For new moms, returning to work can be a challenge. Luckily, the state of California requires every employer provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate a nursing parent, and a room (often called a lactation room or a mother’s room) dedicated for the parent’s privacy and comfort.
While this law only targets larger companies, having a designated lactation room doesn’t only benefit nursing moms, but also brings great advantages to all employers.
Benefits of Providing a Lactation Room
Providing a lactation room in the workplace keeps both the nursing parent and baby happy and healthy! For employers, this means that nursing parents with access to these rooms are more productive in their work and take fewer leaves of absence. Not only that, but providing for your employee’s needs, shows your support and creates a stronger bond between the company and your employees.
A Lactation Room Can Be Affordable
Good news for startups and small businesses on a tight budget here are simple, cost-effective solutions for you to help new moms transition back to work. In fact, there are several ways to offer a decent lactation room without going over budget.
How to Repurpose a Room in Your Office
If you don’t have an empty room that can be turned into a lactation room, you can creatively convert another space into a private room. Even a private conference room can be designed and repurposed to make it a functionally relaxing space, comfortable for moms. The American Institute of Architects suggests that a 50-square-foot room can meet accessibility guidelines if it accommodates a 5-foot turning radius.
Lactation Room Minimum Recommendations from the US Breastfeeding Committee:
- Table or a flat surface
- Electrical outlet
- A solid door lock with an occupancy indicator.
The tabletop or working surface should be at least 24 inches deep to accommodate bottles and pumping equipment. Other affordable furnishings can include curtains or a partition to provide privacy. These items can total between only $500-$2500 if you’re repurposing a room that already includes these essentials!
Adding Upgraded Amenities for Larger Budgets
If you have a more substantial budget, room essentials can include all of the above along with:
- A supportive and adjustable task chair
- A deep sink for washing bottles and pump parts
- Adequate storage space
- Uniform ambient lighting
- Fabric wall panels which help to reduce echoes and create a calming environment
- A scheduling system or communication board outside the door to facilitate efficient use of the room
These additions to a repurposed room can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
In the end, one of the best ways that companies can attract the best and brightest candidates is to show how they can provide for their employees and their needs. It’s no secret that happy employees are healthier, more productive, and more likely to be invested in their work. All it takes is a repurposed room and a few hundred dollars for companies to show their support and dedication to an inclusive workplace.
Sparrow handles all leave-related paperwork, acts as the employee’s guide throughout the process, and helps to ease the transition as employees prepare to go on leave, and as they prepare to return to work. We provide software and a dedicated concierge for you and your employees. We cover: short term disability paperwork, legal matters, salary verification and more. Sparrow saves your team time (20-40 hours per leave), money (up to $20,000 per leave), and headache. Sources:
What the Law says about Breastfeeding and Work
Working Mothers, Breastfeeding, and the Law
The 18 Most Impressive Company Lactation Lounges in the U.S.