Photo: Work. Pump. Repeat.
Becoming a new mom is wonderful and lifechanging. Returning to work as a new mom, however, can be a whole different story. Finding an appropriate place to pump can be a huge source of stress for working breastfeeding moms. Many workplaces still don't provide moms with private, clean, and comfortable spaces to express milk. So what do moms need when it comes to a place to pump?
Breastfeeding is an emotional and physiological experience for both mamas and their babies. But breast pumping? Well, moms describe it as "dehumanizing" or like having a robot attached to you. Add the pressure of a busy work schedule and coworkers, and it's easy to see how stressful the whole experience can be. And all that stress only makes expressing milk more difficult.
If you're thinking that a family bathroom, an empty conference room, or a storage closet can do the trick, think again. Pumping mamas need easy access to a dedicated space that's available to them multiple times a day. And because they're making food, they also need a clean and sanitary space. Most importantly, mamas need a space where they feel secure, calm, and relaxed so their breasts can do what they were designed for, it's called the "let down" response, and it works best when a breastfeeding mother is both physically comfortable and emotionally relaxed.
7 Essential Design Elements
- a lockable door
- a comfortable seat
- a clean and easy-to-clean environment
- electrical outlets to charge pumps, computers, and cell phones
- a mirror (essential for pumping mamas who need to readjust clothing post pump)
- calming color tones and/or artwork
Bonus Design Elements
- a sink for cleaning pump parts and milk
- a refrigerator (so moms needn't keep their breast milk in the staff fridge)
- a tea pot and lactation tea
- a foot rest
- a window for natural light (with a curtain for privacy)
- a note board to pin images and/or leave notes for other moms
- a speaker to play soft music, or a white noise machine
- a stock of essentials: wipes, nipple cream, extra pump parts
- Mamava's guided lactation meditation
Providing breastfeeding employees with a space specifically designed to optimize pumping sends a powerful message that you support them both in their jobs and in their lives. And looking out for the wellbeing of your employees is not just good business, it's smart business.
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