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University offers support to breastfeeding moms

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has adopted a Lactation Accommodation Policy and established three lactation rooms on campus.

Those efforts led to the University’s recent designation as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion by the Mary Amelia Women’s Health Center and the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.

The lactation rooms are in the Student Union, Bourgeois Hall and Saucier Wellness Center. Educational material funded by a grant from the March of Dimes is available in each location.

LeShawn Alexander, a UL Lafayette doctoral student; Pat Cottonham, vice president for Student Affairs; and Dr. Helen Hurst, an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, collaborated on the establishment of the policy and rooms. The Lactation Accommodation Policy was adopted by University Council, which is composed of top administrators.

Alexander wrote a proposal for the project. It states that the project “will serve as an example for other workplaces and scholastic organizations for planning, implementing, and evaluating a lactation policy with the ultimate goal of increasing breastfeeding initiation and continuation as recommended by multiple national authorities and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

To qualify for the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion designation, a workplace must offer:

  • reasonable break times for working mothers to pump breast milk;
  • at least one permanent breastfeeding room, or a clean, private, and safe space that mothers can use for lactation;
  • a working sink near the breastfeeding location where mothers can clean pumping equipment; and
  • and lactation support communicated to all employees.

“Breastfeeding‐Friendly Workplace Champions also have written policies to support breastfeeding in the workplace,” according to the Mary Amelia Women’s Health Center.