Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 5, pp 381–383 | Cite as

Public Policy and Breast-feeding: A Straightforward and Significant Solution

  • Jody HeymannEmail author
  • Michael S. Kramer


Ensuring working mothers’ ability to breast-feed is crucial given that breast-feeding substantially reduces infant morbidity and mortality while promoting maternal health. Working conditions, rules on the job, supervisors and co-workers can all raise or lower barriers to breast-feeding. Around the world, 127 countries guarantee working women the right to breast-feed. Canada does not provide this assurance, despite the fact that the majority of infants are born to women in the labour force. This has profound implications for the health of infants and mothers alike. Solutions exist: extending current policies to ensure adequate maternity leave is available for all Canadians, legislating a right to breast-feed while working, and adapting workplaces to make this practical.

Key words

Breast-feeding infant welfare maternal welfare 


Assurer aux mères qui travaillent la capacité d’allaiter est d’une importance cruciale, notamment du fait que l’allaitement maternel réduit la morbidité et la mortalité infantile tout en promouvant la santé maternelle. Les conditions de travail, les règles de travail, les superviseurs, ainsi que les collègues peuvent soit augmenter, soit diminuer les obstacles à l’allaitement maternel. Dans le monde, 127 pays garantissent le droit d’allaiter aux femmes qui travaillent. Le Canada ne fournit pas une telle assurance, malgré le fait que la majorité des enfants naissent de femmes se trouvant sur le marché du travail. Cette situation a de graves conséquences pour la santé des nourrissons et celle de leurs mères. Des solutions existent: étendre les politiques actuelles pour offrir un congé de maternité à toutes les Canadiennes, légiférer le droit maternel d’allaiter au travail, et adapter les lieux de travail à l’allaitement maternel.

Mots clés

Allaitement bien-être infantile bien-être maternel 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social PolicyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational HealthMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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