Architect promotes spaces for breastfeeding

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An architect is advocating for the creation of safe spaces in work places to facilitate breastfeeding.
Colin John Jenkins, a WELL Accredited Professional; meaning that he is accredited in creating and designing health and wellness spaces in the building industry, said that while the creation of these spaces would be ideal it must be considered on a “case by case basis and when possible, they should be considered.
“You can’t really say in a vacuum that it is easy to do because you haven’t really looked at the layout of the space but at the same time, you don’t need a lot of space.”
The architect said that the best practice is to have one wellness room for every 100 employees and that it is normally advised that the spaces are placed close to bathrooms or existing kitchens to have easier access to the needed plumbing.
“The smallest wellness room that you may end up having with all the amenities in it is seven feet by seven feet,” he added.
According to him, the main intent is to ensure the space is comfortable, clean and private.
Providing these spaces could ultimately serve to benefit the employer, John Jenkins said.
“If you have children that are not well, then by default the parent is not well… so if you have an opportunity to promote breastfeeding you give that infant a fighting chance against illnesses. In effect, you are helping yourself to keep persons in your business …”
Last week, Dr. Janelle Williams, a member of the National Breastfeeding Committee, said work places need to create safe spaces and increase breaks for mothers.
The World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment recommend that all babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. However, exclusive breastfeeding rates remain low globally and locally, according to the ministry.
 In Antigua and Barbuda, the government’s statistics show that at six weeks post-partum only 30 per cent of mothers are exclusively breastfeeding their infants.
They warn that this increases the risk of childhood diseases such as asthma, ear and respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes and diarrhea.
The Ministry of Health also noted that some mothers stop breastfeeding ahead of returning to work or shortly thereafter while others do not even attempt to breastfeed for fear of not being able to continue upon returning to work.

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