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Breastfeeding Support: Industry Solutions
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Retail Trade

Retail stores of all sizes can support nursing women with a variety of creative options. Large stores can use space in office areas or retrofit existing space such as storage areas and dressing rooms. Partitions and other barriers can create a temporary private area. Very small retail stores may have more limited options. If a private screened-off area is not possible, they can consider direct access to the baby for feedings or sharing space with nearby businesses. A shopping mall might set up a lactation space to be shared by employees working in many small stores throughout the mall. Many retail stores open their employee lactation space to customers. They report that bringing customers into the store benefits both the business and families.

Feature Slides

  • Video: Giggling Green Bean, a small retail store, shows how allowing employees to bring their baby to work benefits both the business and employees.

  • Video: A storage area with an electrical outlet provides a solution for nursing women working at a Goodwill Industries store.

  • Video: An Indianapolis Walgreens pharmacy supports nursing women with creative space solutions. They also engage the community by offering free infant weight checks and consultations with a local lactation consultant.

  • Video: A retrofitted dressing room offers a private milk expression space for both employees and customers at a Texas Walmart store.

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

  • Retail stores provide support to nursing moms with a variety of options.

    Smiling woman standing in a store
  • A large department store retrofitted a dressing room for a milk expression room. The room was wired for electricity at minimal cost. The room is open to both employees and shoppers.

    Milk expression room
  • A storage closet is used as a milk expression area. Employees post a sign to alert other workers when the room is in use.

    Storage closet
  • A pharmacy uses the clinic area for employees to express milk. Employees schedule breaks around clinic appointments.

    Pharmacy clinic
  • A mall provides multiple stations for nursing women who visit the mall and for employees of businesses within the mall who need a private area to express milk.

    Dressing rooms converted to nursing stations
  • A large department store created a permanent milk expression room from a dressing room in the quieter "intimates" department.

    Dressing room converted to nursing station
  • A small maternity store worked a mother's room into the original design for the store. It caters to both employees and customers.

    Mother's room
  • A small children's apparel shop provides a multipurpose space for employees and customers.

    Private room with comfortable chair and other supplies
  • The Indianapolis Walgreens' "Well Baby Wednesdays" program offers free weight checks for infants. Consultations from a lactation consultant are provided by the local hospital.

    Well Baby Wednesdays participants and doctor
  • Many small retail stores allow employees to bring their young infant to work with them. This can eliminate the need for a private milk expression room.

    Retail employee stocking a display, carrying baby in a hands-free sling
  • The corporate office of one retail firm sets aside a special office for employees who bring their baby to work. The office has a door that locks and space for a small play area.

    Mom and baby at work station with play area
  • A grocery store uses privacy signs outside a multipurpose office area to encourage other workers to respect the needs of nursing women.

    Privacy sign posted on a closed door
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Space Solutions

  • Permanent dedicated space
    • Retrofitted dressing room
    • Small space built from shelving in the inventory area
    • Space built by mall authority and shared by employees at all businesses
  • Flexible space
    • Manager's office
    • Dressing room not in use
    • Employee break area with a "do not disturb" sign
    • Storage area
    • Small area created with a divider screen, partition, or shower curtain for privacy
    • Any small room such as a facial room in a salon
    • Shared space with a nearby business

Time Solutions

  • Employees take usual break and meal periods to express milk
  • Floater staff or managers assist with 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
  • Employer arranges for the baby to stay with the employee at work (many small retail stores have successfully made these arrangements and report it works well)
  • Employee stores her milk in a personal cooler or insulated lunch bag

Business Examples

Content last updated August 04, 2014.

Resources last updated June 11, 2014.


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