So much has changed since we first blogged about setting up a nursing mother's room. When we say changed, we mean cultural and legal expectations of companies to provide a private space for women to breast pump or nurse their babies if their job is a baby friendly environment. Especially now that so many people are working from home and companies have switched to a dual work flow for employees. Having a comfortable and private nursing mother's room makes it more attractive to be back in the office for women who are breastfeeding and breast pumping.
Let's take a refresher together of what you need to create a comfortable space:
1. A ventilated and spacious room that locks from the inside. In addition to the ominous broom closet being converted into a mother's room, having a space with no security and privacy is a red flag. Security features, including a code to enter the room, a lock and key, sign in sheet or a security guard nearby can keep and help women feel safe.
2. Comfortable furniture is a must have. Sure you can put a folding chair in the room but is it the right thing to do for a woman who has to use a breast pump? Nope! A comfortable chair and table to rest items are important.
3. Outlets are essential for moms to plug in their breast pump and cell phone.
4. Sinks are not required but can be extremely helpful to clean up. Moms may spill breast milk or need to clean up pumping pieces. If a sink is not placed in the room, at the very least, hand sanitizer, napkins and/or wipes is a good substitute.
5. Supportive materials are a plus to any nursing mother's room. Good practice includes posting a sign to:
- Remind women to keep the space clean,
- Contact information if there's a problem,
- Information about workplace policies for nursing mother's,
- Breastfeeding information,
- And words of encouragement!
6. Good lighting. Going back to the broom closet days. No woman wants to pump in a lowly lit or sketchy feeling space.
7. A hygienic space is essential to also keeping nursing mother's safe. The designated room should be cleaned daily and if possible cleaning supplies should be placed in the room so moms can clean up after themselves in case of a spill.