Building a Breastfeeding Location
There are various types of lactation spaces an employer can provide in the workplace. Whatever model is chosen to best suit your business type, there are certain requirements that must be met. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers must provide a space which is:
- Functional for expressing milk, at a minimum a chair is provided as well as a flat surface for breast pump
- A space which is not a bathroom, shielded from view or intrusion by the public or coworkers
- Freely available whenever a mother needs to pump or express milk
Types of locations suitable for breastfeeding
Depending on your type of business, some lactation spaces may be more doable than others. It is important to note that employers do not have to provide a permanent fixed lactation space; temporary spaces can be easily designed. Listed below are suggestions on possible breastfeeding locations. Visit our resource page for more in depth lactation space ideas.
Employee Breakroom/Lounge – This may be a viable option of the door locks from inside or a clear signage can be placed outside the room to provide privacy while breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk. Employees could screen off a section of the room if the break space is large.
Office/Conference room – This may be an option if the room can be booked at consistent times to meet employee needs. Supervisors and employees should work together to coordinate meeting schedules. Clear and obvious signage should be placed outside the door if the room cannot be locked internally.
Cubicle/Partitioned Area – Dividers or partitions can be placed within a cubicle or other small space to create a private area. Curtains may also be placed at the cubicle or partition’s opening to ensure privacy in addition to clear and obvious signage that breastfeeding or pumping is taking place.
Dressing room – A dressing room may fit the needs of mom if a chair and shelf may be placed within, in addition to clear and obvious signage indicating the room is in use to breastfeed or pump milk.
Converted Closet/Storage Area – Should be well ventilated, well lit, and free of chemical products.
Pop-up Tent – In some situations, a camping or beach style tent can accommodate mom as long as they can stand up in the tent, the tent is private, and there is room for a chair and flat surface to place their pump upon. Clear and obvious signage indicating the tent is in use to breastfeed or pump milk should be included.
Spruce it up!
While the basic requirements of a lactation space are a 4’ x 4’ room, a chair and flat surface – such as a table, desk, or shelf. Some employers go above and beyond to make the space more comfortable. Ideas to spruce up your lactation space include, but are not limited to:
- Sink for washing breast pump equipment and hand washing
- Refrigerator/freezer to store expressed milk
- Mirror for clothing readjustment purposes
- Decorations, such as wall art, posters or a place to hang a picture of the employee’s infant