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Following World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF Indonesia urges companies to be "baby friendly"

"Baby-friendly" business initiative is launched today !

JAKARTA, 9 August 2010 – Building on the momentum to World Breastfeeding Week, which ended on Sunday, UNICEF Indonesia is encouraging the private sector to be “baby-friendly” by making breastfeeding easier for mothers in the workplace.

“One of the main contributing factors to poor child nutrition, growth and development in Indonesia is the alarmingly low rate of exclusive breastfeeding practiced by mothers for the first six months after giving birth,” explained UNICEF Representative in Indonesia Angela Kearney.

“If we are to improve the health of Indonesia’s children then we must find ways of helping women who can breastfeed to do so – and that includes in their places of work,” she added. “The Government of Indonesia has already made recommendations for companies to support breastfeeding through an Inter-Ministerial Decree in 2008; but these recommendations must be put into practice by businesses.”

UNICEF is promoting four main standards that companies should strive to achieve in helping mothers breastfeed; (1) supporting mothers-to-be, (2) welcoming mothers back to work, (3) enabling mothers to breastfeed with dignity, and (4) championing breastfeeding as the best start to life.

To achieve these standards, UNICEF has set out a series of simple measures that companies can introduce:

  • Ensuring that female employees receive at least 14 weeks paid maternity leave, including six weeks compulsory maternity leave after childbirth, in line with international standards.
  • Guaranteeing that any female employee may return to her position after maternity leave, without any impact on her salary or status within the company.
  • Providing sufficient paid nursing breaks for mothers to feed their infant with breast milk or express their breast milk during the working day and
  • Providing hygienic facilities in the workplace to allow mothers to breastfeed where they feel most comfortable, with access to clean water and storage spaces for milk.
  • Committing to prevent in the workplace the promotion, marketing or distribution of free samples of any breast milk substitutes (such as infant formula), pacifiers or other products which discourage mothers from breastfeeding and
  • Making sure that all their staff have access to information on the facilities and opportunities available to them to practice breastfeeding in the workplace.

“Currently, less than one-third of infants are exclusively breastfed in Indonesia – despite medical evidence that breastfeeding strengthens an infant’s immune system, reducing the risk of disease, and helps enhance physical and mental development,” said Ms. Kearney.

UNICEF believes that low rates of breastfeeding are exacerbated by the lack of regulation of the marketing and promotion of infant formula and other breast-milk substitutes in Indonesia, which many countries control through the International Code of Marketing of

Breast-milk Substitutes. Indonesia has yet to adopt the Code, nearly 30 years after it was established by the World Health Assembly. However, currently the government is drafting a national regulation that controls promotion of Breastmilk substitutes in health facilities by health workers. The 2009 Health Law includes provisions supporting exclusive breastfeeding. Amongst other provisions, the Code stipulates that infant formula and similar products should not be advertised, free samples should not be provided to pregnant women, and incentives should not be provided by manufacturers to health workers.

UNICEF is also promoting good breastfeeding practices through a partnership with InMobi, a fast growing global advertising agency specialising in cell phone media. Through the partnerships, 15 websites regularly accessed by cell phone users starting today will carry special banner advertisements promoting breastfeeding and directing users to more information on baby-friendly practices.

For more information on the Baby-Friendly Business initiative, companies should contact Regi Wirawan at UNICEF Indonesia on +62 (0)21 2996 8142 or by email to





Related links

Download and share this leaflet Be Baby Friendly Business - Everyone Benefits!

Take part in a poll and let us know if your company supports breastfeeding in the workplace.

Watch a video on the importance of breastfeeding.




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