Staff Reporter

KOCHI: While the government promotes Breastfeeding Week every August, in matters that need to be practically implemented, the six-month maternity leave is yet to come into force for all working women.

It is not only the government but also the private sector that should implement it, said Sachidananda Kamath, the district president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, which is involved in promoting breastfeeding week along with the National Rural Health Mission.

Along with Kerala, a couple of other States like Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra have implemented maternity benefit rules for government employees.

In fact, women can take leave for over a year to nurse the child, said D. Sreedevi, chairperson of the State Women’s Commission.

However, working women in the private sector continue to struggle between child rearing and work schedules. Paediatricians recommend that the baby should only be breastfed for the first six months. But, with working women required to report for duty after 12 weeks of leave, babies need to be started on other foods like powdered milk and semi-solids just after three months.