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Breaking Down Barriers: How Lactation Rooms Empower Students and Faculty

Scrolling through LinkedIn recently, looking for lactation-related topics, I was SO pleasantly surprised to see my nursing school alma mater, Grand Rapids Community College, is offering not one, but FOUR lactation rooms for their staff and students.  When I attended GRCC, I was an older returning student, and a single mom. Because of my experience, I have come to appreciate the impact that clean, private, and accessible space to pump or nurse is for lactating folks in an academic and work setting.  A recent study published in the International Journal of Breastfeeding showed that lactating people “who were exposed to the high-quality lactation rooms anticipated less stress, more positive thoughts and feelings about milk expression at work, more perceived organizational support, and more subjective well-being than mothers exposed to the low-quality lactation room” (Van Dellen, et.al, 2022). The study also found that lactating people who had access to clean and quality lactating rooms also felt as if they had more control over their breastfeeding journey, and had greater overall well being.


The Lactation Rooms at GRCC are compliant with the new federal laws and are easily accessible campus wide. The four rooms all include locked access, a mini-fridge, outlets, chairs and a sink. GRCC also proudly and loudly advertises these rooms their website for "Pregnancy Support Resources", including photos of each room, instructions on access the rooms, and troubleshooting and scheduling FAQs. Amazing and proactive move there! Bonus.. I also LOVE the motto on the website… “Let us help remove barriers to basic needs”. Check out their site here.


Most importantly, the addition of these Lactation Rooms is a “move the needle” kind of initiative that raises up and brings awareness to the importance of maternal and infant health, breastfeeding and lactation support, postpartum health, and inclusion of lactating folks in the workplace.  I am so thrilled and proud to be associated with GRCC!  

 

Well done, GRCC!



Van Dellen, et. Al, 2022. Effects of lactation room quality on working mothers' feelings and thoughts related to breastfeeding and work: a randomized controlled trial and a field experiment. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35945573/#:~:text=Results%3A%20The%20online%20study%20showed,room%20(p%20%3C%200.05).

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