Chapman University has opened a new lactation station on campus, for mothers and persons needing to breastfeed and pump breast milk.
Located in the basement of Wilkinson Hall, this is the fourth station adding to three existing stations throughout campus and the only one on main campus that does not require keycard access.
The purpose of the lactation stations is to provide a safe environment for employees and students who need to breastfeed, said Mia Basic, director of employee relations and performance management.
“Lactation spaces are important not only to support breastfeeding parents who are members of Chapman’s community, but also to be in compliance with California laws surrounding breastfeeding,” said Colleen Wood, director of student conduct and head of the Advisory Status for Women. “It is important for a breastfeeding parent to express breast milk on a regular basis in order to keep up their milk supply, to not become physically uncomfortable due to engorgement of the breasts, and to prevent plugged ducts – which may lead to an infection for the breastfeeding parent.”
The station is furnished with a chair, table, electrical outlet and refrigerator, Misha Martinez, diversity and equal opportunity officer, wrote in an email.
Although the lactation stations are meant to create a safe space for breastfeeding parents, breastfeeding is permitted anywhere on campus – public or private, Wood said.
Basic said that the lactation station would help improve the workplace environment of the university.
“It is proven that employers who have initiatives like this one, that [Lactation Stations] definitely contribute to the moral and better satisfaction, and it is better for productivity. It is definitely an initiative from Chapman to provide a work environment that is safe and productive,” Basic said.
The additional lactation station has been met with enthusiasm by students interested in creating a safe space for parents to breastfeed.
“I think (the lactation stations) are awesome. Lactation and breastfeeding are still very much stigmatized things,” said Amanda Ball, a senior strategic and corporate communications major and member of Chapman Feminists.. “I haven’t seen a ton of them other places, so hopefully Chapman can set an example to other institutions, so those spaces become more accessible.”
The station is not just for expected mothers, Basic said.
“This is for nursing mothers, and every person who needs to express the milk while at work or school,” said Basic.
There are four lactation stations located on Chapman’s campuses. They are located in the Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Wilkinson Hall, West Palm and the Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine.
“The first one we created is in the (Dale E. Fowler) law school. It is specially created room for this sole purpose. It is a very nice and comfortable room, that has everything a breastfeeding and lactation room must have,” said Basic. “Each lactation stations has appropriate sanitary, private space with a table, electrical outlet, and comfortable chair. There is also a small refrigerator for storage.”
Chapman does not currently have plans to add more lactation stations on campus, but will consider further locations as the need arises.