Background: In 2011 the Affordable Care Act mandated lactation space and break time for nursing mothers in the workplace. There are no similar protections required for students on college campuses.
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine current accommodations and barriers at local colleges in Thurston County, Washington, that affect breastfeeding success.
Methods: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with staff and students. The responses were categorized based on common themes. College web pages were searched for information on lactation support. School administrators were contacted to determine policy, and facilities were toured.
Results: Nine subjects from two college campuses participated in the interviews. All subjects, who had breastfed an infant within the past 3 years, reported lack of knowledge of college policy regarding lactation on campus. Each subject voiced challenges or confusion in navigating campus lactation facilities. Both employees and students found that managing lactation on their campus was difficult due to similar multifactorial issues. Ultimately, all participants were able to access or create lactation systems on campus that varied from using the inadequate provided spaces, pumping in cars or other undesignated areas, or arranging schedules around feeding times as to not need to pump on campus. Subjects were either neutral or dissatisfied with the accommodations provided on campus with especially negative responses when bathrooms are designated as lactation space. No policies or official communications regarding lactation accommodations on the campuses were discovered.
Conclusion: A lack of policy and communication about lactation resources on these 2 college campuses resulted in challenges for lactating campus members regardless of their role on campus. Existing designated lactation spaces were considered inadequate by study participants, with bathrooms deemed as particularly inappropriate.
|Department:||Department of Midwifery|
|School Location:||United States -- Washington|
|Source:||MAI 56/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Obstetrics, Public health, Health care management|
|Keywords:||Affordable Care Act, Breast pump, Breastfeeding, College, Lactation, Newborn|
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