by Jamie Aranoff
Oswego, NY- 11 new lactation rooms are being added to the Oswego State campus this semester, providing nursing mothers a place to comfortably and privately pump breast milk for their children.
“It started with a nursing mother who had no official place to pump for her newborn,” Campus Planning Coordinator Linda Paris said.
The 11 lactation rooms are dispersed throughout campus and are located inside certain academic buildings, residence halls and rooms in the Marano Campus Center. “The rooms have been transformed from storage facilities and offer mothers a quiet environment with at least two different types of chairs and work surfaces,” Paris said.
According to the New York State Department of Health, employees have the right to pump breast milk in the workspace, and should have a private place to do so. Prior to this year, there were no official spots on campus for mothers to pump their breast milk.
“Before having these dedicated spaces, you might be lucky enough to have an office where you could pump in, but if not, you might be pumping in your car,” Paris said.
The collaboration of working mothers and the Campus Facility Project was one that took over a year and a half. For working mother and professor Dr. Kristen Eichhorn, the project was more than just getting a lactation sign outside of a storage closet. The initiative was about taking the needs of mothers and working together to be part of something larger.
“Working together to create the spaces for women was more than just that, it was about working with a team to better the community,” Eichhorn said.
Scales Hall, Tyler Hall, and Wilbur Hall will be the next three buildings on campus to receive a lactation room in the coming months.