Ohio University

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Published: November 15, 2017 Author: George E. Mauzy Jr.

Parents who breastfeed their infants should know that Ohio University has added several new lactation rooms on the Athens Campus, as well as rooms on both the Eastern and Southern regional campuses.

The rooms are dedicated spaces available to all students, faculty, staff and visitors on a first-come, first-served basis and can’t be reserved.

Alumna Kate Fortkamp said she was thankful that the lactation rooms were available when she visited campus in September to recruit at the Ohio University Business Conference.  

“As a new mom, traveling for work can be very stressful – not knowing if I'll have a clean and private area to pump,” Fortkamp said. “Before the trip, I used Google to look for lactation rooms at Ohio University and lucky for me there was one in Baker Center. I was able to use the room right before the conference started and again when it was over before the drive back home.”  

Fortkamp also commented on the quality of the lactation room.

“It was actually enjoyable to spend time in the room, rather than being a necessary evil at some of the other locations I've been to,” she said. “The people who put together the room in Baker Center have gone above and beyond to make the room convenient and comfortable. I can easily say that room made my job as a traveling working mom much less stressful, and I'm glad the University prioritized that room for us when I'm sure there's a high demand for space. I already enjoy coming back to my alma mater, but this experience just made it even better.” 

Most of the lactation rooms contain microwaves and refrigerators to aid in the process of breastfeeding. The microwaves are there for sterilization, while the refrigerators can be used to store the breast milk with the caveat that the University is not responsible for any loss, damage or misuse of the items left in the rooms.

Two lactation rooms on the Athens Campus, Baker University Center 353 and Human Resources Training Center 239, have a Medela Symphony Plus Pump available. Parents who want to use the hospital-grade, multi-user pump must bring their own attachments. An online video is available to explain how to use the pump at http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/for-professionals/products/909/symphony-plus-breast-pump.

“Thanks to funds provided by former Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, we were able to purchase the Medela pumps as well as comfortable furniture in the rooms,” said Dr. M. Geneva Murray, director of the Ohio University Women’s Center. “The pumps make it easier for those lactating to produce milk and allow them to not carry a breast pump around campus.”

The lactation rooms are available during their respective building’s open hours. These are their highlighted features:

Alden Library 428 – This room has a glider, ottoman, sink, baby changing table, mirror and white noise cancellation machine.

Baker University Center 353 – This room has a glider, ottoman, Medela Symphony Plus Pump, sink, microwave, refrigerator, lamp, mirror and white noise cancellation machine.

HRTC 239 – This room has two gliders and ottomans, Medela Symphony Plus Pump, microwave, refrigerator, floor lamp, full-length mirror and white noise cancellation machine. Bathrooms are nearby for sink use.

Irvine Hall 197 – This locked room is available 24 hours a day to Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty, staff and students. Other campus members can obtain temporary access to the room by contacting Jenn Fritchley at 740-593-2101. The room has a glider, ottoman, office-style chair, microwave, refrigerator, lamp, full-length mirror and white noise cancellation machine. There is a sink nearby for use.

McCracken Hall 241 – This room serves as a dual lactation and meditation room. It has a chair, sink, baby changing table, microwave, refrigerator, mirror and white noise cancellation machine.

McKee Hall 009 – This room has a glider, ottoman, office-style chair, microwave, refrigerator, full-length mirror and white noise cancellation machine. A sink is located outside the room.

West Union Street Office Center 220B – This room has a glider, ottoman, microwave, refrigerator, full-length mirror, sink and white noise cancellation machine. A staff kitchen is at the end of the hallway.

Katie Troyer, director of enrollment marketing and CRM operations, said she is looking forward to using the lactation rooms after she has her second child in the coming weeks.

"I used the lactation room in Baker University Center quite often when I returned to work after giving birth to my first daughter," Troyer said. "As I have been preparing for the birth of my second daughter, I was excited to learn that OHIO has added more lactation rooms throughout campus. The ability to conveniently access a lactation room while on campus will most certainly help with my successful transition back to work this spring."

Additional lactation rooms are available on the Eastern Campus in Shannon Hall 302B and on the Southern Campus in Riffe Center 155A.  

Check the lactation rooms’ website https://www.ohio.edu/womenscenter/resources/Lactation-Rooms.cfm for details about what’s available in each room.

Dr. Murray is working with the Lactation Room Committee, which includes Cat Russell, Jessica Cook, Dianne Bouvier, Stacy Haney and Michael DePerro, to continue to improve spaces on campus, with the assistance of Facilities Management.

Eventually, they would like to have a hospital-grade breast pump in all of the rooms and would also like for people to donate children’s books to the Women’s Center for the rooms. They are also looking for a space for a lactation room at The Ridges and other spaces on various campuses.

For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 740-593-9625. If you need assistance in ensuring that you have access to a lactation room, you should contact your Human Resources representative if you are an OHIO University employee (including student employees), or University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC) if you are a student.

mckee house

Photo courtesy of: George E. Mauzy Jr.The McKee House lactation room is very stylish