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Manufacturing corporations use many creative solutions to support nursing mothers at work. Their solutions address environmental hazards, inflexible breaks, and limited space for milk expression. Space options include setting aside small storage areas or office space, or constructing small spaces in quieter areas of the plant. Partitions and other barriers can be used to create private single-user or multi-user spaces.

Many companies use floater staff to provide coverage when a worker must be away from her work station. The on-site occupational health nurse is a valuable resource for nursing mothers, and the on-site clinic might also be available as an additional safe location for private milk expression space. A large plant may need multiple spaces in each building of the complex. This will help reduce the amount of travel time nursing mothers need during their breaks.

Feature Slides

  • Video: Shaw Industries, a large carpet manufacturing company, partnered with local breastfeeding experts to launch a support program for nursing women.

  • Video: Zutano is a children's clothing manufacturing company that created a family-friendly environment where infants are welcomed in appropriate settings of the work environment.

  • One manufacturing plant converted a storage room as a milk expression space. It accommodates two employees simultaneously. The room provides an industrial-strength electric breast pump that women share. Each woman uses her own tubing that attaches to the pump.

  • One engine manufacturing plant set aside a storage area for nursing mothers. Portable screens provide privacy for each woman expressing milk. Lockers provide space to store personal breast pumps and supplies.

  • The on-site clinic within a large manufacturing plant can be used for one-on-one education on how to use the breast pump and set up a milk expression schedule. In some companies, the occupational health nurse provides nursing women with education on use of the pump.

  • An employee rest area is used at one manufacturing company for nursing mothers to express milk. Nursing women have priority.

  • One manufacturing company converted a clean, dry area of an employee shower/locker room as a milk expression space.

  • Manufacturing plants can work with local resources to provide training for managers and supervisors. Training helps staff understand the needs of nursing women so they can provide appropriate support.

  • A sink with running water enables women to wash their hands and clean their breast pump parts.

  • One manufacturing company extended the plumbing connection from the floor below to provide a sink with running water in the milk expression room.

  • A large manufacturing firm built a wall with a door that locks within a larger room. Amenities include a chair and table, decorative artwork, a lamp for soft lighting, and a fan to help muffle noise.

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Space Solutions

  • Permanent space
    • Converted storage or utility area
    • Small office area
    • Enclosed ladies' lounge
    • Space constructed within the corner of a larger room
    • Retrofitted restroom
    • Enclosed area of unused space
  • Flexible space options
    • Conference room
    • Employee's office
    • Office of a manager or supervisor
    • Employee break area
    • Employee rest area
    • On-site health clinic

Time Solutions

  • Employees express milk during established break and meal periods
  • Floater staff provide coverage
  • Company policies allow time for traveling to and from the milk expression space and to change into hygienic suits, if required

Other Solutions

  • Child care provider brings the baby to the employee for feedings (depending on the work setting)
  • Monthly education classes offered as part of the company's health focus
  • Multi-user electric breast pumps provided for more efficient milk expression
  • Separate small refrigerator provided for storing expressed milk
  • Employee stores her milk in a personal cooler or insulated lunch bag

Business Examples

Content last updated August 04, 2014.

Resources last updated April 15, 2014.


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