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Why are there so many names for a lactation space at work? Lactation room, lactation lounge, mothers room, nursing room, and many others. You may be surprised that they all have unique definitions, but they serve the same purpose - to provide a place where your working mothers or lactating employees know they can safely express breastmilk.
An important step in setting up a lactation room for your corporate lactation services is properly labeling the room. Your employees should know that the space is reserved for parents who are pumping milk for their little one. Typically mother’s rooms at work are used exclusively for pumping, but sometimes they double as wellness rooms and should be labeled Wellness Room and Mothers Room.
Make your labels and rooms stand out with fun names and themes. A corporation with bird themed lactation rooms named their rooms Mother Goose and Mother Hen. TV shows and movies are a fun theme idea with a lot to choose from, some examples are, The Little Rascals, Daughters of Destiny, and Pebbles and Bam Bam. Get creative and have fun!
Healthy Horizons COO, Cassi Janakos advises "No matter what you name your lactation space, make sure it is clearly labeled and easy to access for those who need this important resource. It should always have a locking door, be private, safe, and comfortable."
These are the top labels for your lactation spaces with definitions!
Lactation Space - The room, booth, pod, or location where a nursing mother or parent pumps breastmilk or breastfeeds their infant. This is a general term and doesn't distinguish if this is a room or another type of enclosure.
Lactation Room - A room for parents to pump breastmilk at work or nurse their baby. Lactation Room is often used in laws, such as the San Francisco, California Lactation In The Workplace Ordinance (LWO). It is gender neutral and more inclusive to our non-binary parents. This is the most scientific name and is gaining popularity.
Lactation Expression Room - This is very similar to the Lactation Room, but places more emphasis on the action of expressing or pumping breastmilk in the office.
Lactation Lounge - This is a workplace lounge with a communal sitting area, and multiple lactation spaces. The lactation spaces within the lounge are usually built in rooms with doors or curtains. Lactation lounges are larger to accommodate multiple nursing employees at once. They typically have a sink, large fridge, and microwave in the communal area. Other names for this are Mother's Room Lounge and Nursing Lounge.
Lactation Pod - This is a free standing structure that is either modular or prefabricated to be used as a lactation space.
Mothers Room - This is the most common term for workplace lactation spaces in both the corporate and public settings, although we recommend using Lactation Room as a more inclusive label.
Parents Room - This is another term that is more inclusive and gender neutral. It can sometimes be confused by other parents as a general space that is not designated for pumping or breastfeeding. Pumping at work is protected by law, so we suggest staying away from this label to make sure your employees and contractors know this space is designated for pumping and nursing.
Mother's Room and Parent's Room - These terms have the same meaning as the definitions above, but the apostrophe "s" implies the mother or parent have ownership over this room.
Nursing Room and Nurturing Room - Nursing and nurturing rooms imply the parent will have their infant with them and will be breastfeeding in this room. This is one of the least common names in workplaces, unless it is common to bring babies to work. This label is more common in a public space, such as an airport, government building, or shopping mall.
If you are having trouble coming up with lactation space ideas or deciding between the 11 names for mother’s rooms, our COO, Cassi Janakos, recommends that employers “...go with the label Lactation Room. This label is clear, concise, and is becoming more popular in workplaces as a way to support non-binary parents.”
For offices with a large footprint or campuses that are spread out, it is nice to provide your mothers a map of where the lactation rooms are located. Keep in mind, mothers rooms should be located no more than 500 feet or within two adjacent floors from the farthest employee workspace that it is designated to serve.