What is a Lactation Room?
Every lactation room must have the following essential features:
- An electric outlet
- A pleasant, quiet, clean, well-lighted environment
- A small table or desk
- A lockable door
- A comfortable chair
- A portable option and answer to the “we have no space!”
A BATHROOM AS A LACTATION ROOM?
A bathroom is not suitable space for an employee to express her milk. When a mother pumps breast milk for her baby, she is preparing food for her baby. As odd as it would be for us to prepare food for our families in a bathroom, it is just as unsuitable for a mother to prepare food for her baby in a lavatory.
HOW MANY ROOMS DO YOU NEED?
The following additional features can be productive, especially by reducing the amount of time women spend expressing milk:
- A bulletin board and wall art
- One or more electric breast pumps
- A sink
- A small refrigerator
A bulletin board where mothers can post pictures of their babies is inexpensive and of real value, since such pictures can trigger the natural mechanism that makes breast milk flow easier and faster. Most lactation rooms feature wall art, such as posters promoting breastfeeding. Anything that helps free the flow of milk, including a pleasant, quiet and soothing environment, means less time spent in the lactation room.Hospital-grade electric breast pumps express milk significantly faster than the small portable hand pumps women typically bring from home.
An electric pump in a lactation room can be a good investment. Employer-provided pumps may also be loaned to women for use in their own private offices, or in lactation rooms that have no electric pump or have fewer pumps than are sometimes needed.A small hand-washing sink can be a time-saving convenience, depending on the location of the nearest suitable lavatory. If provided, the sink must supply hot water. A small refrigerator is often provided in or near the lactation room, since bottled breast milk must be kept cold. A refrigerator isn’t always necessary, however. Sometimes workers already have convenient access to one, and sometimes women find that a cooler bag containing freezer packs is a simple alternative that continues to work during their commute home.