Cultivating Inclusivity: Empowering Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace


I work two full-time jobs. And I love them both.

I love being a mum to my son, and I love seeing him grow, and I love being there every step of the way (even taking him along to workshops).


I love the work that I do as a speaker, educator, coach, and consultant. I love that I’m able to touch people’s lives, and I love that I’m able to help make a difference, and I ADORE that I get to help people on their journey to becoming Upstanders.


I am proud of being a working mother. And as a working mother, I have recently realised the importance and lack of facilities for breastfeeding and baby change facilities in workplaces and venues across Australia.


In this blog post I am going to be sharing observations on providing inclusivity, on nurturing an inclusive workplace culture, on empowering breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, and in celebrating women in every role they play.

And, as always, it is on the importance of being an Upstander, and standing up for the rights of people in order to nurture a healthy work environment.

The Importance of Inclusivity

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern work environments, the concept of an inclusive workplace has taken centre stage, championing the diverse needs of employees as a strategic advantage for organisations. 

As Upstanders, we must strive to uphold the three E’s: ethics, empathy, and equality. Empathy is about being thoughtful and supportive. Ethics are the values that define who we are. Equality is about giving people chances, choices, and opportunities, no matter who they are.


And in championing inclusivity, we embed the three E’s in our company culture and community DNA. We create a community of Upstanders.


By providing a safe space for breastfeeding mothers, advocating for flexible scheduling, and fostering a supportive environment, many employers are setting an exemplary standard for inclusive practices. 


The act of breastfeeding is a fundamental aspect of motherhood, and supporting women on this journey while they pursue their professional commitments underscores the essence of an inclusive workplace. This forward-thinking initiative demonstrates a commitment to empowering employees to excel both in their personal and professional lives.

Inclusivity and Empowerment Through a Legal Lens

In Australia, laws have been established to safeguard the rights of breastfeeding employees in the workplace. 


The Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 and the Fair Work Act of 2009 serve as cornerstones of these protections. These laws prohibit discrimination based on breastfeeding and grant employees the right to request flexible work arrangements to accommodate their caregiving responsibilities.


It is imperative for workplaces to uphold these legal safeguards. Supporting breastfeeding employees not only aligns with principles of equality and human rights, but it also promotes a positive work environment. 

Inclusive Practices in the Workplace

There are a number of inclusive practices and approaches that employers can use, to ensure support for breastfeeding employees. These approaches can be in the form of policy changes, creating private spaces to accommodate breastfeeding women, giving them the option of flexible timings, offering other unique options and alternatives to suit their situation, and providing training and awareness initiatives in order to break down the stigma surrounding breastfeeding women in the workplace.

Policy Changes

One of the essential components of becoming a breastfeeding-friendly workplace is the establishment of supportive corporate policies. These policies lay the groundwork for addressing the unique needs of breastfeeding women, creating an atmosphere where these employees are not only accommodated but also empowered to thrive. This approach encourages an environment where barriers are dismantled, and inclusivity is the bedrock of the organisational culture.


Private Spaces

The provision of designated private spaces for breastfeeding or expressing milk is paramount. These spaces, distinct from repurposed restrooms, are a tangible testament to an organisation’s respect for the privacy and dignity of breastfeeding mothers. This inclusive practice ensures that nursing mothers can confidently prioritise their maternal responsibilities without compromising their professional roles.


Flexible Timings

Flexibility in scheduling is yet another cornerstone of an inclusive workplace, particularly when it comes to supporting breastfeeding mothers. Allowing employees to adjust their work hours to accommodate milk expression sessions underscores the organisation’s awareness of the challenges faced by working mothers. By granting this flexibility, employers empower mothers to strike a harmonious balance between their home responsibilities and contributions to the workforce.


Providing Options

Diverse pathways for returning to work after maternity leave also contribute to an inclusive environment. This approach acknowledges that individual circumstances vary and offers a range of options, including remote work, part-time arrangements, bringing the baby along, or extended maternity leave. This flexibility empowers mothers to make choices that align with their personal needs and aspirations.


Training and Awareness

Taking an all-encompassing approach, proactive conversations, training, and awareness initiatives are instrumental in fostering inclusivity. By openly discussing breastfeeding and providing education, organisations can break down stigma and cultivate a culture of support. These efforts signify a commitment to nurturing a workplace where working mothers feel valued and respected.

In conclusion, the commendable efforts to create an inclusive workplace that empowers breastfeeding mothers set an inspiring example for organisations everywhere. By prioritising the needs of working mothers through supportive policies, dedicated spaces, flexible scheduling, and awareness initiatives, this employer is fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowerment. As we look to the future, let us celebrate and replicate these initiatives, ensuring that every workplace becomes a space where all employees can thrive, regardless of their unique journeys.

For more information on how to nurture and reset your workplace culture check out