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Students, agencies develop nursing room guide for employers

Three agencies, supported by Ngee Ann Polytechnic students, have come together to produce a guide on how having nursing room facilities for breastfeeding mothers can benefit employers.

SINGAPORE: Having a small office space does not mean that a company cannot provide a nursing room for breastfeeding mothers.

Three agencies have come together to produce a guide on how having such facilities can benefit employers.

The guide is part of an initiative by NTUC U Family -- NTUC's family development unit -- the Health Promotion Board and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

In the guide, targeted for release in the third quarter of 2014, employers can get ideas of how lactation facilities are implemented in other workplaces.

In support of the initiative, students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic took part in a competition, the “Most Innovative Nursing System” design contest, to design a temporary nursing room space.

The space should be inexpensive, easy to set up and environmentally-friendly. The designs of the top three winning teams will be incorporated in the guide.

Tu Kaili, Ngee Ann Polytechnic student and member of the winning team, said: "Our idea is inspired by origami.

“Since office space is limited, we wanted to design a private space for the mothers that is adjustable to different surroundings. Our room can be folded and spread, it is also easy to carry."

Toh Hwee Tin, director of NTUC U Family, said: "There is really a lack of floor area, because most of the places are already maxed out.

“So they are unable to give exclusive lactation rooms but again, we want to raise awareness that lactation rooms need not be costly to set up or exclusive, it can be shared space.

“It could be easy ideas like what the students have done today, where they can just have a pop-up room, and we are hoping for such ideas to come about.

“Or for example, we are also looking at building owners to see whether building owners can, in fact, build common lactation rooms for the tenants and employees in that office space."

To help employers and building owners, NTUC U Family also called for the authorities to provide more assistance, such as by extending nursing room funding to building owners.

Currently, only employers are eligible for co-funding of lactation facilities in the company under the Work-Life Developmental Grant. 

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