CSU provides lactation rooms for nursing parents

Jorge Espinoza

Since 2011, students and staff have enjoyed the best of both worlds at Colorado State University — working and parenthood.

In accordance with CSU’s “Accommodations for Nursing Parents” policy, CSU provides lactation rooms across campus for nursing faculty, staff and students to breastfeed their children in a private, comfortable setting, with flexibility in scheduling breaks throughout the workday.

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According to Monica Rivera, assistant director at the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, lactation rooms benefit nursing parents as they help parents do their jobs while also taking care of their children.

“Simply put, access to clean and private spaces to nurse/pump is fundamental to the retention and success of parents here at CSU,” Rivera said.

Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros said lactation rooms prevent nursing parents from being away from work from long periods of time.

“The availability of these rooms increases the job efficiency for yourself and for co-workers as the nursing parent does not have to be away from the work setting for a prolonged period of time,” Ontiveros said.

Ontiveros said that the rooms are representative of CSU’s commitment to creating an environment that meets the needs of students and staff.

“Availability of these rooms show our commitment and understanding of the needs of lactating parents,” Ontiveros said. “These increase the ease and access necessary for parents desiring to nurse newborns for a longer period of time.”

Ontiveros said lactation rooms are 500 feet apart so they are about a five-minute walk between buildings, but Rivera said that accessibility means more than just location.

“We also need to use a broader definition of accessibility by asking questions like, ‘Are rooms big enough for wheelchairs? Do they include necessary furniture like a table for bottles?’ And, ‘Is there available refrigerated storage?’” Rivera said. “One of the biggest challenges I have heard from nursing parents is that they don’t have access to a fridge/freezer for storage of milk, especially if they don’t have their own private offices.”

More importantly, Rivera said these rooms also address an important gender equity issue at CSU.

“Since most of the people who nurse/pump identify as women or trans/non-binary, it is also a critical gender equity issue,” Rivera said. “Similar to easy access to period products for people who menstruate, there are simple steps CSU can take to make sure that nursing parents don’t have to choose between taking care of basic biological needs or thriving as a student or staff member.”

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If you are a nursing parent and would like to use lactation rooms to nurse/pump, visit the Facilities Management website and schedule time to do so.

Jorge Espinoza can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @jorgespinoza14.