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Having a mother’s room is an essential for your breastfeeding employees. What makes this benefit even better is to make sure that all moms can have access when they need it and the room is pleasant for all to use. it is important to have usage policies for the mother’s room that work best for your company. If you have several mothers using the room, you need to consider a scheduling system, room access, and policies to keep the room clean. There are several options for each of these. You want to have a system that will allow moms to pump when they need to without having to wait. A mother who can’t get her time to pump milk has her schedule and productivity disrupted, and it is also a violation of the federal law.
For large companies, an electronic scheduling system is the most effective. Employees can sign up online with their daily pumping times. A calendar software like Outlook that your company is already using can also be used for scheduling. This allows moms with a full schedule of meetings to schedule and plan their pumping sessions for the week so they can make sure they don’t miss a meeting or pumping session. Consider an electronic system with calendar reminders to help moms be on time for their session.
For smaller companies or companies with fewer mothers using the mother’s room, a schedule sign up sheet in the room or a list on a whiteboard may work.
If you have a high mother’s room to mom ratio, a first-come, first-served system may work best. This works well for companies that have ample mother’s rooms or multiple pumping stations in the room. This system gives mothers the most flexibility, especially if time becomes available in their schedule to pump. This can work in both large and small companies, as long as there are a sufficient number of mother’s rooms and pumping stations.
Restricting access with a code or key card to the mother’s room is particularly important if you have more than one pumping station in the room. This helps avoid accidental walk-ins and embarrassing situations from male employees and visitors who may not be aware what the room is for! Giving mothers their own access also gives privacy to a mom pumping in the room while allowing another mother to enter.
Key card or employee badge access is a convenient way to restrict access to the room, particularly if there are several pumping stations in the room. If a company uses employee badge access to restrict access to certain sensitive areas like labs or production floors, then a key card or employee badge access would work for a mother’s room. A person in the company can maintain the access list for the rooms.
Room code access is another method for restricting access to mother’s room with multiple pumping stations. To enter the room, a mother would enter her code which unlocks the door. There could be one code for all mothers, or each mother could have her own code. The company would have a person who maintains registered users for the room, or who would assign personal code numbers to the moms. This works well for larger companies with several moms using the room at different times during the day.
For smaller companies, key access may be sufficient to access a mother’s room with fewer moms. Each mother should get her own key to the room. This is preferable to only having one person with the key because if that person is not available and someone cannot be found to open the door, the mother is at risk of losing her time to pump!
If your company’s mothers room is only for one mother at a time, be sure it locks from the inside so no one can accidentally walk in. It’s helpful to have a sign she can put outside to indicate it is occupied. Healthy Horizons can help provide you door hangers to indicate if the room is in use.
Keep your mothers happy by making sure the room stays clean. Have a usage policy for users of the mother’s room. Give gentle reminders that trash should be thrown in the wastebasket and that the room should be kept neat. Moms should clean up after themselves after using a pump station. Help them keep it clean by providing cleaning supplies. Cavicide should be provided to clean the surface of the station. It is very unappealing for a mother to go to a pump station with dried milk on the surface! Any spilled milk needs to be wiped up by that mother so the next person doesn’t have a station with dried milk. If your company has a janitorial service, have them clean and vacuum the room regularly and take out the trash daily. Otherwise, consider a schedule for the moms to routinely tidy the room. Determining the right usage model for your company will help ensure your mother’s room is used effectively and will help your employees be efficient. It helps protect your investment and shows that your company cares about your lactation program being successful and benefiting mothers. To find out what systems and policies work best for your company, contact Healthy Horizons to learn more!