Lactation Spaces in Schools: Myth vs. Fact

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Many educational institutions have outdated perceptions about lactation accommodations.

Here are four common myths about lactation spaces debunked so education leadership teams can make more informed decisions.

Myth 1: Breastfeeding teachers can pump milk in a storage closet or an empty classroom.

Fact: Breastfeeding is a physiological phenomenon with specific requirements for let-down. For an optimal pumping experience, women need a clean, quiet, and private space.

A lactation space also needs to be available when mothers need it, because while pumping sessions may vary, it’s important to establish a predictable pumping schedule. If the pumping environment is uncomfortable, stressful, or even worse--unavailable--it will negatively impact milk let-down. A missed or delayed pumping session can cause discomfort, decreased milk supply, or  infection.

Myth 2: There isn’t enough space for a dedicated lactation room.

Fact: Lactation spaces don’t need to be large or elaborate, but they do need to be a comfortable, clean, and private place where breastfeeding employees can be assured sufficient uninterrupted time to pump.

Myth 3: We can’t afford to invest in employee wellness.

Fact: You can’t afford not to. With the rising costs of healthcare, investing in employee wellness can actually save money and prevent absenteeism. In fact, research suggests that every $1 dollar spent on a wellness program can result in a $3 cost savings. Investing in employee wellness benefits employees, but it also helps bottom lines and budgets.

Myth 4: Teachers feel supported without a lactation space.

Fact: No, they don’t. According to Ovia Health’s “Motherhood in America” report, 70% of working mothers want better breastfeeding support. 

The myths around lactation space requirements, space limitations, and employee wellness exact a high cost when it comes to supporting and retaining faculty and staff. Without the real facts about workplace lactation accommodations, schools run the risk of increased sick days and decreased morale. When schools partner with an experienced lactation space provider they can quickly get the right solution in place that attracts talent, supports breastfeeding employees, and increases retention.