Feeling underappreciated by your employer as you pump in a closet next to the internet router? Tired of wasting time walking back and forth to your car looking for privacy? Fed up with apologizing for taking time to pump at work for your little one?
Why don’t employers understand that investing in a well-appointed lactation room is investing not only in the health of their female employees and children, but also their own bottom-line? And what even defines a "well-appointed" lactation room to begin with? We're glad you asked. If your company's designated pumping room is truly up to par, it will include these 10 things:
1. Basic amenities are a must.
A lactation room needs to be equipped with the necessary practical amenities including a sink for cleaning supplies, microwave for quick sterilization of pump attachments, and a small refrigerator for milk storage.
2. The door should lock.
A lock on the door is a must and a sign on the door identifying it as a Lactation Room is ideal too — don’t think this one requires any explanation!
3. It shouldn't feel like a closet — or literally be one.
The space should provide complete individual privacy without feeling confined, and if square footage allows, include a communal space for moms who want the company of other mothers while pumping.
4. The furniture needs to be ergonomic.
The furniture needs to be ergonomically designed for mothers to pump comfortably. A chair that is ideal for pumping is designed differently from a chair that is ideal for breastfeeding- think spacious with good back support.
5. It should be practical without feeling overly sterile.
Select furniture that is easily cleaned from accidental spills (moms, you know what we mean) while maintaining a sophisticated ambiance. TO ALL MEN: women care about ambiance!!! And nobody enjoys the feel of a dialysis clinic!
6. Privacy inside the room matters, too.
Design an appropriate room layout to ensure mothers can pump comfortably and efficiently while maintaining complete privacy. Ensure mothers can access the shared amenities (sink, fridge etc.) without compromising the privacy of others.
7. Providing pumping accessories is a definite plus.
Provide the necessary hospital grade pump and pumping accessories (pump attachments, bags, pads, etc.) so moms don’t have to have to pack and schlep a suitcase with pumping supplies to work every day!
8. There should be storage.
Provide individual locked storage space for pumping accessories/personal items so mothers can safely leave their personal belongings, once again stressing importance of Step #7.
9. Moms need to be able to book the room with ease.
Create an on-line booking system for moms to reserve their time-slot in the room.
10. Peace should be prioritized.
Apply finishing touches to make the room feel sophisticated yet comfortable. A space that invites breastfeeding mothers to decompress and recharge, allowing them to return to their work feeling energized, appreciated and highly productive.
Ladies, you deserve this! That's what we believe at Togethernest, where our design team and board-certified lactation consultants create lactation rooms that are both functional and stylish, all while addressing the true needs of working moms. Sounds like a dream, right? Not only can rooms like this be your company's reality, but the law is actually on your side — learn more at www.togethernestcompany.com!
Chaya Lighten MHA, RPA-C, IBCLC and Marninah Hersh BSN, IBCLC, ICCE are owners of Lactation Central LLC, a lactation consulting private practice in Central New Jersey. They also are co-founders of TOGETHERNEST, a start-up company focused on giving working mothers the tools they need to seamlessly transition back to work after maternity leave. TOGETHERNEST addresses the practical needs of working mothers including lactation room design and a Welcome Back Mom wellness program. As well, their corporate consulting program advises companies on how to create an inclusive and supportive work environment for working mothers. They are on a mission to revolutionize the pumping experience for women at work and to create an understanding in the corporate world that supporting breastfeeding is good for business!