AXA story

AXA Debunked: Helen

Helen Rose 16x9

Myth #320 – You can’t return to work and keep breastfeeding 

At AXA, yes you can. 

I'm Helen Rose and I'm a Risk Business Partner in the AXA UK COO Risk team. 

I returned to work in June last year after having my second son, Oliver. I was fortunate to take a year for maternity leave and enjoyed every minute. But as my return-to-work date fast approached, I felt under pressure to wean my son off breastfeeding. I wasn't sure how I’d be able to keep feeding him if I couldn't express at work and didn't know what support or facilities would be available. 

I wanted to continue breastfeeding without feeling pressured to end the journey because I was coming back to the office. I’d heard of women stopping breastfeeding early (or sometimes not even starting in the first place) because of fears about returning to work and feeling they had no other option. What I, and other breastfeeding mums needed was a private and secure space where we’d feel comfortable to express milk and store it in a fridge until the end of the day. I wanted other mums to have the support and facilities to enable them to continue their feeding journey without impacting their career or their family choices, so I decided it was time to make a change.  

I was put in touch with a colleague in the Balance Network (one of our employee networks that supports gender equality and working families), and we set up a working group to look at how we could support nursing mums returning to work. So with the support of the Balance Network, Property teams and managers, we’ve created dedicated spaces across the AXA sites that are quiet and private with facilities for storing expressed milk. 

The support and collaboration has been amazing, and I feel extremely proud when I tell family and friends about all the good work we’ve been doing. Being a parent is daunting and overwhelming enough, so I’m really pleased we’ve been able to give breastfeeding mums one less thing to worry about. 

The culture at AXA is very supportive for working families, empowering women to continue with their feeding journey without compromising their career or family choices. Returning to work doesn't mean the end of your feeding journey. 


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