Input sought on lactation rooms at UMHS
The Work-Life Resource Center is seeking input from women to target efforts at campus and UMHS locations that are most challenging for new mothers. If interested, please fill out this survey, which will be open until Aug. 26.
In the past few years, many actions have taken place to improve awareness and support for breastfeeding mothers returning to work and school. Many of these improvements have occurred during building renovations or new construction.
Recent examples across campus and the health system include the new School of Nursing building, the ISR renovation, and a UH South space conversion (formerly the “Old Mott” building). Additionally, some buildings are now using an online registration system (including the Cancer Center, Cardiovascular Center, Medical School, and UH South).
“Nursing students, faculty, and staff work very hard in a challenging field, so we wanted their new school building to be a comfortable, relaxing home for them,” said former U-M School of Nursing Dean Kathleen Potempa. “Natural light and comfortable furniture is part of that, but so are progressive accessories and special-purpose spaces including well-designed lactation rooms. We are committed to providing all that we can for new mothers and families.”
"LSA has created many new and upgraded lactation rooms across campus to support working moms at U-M,” said LSA Facility Manager John Minier. “Our most recent effort was to work in partnership with the Work-Life Resource Center to create a private lactation space in the Modern Languages Building. We are very pleased with how it all came together.”
Although the university currently has 81 identified lactation spaces across its campuses, many women still struggle to find time and appropriate space. This can cause stress, anxiety and ultimately an early end to breastfeeding efforts when women return to work.
“Supporting mothers by providing appropriate lactation spaces makes a statement that we care deeply for our female faculty, staff, students and their families. It’s a sign of a supportive and inclusive environment,” said Work-Life Programs Director Jennie McAlpine. “It has a positive impact for the entire university community by improving productivity and morale, reducing sick time and helping to lessen health care costs. Being thoughtful of employee needs is also a sound strategy for enhancing recruitment and retention.”