Mum Discouraged From Breastfeeding At Work Begins Her Own Business



The lack of support within her workplace in regards to breastfeeding has since turned into a positive for Waiuku mum, Briar Irwin, as she has since left her job and began her own home-based business.

Briar returned to work after the birth of her son Ethan, who was then three months old, and planned to breast feed him at her workplace. “When I told my employer I needed to express milk, she was very negative. She only let me do it because I told her it was my legal right.”

Briar was told to hide her equipment, and the only place made available for her was a lunch room, which was occupied by other workers. “When
I expressed it was referred to as doing ‘that thing.’ I felt I was doing
something unnatural and was asked at least five times when I was going to stop breastfeeding him.”

Two months later, Briar made the decision to leave her job and start her own home-based company importing baby clothes, named Express Baby. Inspired by the lack of ‘cool’ or ‘cute’ boys clothing that didn’t feature cars or trucks, Briar has created a business that sells affordable clothing with a look that is ‘different from anything else in stores.’ Although sometimes finding it hard to keep up with the prices of other big chain stores in Franklin, Briar believes she is doing well, with most of her outfits being under twenty dollars.

Once she had things underway, Briar noticed she had a large number of customers from around the local Franklin area, prompting her to add
a shipping option for free pick up in Waiuku. “It’s so cool to meet other parents and families in Franklin, and they really seem to enjoy the clothing that they purchase from our store, often sending through photos
of their kids wearing the items to our Facebook page.”

The lack of support for breastfeeding employees in New Zealand is reflected in the recent results of a study carried out by Employers and Manufacturers Association, revealing that more than one third of NZ employers are unaware of workplace breastfeeding legislation. Women’s Health Action Maternal Health Advisor, Isis McKay, says that “There is an urgent need to educate and support NZ businesses around the benefits
of breastfeeding in the workplace and employers’ legal responsibilities.”

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