3 Months Maternity Leave versus 6 Months Exclusive Breast feeding

Pregnancy, child birth and the nursing period is a stage in life almost every career mother will always fancy and adore. The bringing to life of a human being is most cherished when the mother has ample time nursing the baby. The first and second trimester after birth is a time when physical bonding starts between mother and baby, even though spiritual bonding starts from inside the womb.

However, the Labour Law stipulates that a career mother has only twelve (12) weeks or three (3) calendar months to spend with her new baby, and in the case of multiple birth, a further two (2) weeks is added before resuming full duties.  The twelve weeks actually starts from two (2) weeks before birth, so in actual sense, the mother has ten (10) weeks to spend fully with her new baby.  This law contradicts the World Health Organization’s policy initiative advocating for six (6) months of exclusive breastfeeding.
In some organizations, the mother is given a nine-month nursing period during which time she close from work two hours earlier than the normal working hours.  Sometimes this opportunity is of no benefit as the nursing mother gets home rather late due to heavy road traffic. Some nursing mothers, in order to have enough time for their babies, have no other option than to accumulate their annual leave pending this special time. 

In my own case, I was compelled to introduce infant foods to my babies when they were five months-two weeks and five months respectively, even though I had promised myself to carry out an exclusive breastfeeding.  Once I had to visit a medical facility because my baby refused suckling after my breast had become hardened as a result of milk accumulation.

Research indicate that exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months after birth provides such benefits as provision of readily available food, cutting down cost on purchase of baby foods, reducing bacterial and fungal infection, boosting the immune system of the new baby and no need of sterilizing the breast.   

I felt burning sensation when using this pump
On the contrary, nursing mothers who resume duty after twelve weeks resort to all forms of assistance such as expressing the breast milk with a manual or electric pump, introducing infant foods to the baby, sending her to the crèche, carrying them in cradle to the office and sometimes seeking the help of a nanny who has to be paid.

A lot of infant mortality cases have been associated with poor breastfeeding habits, and the issue of maternity leave always come to play when issues of this nature is being discussed.  I will therefore appeal to the various stakeholders to consider revising the period of maternity leave from three months to six months and the nursing period from nine months to six months to afford nursing mothers the opportunity to carry out the exclusive breast feeding programme.


  1. Agreed, after birth, women suffer a lot, breast feeding, washing babies cloth, and the hardest one is the husband clothes as well, after all night wake-keeping. if the mother are giving such months it will help the baby to be strong and also by reducing bacterial and fungal infection and boosting the immune system of the new baby and no need of sterilizing the breast.

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