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What makes a space

The following spaces can be converted into a permanent space

Office space. You can use cubicle partitions (although not ideal) to create a lactation space within a large office area, as long as they are tall enough to provide privacy and are free from intrusion by coworkers and the public. To be functional, a room or space needs to be furnished with a chair and a flat surface such as a desk, small table, or shelf for the breast pump. Most working, nursing employees use an electric pump because it’s faster. This requires access to an electrical outlet. To make the entire pumping or milk expression experience as fast as possible, you may also want to consider soft lighting for relaxation and milk flow, a sink for cleanup, and a white noise machine for privacy if the space is in a common area. 

Converted closet/storage area. Businesses often use small closets and storage spaces to create permanent milk expression areas. Closets and storage areas should be well ventilated, well lit, and wired for electricity, if possible. 

Exam/patient rooms. Health care facilities often use a patient or exam room for permanent space. An added bonus is that a patient room may already have a sink with running water or a restroom nearby for washing breast pump equipment. You can install a lock for privacy. 

Retrofitted restroom. A restroom is not an allowable milk expression area, according to federal regulations. However, retrofitting a restroom into a lactation space might be an option. The space must be separated completely from the restroom area, with no toilet in the space. One possibility is to enclose a portion of a ladies’ lounge area that is separate from the restroom. A second possibility is to retrofit a single-user restroom by having a plumber remove the toilet and making the second restroom unisex. 

Women’s lounge. A lounge area can serve as a permanent milk expression area. It must be private from coworkers and the general public. Some companies install one or more walls to enclose the corner of a lounge for nursing employees. You can use curtains or screens to provide privacy if others need to use the room at the same time. 

Locker room or dressing room. You can use cubicle partitions that can be locked from the inside to ensure privacy. You may want to wire the space for electricity so nursing moms can plug in a breast pump. 

Enclosed area of unused space. You can use additional walls, dividers, or screens to enclose a corner of an area. Consider odd-shaped spaces in a building that are not otherwise usable workspaces. Often the costs to convert such an area into a functional milk expression space are minimal. 

Portable spaces. Mamava offers lactation pods and lactation room solutions (  

The law requires employers to provide a place that is not a bathroom. It must be completely private so that no one can see inside the space and no one is able to enter the space while it is being used. It also must be "functional [useable] as a space for expressing breast milk." The Business Case for Breastfeeding recommends that at a minimum, employers provide a safe and private space with a chair and a small table or shelf to set the breast pump on. An especially useful space could include an electrical outlet, a door that can be locked from the inside, a sink, and/or a refrigerator located near the pumping space. Though not required, these additions can help shorten your break time because you will not need to travel to another area to wash your hands, clean your pump parts, and store your milk.

Maintenance of the Room

A room representative or contact should be established at the onset of the project. This individual will be the primary point of contact for the lactation room and will be responsible for maintaining the daily operations and cleanliness of the room. There can be more than one representative or department responsible for the room. Work-Life should be updated of any changes to room representative and contact information.

Responsibilities include

Stocking Supplies

Below, you will find the list of basic supplies needed for a lactation space. They are minimal and relatively inexpensive. Overall costs will be dependent on the volume of use in the space. These supplies are usually ordered as regular supplies for the department or area. Or UK PPD restocks the supplies as a part of their regular supply maintenance for a building or department.  

It is good practice to keep a back-up supply of these items at all times. These items are necessary in meeting the sanitary guidelines set forth by the CDC in regard to human milk expression and storage. 

Cleaning Schedule

The lactation room needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Add it to the regular PPD cleaning schedule for your building. Think of it as a restroom or breakroom, surfaces wiped down, trash removed, supplies restocked – normally, on a daily basis (again, depending on use).  

There is very little non-regular maintenance involved in the upkeep of these rooms. Most rooms will require only regularly scheduled maintenance items, such as cleaning surfaces, emptying the trash, replacing light bulbs, fixing a lock, etc.  

