A Lactation Room is a dedicated private room other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and interruption from the public, which is used by nursing mothers to express breast milk by breastfeeding or breastpumping. (Also often called a "Nursing Room", "Nursing Mothers Room", or "Breastfeeding Room")
Setting up a lactation room in a general working environment is quite simple and easy. The basic prerequisite is an appropriate space set aside solely for lactating mothers (breast pumping or breastfeeding) and shielded from public view (meaning door must be lockable and any windows must have curtains or blinds). This space can be newly built or previously existing space converted and repurposed as a lactation room.
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide Reasonable Break Time for Working mothers. This includes providing the appropriate space and amenities to help them express breast milk when needed. Here is the lactation room setup guide.
- Comfortable seating (padded chairs are recommended)
- Outlet to connect electric breast pump
- Sink inside or nearby for cleaning nursing equipment after expressing breast milk
- Lockable door (for privacy)
Electric Breast Pumps (for larger organizations, colleges and universities)
While moms are encouraged to have their own backup manual breast pumps or connecting accessories for electric pumps, a quality electric breast pump is generally more effective for expressing breast milk and maintaining a mother's milk supply than a manual pump.
Mothers who maintain their milk supply tend to breastfeed longer than mothers who begin supplementing their baby's diet with infant formula.
Employees (staff and students in case of colleges/universities) can share an electric breast pump by staggering their break schedules. If you have more than 200 employees, consider purchasing more than one pump. A quality electric breast pump will last for years and is an excellent investment.
Double pumping kits compatible with the electric breast pump for breastfeeding employees.
A double versus a single pumping kit attaches to the electric pump, and allows mothers to express milk from both breasts at the same time. This is time efficient as it shortens the amount of break time needed for expressing breast milk. Pump kits are intended for one user, and are not shared, or returned.
A small refrigerator or ice chest
For mothers to store their breast milk separate from the employees refrigerator. If the employee is away from home, her milk is best kept cool. Employees may be more comfortable storing their breast milk separate from the employee refrigerator.
A clean sink
(If an existing sink is not close to the employees work area) for washing bottles and pumping equipment.
Pleasant decorations for the room
Great parts of lactation room design include bulletin board for employees to display pictures of their babies, and a audio player for relaxing music. A comfortable relaxing atmosphere encourages "let down" which is necessary for milk flow.
A footstool or ottoman
This can provide additional comfort, particularly for women of short stature.
A disposal bin
- Sanitary wipes
Nursing Room Upgrade Proposal Template for Universities
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- Designated Nursing Room Sign (8X10 poster) for doors and offices (Lactation Room Signage).
Avoid creating a lactation space that can only be accessed through bathrooms or locker rooms.
Make clear access to the electric outlet.
- Provide a microwave to sterilize breast pump parts.