What Makes a Great Lactation Space?

By California law, all employers must provide a reasonable amount of break time and provide a private space other than a toilet stall, close to the employee’s work area, to accommodate an employee desiring to express breastmilk.

In creating their breastfeeding room, The Contra Costa Child Care Council has gone far above and beyond these requirements. They’ve created a lovely space for staff, clients, and visitors to breastfeed in privacy and comfort.

The room includes:

  1. A door that closes and locks from the inside
  2. A CD Player for soft, relaxing music
  3. Comfortable places to sit and nurse
  4. A mini-fridge for storing expressed breastmilk
  5. A sign on the door that marks this room as a lactation space (not shown).

Not every lactation space needs to have all of these things, but the additions go a long towards making nursing staff and clients feel welcomed and accommodated.

Human Resources Director of the Child Care Council Cindy McMurry said that the decision to create the lactation space was an easy one, especially since the room wasn’t being used for anything else. For other organizations who want to create a breastfeeding-friendly space, she recommends asking mothers who are currently nursing what they would need to feel comfortable expressing breastmilk there. “We happened to have a staff member who was breastfeeding her baby while we were working to set up the room, and she had a lot of great ideas and tips that we might not have thought of otherwise. There is plenty of information about lactation spaces online, but the advice from mothers who will actually be using the space was the most useful.”

We understand that organizational policy change isn’t always so easy though. That’s why Healthy & Active Before 5, through our Pledge the Practice, Pass the Policy Initiative, provides technical assistance and $500 mini-grants to agencies that pass new healthy policies, like a Breastfeeding Accommodation Policy. The mini-grant funds could be used to buy supplies for a new lactation space or other supplies for nursing mothers. See what other organizations have done with their mini-grants on our Policy Library, and if you’re interested in creating your own healthy policy, learn how to apply here!