Professors hope to expand lactation rooms across campus

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Professors are advocating for students, who are nursing mothers at Arkansas State University.

In 2016, A-State introduced a lactation room for nursing mothers made available for faculty, staff, and students.

"I learned in the process that employees and staff have to have access to a place where they can pump, but it cannot be a public bathroom or anything like, but there's no law that says students have to have access to that," Dr. Deborah Traylor, an A-State professor said.

Chappel Traylor spearheaded the lactation room project along with another professor Janelle Collins.

Dr. Michelle Merritt was one of the first people to utilize the lactation room when she was nursing her newborn last year.

"Now that it is here, I'm finding there are students asking if there is such a place, faculty doesn't know about it, so, I realized that people need to know that it exists."

The lactation room is on the fourth floor in the Humanities Building on campus.

Dr. Merritt said there are many women on campus who are nursing moms.

The advocate has come in contact with many nursing mothers looking for a private place to pump or breastfeed throughout the day.

She found out some of them would sit in their cars, others in bathroom stalls.

Merritt, along with Chappel Traylor, said they simply want better for A-State nursing moms.

"This year one of my missions is to maybe coordinate with Evette Allen in the Multicultural Center to see if we can get one set up in the student union that's more accessible through out all times of the day and night for students who are on campus for night classes and things like that," Merritt said.

"When we set this room up, we didn't make it available for what just the law requires, but we wanted it to be available for students too," Chappel Traylor said. "We would like for there to be more of these spaces for students on campus and we are trying to raise awareness of the one we already have available. If there's no other space available other than a bathroom or your car, students will be less likely to keep breastfeeding when they go back to school. We should encourage breast feeding in society because the research is in and we know that it is healthier for mother and baby."

The current lactation room provides privacy screens, which allows multiple mothers to use it at once. It also has a mini-fridge with a soothing environment.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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