Pregnancy is a special time for mothers. For almost nine months baby has grown inside you, then suddenly… the miracle of birth occurs. You bring new life into the world.
Nothing can really prepare parents or caregivers for this moment, but Claudia Aguilar, mum to Isabella and Daniella, and Brand and Innovation Manager, does have a few wise words: "My best advice for new parents to be is, 'Just relax and breathe!'"
The first 1000 days are vital
Before birth, it is vital to lay the right foundations during the first 1,000 days of life – from the start of pregnancy to a child's second birthday. We know that this is a unique window of opportunity for a child’s optimum health, growth and neurodevelopment.
"You want to build a solid house – you need strong foundations. The first thousand days are as critical as the foundations of the house," says Thierry Philardeau, Head of Nestlé’s Nutrition Strategic Business Unit.
Mums to be need to be able to make the right food choices, get enough sleep and exercise in the right way – to nurture themselves and the baby before they give birth.
Making it easier to breastfeed
Once your child is born, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life, followed by sustained breastfeeding alongside complementary foods until two years and beyond.
Nestlé is committed to supporting the WHO recommendation on breastfeeding, to help ensure that mother and baby both get the healthiest possible start in life.
"We start with our people and we say, 'Breastfeeding is best for babies'. So let’s make it simple for our people to breastfeed," Thierry Philardeau says.
Nestlé does all it can to foster a supportive environment, through strong maternal safeguards and help for all our employees to care for their children.
Maternity protection policy
The policy gives all our employees – as primary caregivers of newborn babies, including male employees and adoptive parents – a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their maternity leave up to six months.
The policy includes employment protection, flexible working arrangements and access to 339 breastfeeding rooms worldwide, in our workplaces.
Modern breastfeeding rooms
For example, our Indochina head office in Bangkok has a modern breastfeeding room with three comfortable chairs where mothers can feed their children, a television, a fridge where mothers can store milk and a sink.
Nestlé South Africa has an onsite crèche with a nurse, where mums can leave infants. Mum gets a text message when her baby is hungry, so she can feed him or her. If she is expressing milk, she can leave her milk at the crèche each morning for her baby.
Indeed, many of our markets go beyond our Maternity Policy and offer additional benefits like childcare, medical support, breast pumps and reduced working hours.
Motherhood is a special time, but for some, it can be frustrating and challenging. Mums need the right support network that includes their employer, as well as family and friends.
Despite the challenges, the joy and satisfaction that motherhood brings makes everything seem worthwhile.
"You give birth, you give life to someone else and the joy this brings is just amazing," Cristina Macina says.