3 minute read

Making our workplace breastfeeding friendly

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AGL Energy
27 October 2020
breastfeed-article-261020

Tara with her two children, Lily and Eden

AGL has been accredited as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace (BFW) for the past 11 years.

This year we’re pleased to not only been re-accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), but we have also achieved ‘Best Practice’ for our current BFW standards!

This achievement recognises how we continue to improve our workplace to provide our people with comfortable, accessible, and inclusive work environments.

Tara Yeeles, a Customer Service Representative in our Eastwood office, has been with AGL for almost seven years – and has had two children during her time here.

For Tara, breastfeeding has been extremely important for both her children in their early years. Here, she describes the positive changes she’s seen in AGL’s workplace over the years when it comes to being breastfeeding friendly – and how important it is for leaders and team members to be supportive.

Meet Tara

During my time at AGL, I have given birth to two beautiful children – my daughter Lily, four-years old, and my son Eden, who is just 10-months old.

The culture around breastfeeding has improved significantly since I had my first child in June 2016. Upon returning to work, it was still necessary for me to express milk for my then 10-month-old daughter, Lily. She was exclusively breastfed and could not drink formula due to allergies, which meant I needed to provide milk for her for the days I was working, and also maintain my milk supply.

My team leader was incredibly supportive, encouraging me to take the two additional breaks per day to express, but there were limited facilities available at the time. The nominated place was the first aid room – which was not always immediately available.

During this time, I worked closely with my leaders to provide feedback around the expectations of mothers returning to the workplace. I also worked diligently to educate expectant mothers on AGL’s Breastfeeding Policy, to ensure they knew what supports were available to them.

Since then, a lot has changed – and by the time I left for parental leave to have my second child, I had seen multiple mothers return to work feeling safe and supported to be able to continue their breastfeeding journey while being in the office.

AGL has since implemented a designated ‘family room’ at Eastwood, which is private and spacious, and is equipped with a fridge, a microwave, and a large comfortable chair. I have had the pleasure of using this room since I returned to the workforce in July 2020 and could not be more impressed.

My current team leader and team manager are very supportive of my breastfeeding journey, and my leader specifically advocates for me and my reserved time daily. I am so proud to be part of such an inclusive workplace, which not only recognises a person’s right to provide for her children, but actively supports and encourages it.

The only way that things will continue to progress is if returning parents and leaders feel comfortable to have conversations around lactation requirements, so that we can continue to break down the stigmas associated with breastfeeding.