Posting Signage

Work-Life will provide signage to be posted inside the lactation rooms by the room representative. This signage will include best practice guidelines for cleanliness and maintenance of the space.  

Exterior signage is the responsibility of the room representative or department. 

Room Access

Room access will be determined by the type of lock installed on the door. Some lactations spaces are always unlocked and accessible without a key or badge access. 

Keypad: simple key code can be shared with room users upon registration to gain access.  

Card swipe: ID badge swipe systems will require the users to gain access through the appropriate department representative or building operator.  

Standard lock: most of these rooms remain unlocked unless in use, while in use, a sign is provided to display on the outside of the door to prevent intrusion; the user must also be able to lock or secure the room from inside.  

Some buildings/departments have extra security measures in place or only offer space to those who work in the building/department. In these instances, separate protocol for access may need to be discussed. 

Borrowing/signing out a key or ID badge for access to the room 

Contacting the room representative directly for access 

Some rooms also have a scheduling system in place (such as the Erikson Hall location). Work-Life does not monitor scheduling of any rooms, this is done at the discretion of the room representative and room users.  

Sometimes the room users must reach out to the representative to schedule their room use time.  

Collaboration with Work-Life

Assistance in room access 

Room Usage Data & Reports (if requested) 

Troubleshooting issues when they arise 

Informing Work-Life of any changes in staffing/representation for the room  

Maintain updated contact information for (if applicable): room representative, signage needs, room location changes, facilities requests, room access and usage changes, etc.  

Purchasing Supplies

There are multiple options for purchasing needed supplies for the Lactation Rooms 

Many departments already have cleaning supplies through the regular cleaning maintenance provided by the PPD cleaning team when they clean a building. 

Online at Office Depot via the Ariba system.  

Supplies Needed:

  • Germicidal Disposable Wipes (ex: PDI Super-Sani Cloths) 
  • Latex free gloves 
  • Any brand is fine, as long as they are latex-free. We recommend ordering medium and large Sizes.  
  • Hand Sanitizer (unless already provided by your facility) 
  • Any brand is fine (pump form, unless you want to mount a dispenser to the wall in the room) 
  • Dish Soap (unless already provided by your facility) 
  • Any brand is fine 

Additional support

Regulations and recommendations on how to properly set up a lactation room in your area

What Employers Need to Know

  • Minimal space required o Needs to fit a chair, table/shelf surface, and a small dorm-size refrigerator at minimum; hospital grade-pump space ideal
    • Cannot be a bathroom or closet (unless a large closet is converted into a new space)
  • Must be able to be locked (or otherwise secured) from the inside of the space
  • Must have at least one electrical outlet Plumbing o Sink with running hot/cold water does not have to be IN the room, though preferred, so consider a space that is near a restroom or kitchenette
  • Adequate lighting
  • Temperature regulation/air circulation
  • Trashcan(s)
  • If a partition is used to separate lactation areas within one space, it needs to be at least 7 feet high to protect the woman’s privacy.
  • Not required, but additional considerations:
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Signage with instructions for maintaining the lactation space
    • Keypad or card swipe for room access
    • Sign-up process to monitor room usage and availability
    • Single or multi-station room § If multi-station, hospital curtains are an acceptable and preferred option for privacy between stations § If single-station, signage for outside the door indicating the room is in use
    • Options for storage of accessory kits and parts (wall mounted cabinets, etc.)
    • Sound machines to help increase calm and relaxation to help stimulate milk production and to disguise the sounds of the pump and alleviate any stress, embarrassment, or discomfort experienced by the employee
    • Full length mirror
    • Coat hooks/rack for employees to hang their belongings while using the space
    • Framed photos or posters. Examples include, nature scenes, babies, families to name a few
    • Bulletin board for information, announcements, and photo sharing of milk beneficiaries
  • Cost is usually a 1-time expenditure with a big return on investment