Letters to the Editor

Yes to the extension of maternity leave

Friday, November 29, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I am in agreement with the extension of maternity leave from 56 days to six months.

I was caught off guard when I started enquiring about maternity leave a couple of months ago only to find out that it was not three months, but only 56 days, which includes weekends and public holidays. As a result, a new mom has to head back to work when her baby is only two months old.

If she can afford it, she can apply for an additional month without pay. But how many moms can really afford to do this?

The Ministry of Health is promoting breastfeeding for up to six months old, and for that to be fully effective mothers will need to be able to spend more time at home with their newborn baby.

As a mother of a four-month-old baby girl, I find that the current maternity leave option is very limited. I received a Caesarean section, which takes a long time to heal. I also have a baby who doesn't sleep for extended periods in the night. Many times she is up from 2:00 am right back until 5:00 am when I need to start getting ready for work. This leaves me extremely tired and drained in the days. While this is not so for everyone, I am sure I am not the only new mother with this experience.

An extension of the maternity leave to six months will foster greater bonding, recuperation, and facilitate better breastfeeding for mom and baby.

I returned to work when my baby was three months and two weeks old. After the first week my baby was no longer interested in breastfeeding and expressing milk wasn't working out either, because the production became less. This ended my dream of breastfeeding my baby up to six months.

The authorities should give this matter careful consideration. I am not saying to give maternity leave for six months without pay, but please provide mothers with a better option, one that will benefit the baby, the mother, and even the workplace.

Shenny

sheneico@gmail.com


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