Evidence has shown that exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the optimal way of feeding infants, followed by complementary foods and continued breastfeeding until the age of two years or beyond. However, according to Riset Kesehatan Dasar (2010) only 15.3% of Indonesian babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. It is therefore vital that working mothers are given the opportunity to breastfeed or express their breast milk during working hours. This is reflected in Indonesian labour law, which obliges employers to provide opportunities and special facilities for working mothers to breastfeed during working hours.
Unfortunately, at present, there is a widespread misunderstanding of the benefits of workplace breastfeeding and employers are unaware of their legal obligations. As a result, enterprises are not complying with the law and they are confronted with high absenteeism due to the fact that employees must care for their sick children as well as high turnover rates of female staff following maternity leave. These issues are particularly critical in the garment industry as the sector is primarily composed of female employees.
In order to address these problems, BWI is collaborating with Asosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia/Indonesian Breastfeeding Mothers’ Association (AIMI) to assist factories in the Indonesian garment industry implement BFW policies. Introducing such policies will ensure that employers are in compliance with Indonesian labour law, secure the health of employees’ children and guarantee the loyalty and productivity of working mothers.