What is a Lactation Room?
A lactation room is a private space to accommodate nursing mothers who need to pump milk during their work day. Photos of some lactation rooms are shown below. Click on any photo to see an enlarged version and more photos.
A lactation room can be as small as 4 X 5 feet. It rarely needs to be larger than 10 X 12 feet.
Every lactation room must have the following essential features:
The following additional features can be productive, especially by reducing the amount of time women spend expressing milk:
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.
How Many Rooms Do You Need?
A business with more than one site, or with a very large facility, may need more than one lactation room. Whatever the size of the business and the work force, a lactation program can almost always be easily and inexpensively integrated into the work place to accommodate the needs of new mothers and their employers.