremely positive for our employees, centre leadership teams and our enrolled families,” said Linda Carroll, Chief People Officer.
“We currently have more than 220 early education and childcare centres nationally and a community of more than 4000 female employees, along with more than 13,000 enrolled families.
“Our approach has always been breastfeeding friendly, but to achieve accreditation with the ABA we took a bespoke approach to review the facilities and practices in each centre in collaboration with their centre management teams. Adjustments were made to the environments and spaces set up at each centre, such as upgrading armchairs or providing privacy screens.
“Our national policies were also reviewed, updated to pass endorsement by the ABA and provided so that all centres operated by Affinity and each centre we add to our community have a consistent and supportive commitment to enabling breastfeeding, bottle feeding and pumping for our educators and parents.
“Of course, there is a lot more to enabling breastfeeding than the resources and policies – the most critical factor for us as an employer is ensuring our people feel genuinely supported when breastfeeding at work. We allow our team to choose between unpaid breaks or utilising paid carers leave in addition to their standard paid breaks so they can have as much time as they need during a working day to breastfeed their babies.”
Rikki Ekman returned to work with baby Tex who is now 5 months old and is working part time as an Assistant Centre Manager at Aussie Kindies Early Learning Stawell in Victoria.
“It made the return so much easier,” said Rikki. “Tex will take a bottle, but when I was on maternity leave, I explained to my Manager that I preferred to breastfeed, and we spoke about how it might look if he needed a feed while I was not working in the same room.”
“As part of the requirements of being a licenced early education provider, we need to maintain ratios at all times for the number of qualified people working in each room with children, so when Tex needs a feed, it requires my Manager or someone else to swap with me so I can go into the room and feed him, and they do it every time with a smile which I appreciate so much. It helps that he’s a 5-minute speed feeder!”