By Jamie Corter
County College of Morris has opened a private space which contains the basic necessities for breastfeeding women who need to express breast milk.
Located next to the health services in Cohen Hall room 266, this space includes a chair, sink, lotion, and a mirror and is open to staff, faculty, and students.
Nurse Elizabeth Hoban, the coordinator for health services at CCM, is also a lactation specialist who spoke up about the importance of a lactation room.
“You cannot have a toilet in a lactation room,” Hoban said. “It’s not sanitary . . . There should just be a sink to wash your hands and a chair. There are family friendly bathrooms, which I don’t think even have changing tables, but those are more for people who are transitioning. [This room] is specifically for moms who are breastfeeding.”
For years, mothers have used Hoban’s back room as a lactation room because of its privacy and access to a sink. But now, it is required by law to have a separate room for nursing moms.
“It’s legislation now,” Hoban said. “We had no choice; we had to put it in.”
In March 2010, President Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act that included the Break Time for Nursing Mothers policy. According to the United States Department of Labor website, employers must provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk for the first year after the child is born. In addition to this, employers are also required to designate a space other than a bathroom for this. The lactation room does not have to be permanent; it can be a temporary room as long as it is clean and private.
“We had a student a couple of semesters ago that took a Saturday class, and she was here all day,” Hoban said. “She had nowhere to [pump]. I think she was the one that triggered a complaint because she had to go across to the library to the family-friendly bathroom. In doing research, it was determined that we actually have to provide a space for them.”
Originally Published in the 12-5-2018 issue of the Youngtown Edition