Being a nursing mom is very rewarding, but it can certainly be difficult, especially while in a workplace setting. Some schools and workplaces have nursing or lactation rooms that make things a little easier on nursing moms! Here are a few ideas for how your workplace can create a nursing room for employees that are breastfeeding their child. The initial setup is fairly simple, but the benefits are many:
- Communicate with your boss and/or human resources about your need for a nursing room and how this addition will benefit employees and the workplace as a whole.
- Find as comfortable and private a space as you can. Nursing rooms cannot be in restrooms as this does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
- The door should have a lock on it. For additional privacy, include a sign that identifies the room as a nursing or lactation room and if it is in use or vacant.
- A comfortable, cleanable (vinyl) chair and small table are ideal furnishings. Consider including a small lamp to make things cozier and comfortable, cleanable pillows for nursing (or bring your own pillowcase).
- If possible, it is helpful if the room has a sink for washing hands and breast pump supplies.
- A small refrigerator is ideal for moms who need to pump and need to store breast milk.
- Music can help mom and baby relax.
- Other useful items could include: sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and a monitored bulletin board to display usage schedules, words of encouragement, and informational resources.
Talk to other nursing moms and ask them what they personally would find helpful in a dedicated nursing room! While setting one up doesn’t usually require a lot of space or resources, a room reserved especially for nursing moms and their babies is an often overlooked but essential part of supporting employees.
By Kathryn Pluta