Beijing has introduced 200 mothers’ rooms in businesses, which can be used by nursing mothers who need a private place to express breast milk in the workplace, the Beijing News reports.
The Beijing Federation of Trade Unions announced yesterday that these 200 rooms were only the first phase of its plans.
A second phase of providing mothers' rooms was already underway, and eventually the union hopes to have provided up to 1,000 mothers’ rooms within three years.
A survey two months ago by the China Social Assistance Foundation found that only 7 per cent of working mothers were still breastfeeding and had access to a mothers’ room at work.
Of the mothers in the survey that did not have access to such a room, 53 per cent used temporary places, such as offices, storage rooms or conference rooms, while 47 per cent had to use a toilet to pump breast milk.
All the women in the survey said they found it very difficult to find such room in public premises.
The federation said it had found that an increasing number of mothers were breastfeeding their young, but working mothers who continued to nurse their children did not have suitable places where they could pump milk or a refrigerator that could be used for storing the expressed milk.
A quarter of women working at China Construction Bank’s Ditan branch had visited its mother’s room since it was opened in July, said the bank’s trade union.
The room had become not only a place for new mothers to rest, but also for other female staff to check on pregnancy information.
The federation has requested that all trade unions consider providing a place that is private and clean, which can be used as a mothers’ room.
It should have at least two tables, two chairs, a power socket for operating and electric pump and a refrigerator. The federation has also encouraged unions to provide a microwave oven, steriliser and a storage place for milk.
It has asked all companies that have meet these mothers’ room requirements to apply to be part of its online project.
All these companies will receive an official mothers’ room plaque, plus curtains, a magazine display rack, and complimentary supplies of wet swipes.