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Some employers with limited space for nursing mothers partner with nearby businesses willing to share their space. In some cases, businesses work with a building landlord to create space that is shared by all businesses housed in the same building. Shared space with other businesses is also a solution for employees who travel, such as those who drive a taxi, truck, or bus. Employees who travel to a nearby business to express milk may need extra break time to accommodate travel time.
The Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership in Harlem, New York opened a private space for nursing women in their office area. They offered the space to others who work in their building and to neighborhood businesses with limited space for nursing moms.
Local faith-based organizations often have education rooms and nursery areas that may be vacant through the week.
Many hospitals provide milk expression rooms for employees, physicians, and visitors. They might have single or multi-user rooms available for women who work in nearby businesses.
Local hotels often have space in an empty guest room, conference room, hospitality suite, or other small area.
Many local health departments, Women, Infants & Children (WIC) agencies, and other state buildings have private space for nursing mothers. They might be willing to open their space to other nursing moms in the community.
A social service agency partnered with the building management to create a space that can be shared by women employed in any business in the building. The landlord agreed to provide the space rent-free and the agency agreed to provide furnishings.
Approach public organizations in the community to identify space. Government or other public buildings might have a milk expression room or other available space they are willing to share. Consider public health departments, Women, Infants & Children (WIC) agencies, social service agencies, and other federal or state organizations. A local library, hospital, or church may also have available space. Local hotels often have more space options available. Nearby businesses with young women on staff may be willing to partner to support nursing moms.
Discuss in advance any schedule conflicts so that the needs of both businesses and the employees can be addressed. This will be especially important if the partnering business also has nursing mothers who need to use the space. A schedule log or online calendar is helpful for employees to record times they will be using the space. This is also used by the business to record times when the space is not available.
Clear communication helps assure that the partnership works for everyone. Employers are required to provide nursing moms with time and space to express milk at work. Therefore, it is up to the employer to seek out potential partners and make arrangements. Conduct ongoing communication to address any needs or issues that arise. Businesses might consider a written letter of agreement that outlines clear responsibilities of both businesses and their employees.
Nursing mothers might consider storing their milk at their worksite rather than at the site of the partnering business. If a standard refrigerator is not available, a small cooler or insulated lunch bag helps keep milk cool.
Content last updated August 04, 2014.
Resources last updated April 15, 2014.