The Trend Towards Becoming a “Breastfeeding Friendly” University

Written by: Amber McCann, IBCLC, Owner of Nourish Breastfeeding Support

For many of us here in the United States, autumn is about a cool crispness in the air, pumpkin muffins and FOOTBALL! And by football, I mean crazy fans – yell at the TV – wear your jerseys kind of football. I know that in many other parts of the world you understand this fervor, rather in support of another kind of football (i.e., soccer!)
Where I grew up in Ohio, there was one team and one team only. THE Ohio State Buckeyes. The affection and community support runs deep…very, very deep. To cheer for our chief rival, Michigan, could get you booed right out of town. At several hospitals in the area, babies are given Ohio State onsies (infant-size shirts that snap over a diaper) at birth…the indoctrination into the fandom begins early!

So, when I recently saw a press release that said that my beloved Ohio State had won an award for becoming a “breastfeeding friendly” place, my inner Buckeye jumped up and down. They have established rooms in which breastfeeding mothers can feed their children or pump all over campus with “a mini-fridge for storage, a hospital-grade breast pump, a comfortable chair with reading materials and low-light settings for a calm, quiet experience.”

I quickly tweeted my excitement over this development and was met with some healthy “trash talking” from my colleague, Liz Brooks. Liz quickly mentioned that her daughter’s school, Indiana University, a fellow school in Ohio State’s Big 10 Athletic Conference, also had lactation rooms, provided by the Office of Women’s Affairs. With both of our schools in the WIN column, Liz was quick to find out that all 12 of the schools in the conference (a group of universities that all compete together), have established lactation programs!

*The fact that there are 12 teams in conference called the Big 10 is not lost on us! 🙂

Click on the name of the school to find out more about their lactation programs!

University of Illinois

Indiana University

University of Iowa

University of Michigan

Michigan State University

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska

Northwestern University

Ohio State University

Penn State

Purdue University

University of Wisconsin

What an awesome testament to the importance of Lactation Rooms for mothers! If you have not taken the opportunity to familiarize yourself with The Business Case for Breastfeeding, supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, I encourage you to do so. The reports contained within states,
“There is ample evidence that a supportive worksite environment with a private place to express milk and access to a quality breastpump helps women feel more confident in continuing to breastfeed after returning to work (Galtry 1997; Frank 1998) and that lack of accommodations contributes to lower breastfeeding duration (Cobett-Dick & Bezek 1997).”

WAY TO GO to the BIG 10 schools for forging the way for great breastfeeding support in the workplace!

Action Step: Does you alma mater provide lactation rooms and breastfeeding support for their students and employees? If not, as an alumni, communicate with them your desire that they provide this service and link them to The Business Case for Breastfeeding!

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6 Responses to The Trend Towards Becoming a “Breastfeeding Friendly” University

  1. Robynn Pease 27 October 2011 at 14:12 #

    Hello –
    Check out the UK Work-Life website to find out how the University of Kentucky is supporting lactation in the workplace at Download your own “Privacy Please” door hanger for using temporary private space such as offices, or check out our growing list of dedicated space. If you can’t find space, call the Work-Life office, as we can put you in contact with “lactation advocates” across the campus who will assist you. Need advice in making it all work? Members of the Working Moms Network Group can provide lots of advice. For more information, please contact UK Work Life at (859) 257-1003. Thanks, Robynn Pease, Director, UK Work Life.

    • Amber McCann 28 October 2011 at 16:20 #

      Thank you so much, Robbyn. My husband’s family are UK grads and our “Go CATS” goes deep as well…we turn into UK fan’s during basketball season! 🙂

  2. Liz Brooks 27 October 2011 at 14:54 #

    Love this article Amber! What better place for best lactation support practices to be taught (by example) than in our colleges and universities? I wonder how many other post-secondary schoosl — in the USA, and around the world — can show they support breastfeeding mothers in the student body, on the faculty, or employed by the administration? And: Whoo Hoo Hoosiers (the Indiana University mascot ….)!

  3. Margot Mann 27 October 2011 at 21:28 #

    Thanks for sharing the good news and encouraging its spread. And Liz, thanks for doing the research.Now I wonder about Columbia university. I must investigate….

  4. Carla D'Anna 28 October 2011 at 18:56 #

    Great news Amber. I’ll have to check in on my family’ s alma maters of UMCP, USC, and UDC.

  5. Tina Carlson 11 November 2011 at 21:37 #

    Way to go Indiana!!!

    (oh, right.. and the rest of the Big 10 teams)

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