Massachusetts doesn't (yet!) have a law requiring employers to accommodate breastfeeding employees, so part of the job is persuading people in leadership positions that this is a good idea. I've noticed that sometimes it helps so show what other institutions are doing - it shows that this is considered important by peer institutions.
So I did a little online digging to learn about lactation programs on large public university campuses. What I found was really encouraging.
Lots of campuses offer places for mothers to pump. Some are centrally organized, with online room scheduling and breastfeeding support on campus. One even has a listserv to connect pumping mothers. Some are a patchwork of spaces, with different rules for how they're used. Many campuses provide hospital grade pumps in their pumping rooms, and some offer free or discounted pumping kits.
Here are a few examples:
- University of California, Davis: 26 pumping locations, each with a hospital grade pump. Support group and breastfeeding clinic on campus
- Ohio State University: 12 locations, all new construction plans will include lactation space
- University of Washington: 8 pumping locations, hospital grade pumps in each
To see more examples, including links to the program websites, here's a link to the chart (Word doc) I made with what I found. I was looking for institutions comparable with the University of Massachusetts, so it doesn't include any information on smaller colleges or universities. Feel free to use it to advocate for lactation accommodations on your campus! And here's a great free toolkit from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to get the conversation started.
Do you work or study on a college or university campus? Leave a comment telling us how it works for you!