11 August 2015

Paula Taylor: Breastfeeding is possible for working moms

Story by Heamakarn Sricharatchanya / Video and photos by Metee Thuentap

Bangkok, 11 August 2015 – To mark World Breastfeeding Week on 1-7 August 2015, UNICEF takes Paula Taylor, Friend of UNICEF, on a field visit to a factory of Marigot Jewellery (Thailand) Co. Ltd. in Bangpu Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan province. Marigot is one of the model workplaces that supports working mothers to breastfeed. Inside the factory, there is a breastfeeding room where staff can come to express breastmilk 2-3 times per day. Refrigerator is also provided so staff can store breastmilk that they collect. A nurse is there to help give advice to working mothers who have problems breastfeeding.

Kannika Senmukda, Human Resources manager, says encouraging staff to breastfeed brings benefits to the company. Mothers take fewer days off because their breastfed babies who are so healthy that they rarely have to see doctors. When children are healthy, mothers can work more efficiently. And this is reflected in the quality of work and their productivity.

Q&A with Paula Taylor
Q: How do you feel after visiting Marigot?
A: I think Marigot is a good example. Actually, all workplaces should support mothers to breastfeed like Marigot. At Marigot, there is a lactation room. The company also supports mothers to send breastmilk to their babies if they live in other provinces. Also, there is a nurse there who can give advice to mothers who are breastfeeding. They take a good care of their staff. I believe that if all workplaces support mothers like this, all babies will be healthy and happy.

Paula Taylor speaks with breastfeeding mothers at Marigot Jewellery.
© UNICEF Thailand/2015/Metee Thuentap
Q: Why do you breastfeed your baby?
A: I breastfeed because breastfeeding is the best. Breastmilk is produced uniquely by each mothers for their own babies. So our breastmilk is the food that is most suitable for our babies. No other milk formula can compare to breastmilk.

Q: In your opinion, is it possible for working mothers to breastfeed? What are the factors needed for mothers to breastfeed successfully?
A: Even though we are working mothers, I believe we can still breastfeed. This can be much easier if the mothers get support from friends, families and workplaces. For example, if working moms are given time to express, or if there is a refrigerator at the workplace to store breastmilk, that will be superb. For me, I always pump breastmilk when I am at work. Sometimes, I do it in the car, or at other places. Breastfeeding is possible or not really depends on the determination of the mothers. If we try, we can do it.

Q: What are your experiences in breastfeeding your children Lyla and Luca?
A: When I had Lyla, I was very new to the motherhood and did not succeed in breastfeeding. But when I have Luca, I am determined that I would breastfeed him. I have been through all of the obstacles, such as when I had no breastmilk, or when I didn’t know how to express it. But now I succeed all of those obstacles. Luca, who is almost 6-month old, is breastfed. And I plan to breastfeed him as long as I can.

Paula Taylor with her baby Luca, who has been breastfeeding since he was born.
© UNICEF Thailand/2015/Metee Thuentap
Q: For you, as a working mom who has to raise two children, do you think breastfeeding is very difficult?
A: Actually, collecting and storing breastmilk is not that easy. I mean, it’d be easy if there is a lactation room and a refrigerator to store breastmilk everywhere I go. But I have to go to work and be on the move. And many of those places do not support breastfeeding. Sometimes, I have to ask for a break to collect breastmilk. If I have to be out of the house for long, I have to prepare ice pack to store breastmilk. Sometimes, when I go to a restaurant, I ask them to help keep my breastmilk in the fridge. My last resource is to call a cab or a messenger to take the breastmilk home. I just have to try every single way to make it work.
But I am lucky because I get support from family and friends. Sometimes, my friends help bring breastmilk home. Sometimes when there is no place for me to pump, my friends help  to cover me with some cloths.

Q: Any last message to encourage moms to breastfeed?
A: I would like to encourage all mothers to breastfeed because breastfeeding is best for babies. There is no other substitute that is better than breastmilk. It helps babies to grow, be healthy and clever. It is also a way to build bonding between mothers and babies.
I would also like to encourage fathers, families, and workplaces to support breastfeeding mothers. All mothers can breastfeed if we get support from people around us.


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