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Many educational institutions support nursing mothers at work with creative space options. For example, K-12 schools might have flexible areas such as small storage rooms, teacher resource rooms, or small office areas that can be retrofitted for milk expression space. Scheduling is often accommodated by asking teachers and staff to cover for one another during their brief milk expression breaks, or through floater teachers. Some schools arrange scheduling to assure that appropriate time is available for expressing milk.

Colleges and universities with a large number of buildings on campus may need multiple designated milk expression rooms or multi-use spaces to accommodate several nursing mothers at the same time. Many universities identify easily-accessed locations across the campus to minimize walk time during breaks. Others pilot a designated room in a central location and expand to other buildings as the need arises. Many universities find that having a policy in place assures that support is provided consistently. The policy should clarify the beneficiaries of the support program (e.g., staff, faculty, students, visitors, and contractors).

Feature Slides

  • Video: At Macdonough Elementary School, administrative support for nursing women reveals scheduling solutions for teachers and staff.

  • Video: Flexible spaces at Middletown High School make it possible to support teachers and staff.

  • The University of California, Davis provides a campus-wide lactation support program with services for employees, faculty, and students.

  • The school clinic is used as a private area for milk expression in one elementary school.

  • Milk expression areas are often shared with existing space in K-12 schools. Options include a teacher resource room, family living area, or teacher consultation room.

  • At one elementary school, the principal adjusts teacher schedules to work in flexible milk expression breaks. Floater substitutes are also arranged.

  • Some universities include milk expression rooms as part of new construction in campus facility policies.

  • A portion of a ladies' lounge area was renovated to create a small milk expression area.

  • Cubicle dividers create a milk expression area in a clean, dry area of a larger locker room at a university.

  • Teachers, staff, and students report that a quiet, private place to express milk helps them reach their goals.

  • Conference or meeting rooms are often used to provide flexible space. Supervisors and employees agree on a schedule that works for everyone.

  • If the school or university offers on-site child care, some nursing women may prefer to go to the center to directly feed their baby.

  • Students create artwork to hang in the mother's room.

  • A lactation consultant on staff at the university provides oversight to a large campus lactation program. She teaches educational programs and provides direct assistance to nursing women who are part of the university community.

  • Signage helps direct women to potential locations for expressing milk. Some universities also provide a campus map noting milk expression areas.

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Space Solutions - K-12 Schools

  • Permanent dedicated space
    • Converted closet or storage area
    • Small space within a larger space
  • Flexible space
    • School clinic or nurse's office
    • Office of guidance counselor or administrative staff
    • Conference room or consultation area
    • Family living area
    • Partitioned area in teacher resource room or other area
    • Screened-in corner of a classroom to use when students are out of the room
    • Other space, such as a speech lab or other teacher offices, if available

Space Solutions - Colleges/Universities

  • Permanent dedicated space
    • Converted closet or storage area
    • Small office area
    • Retrofitted single-user restroom or lounge area
    • Small area of unused space
  • Flexible space
    • Private offices
    • Resource rooms
    • Conference room

Time Solutions

  • Employees take usual break and meal periods to express milk
  • Teachers express milk during:
    • Teacher planning periods or lunch breaks
    • Student independent work time
    • Time between classes
  • Other teachers or administrative staff provide coverage
  • Floater substitutes provide coverage

Other Solutions

  • Child care provider brings the baby to the employee for feedings
  • Employee goes home or to the child care provider to feed the baby
  • Employee stores her milk in a personal cooler or insulated lunch bag
  • Campus provides on-campus breastfeeding classes for new mothers and their partners
  • Large university provides a campus map noting locations of lactation spaces
  • Facility policy requires lactation space in all new construction

Business Examples

Child Care Centers

Elementary Schools

High Schools

School Districts

Community Colleges and Small Colleges/Universities (<2,500 employees)

Large Universities (>2,500 employees)

Content last updated August 04, 2014.

Resources last updated April 15, 2014.


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