Stony Brook University’s brand new lactation rooms are now available across campus, offering state-of-the-art breastfeeding amenities to the campus community.
The Department of Student Community Development in the Division of Student Affairs designed these lactation rooms with the goal of fostering a safe and relaxing environment for breastfeeding parents who need a space to express, store and collect breast milk or nurse their child.
“The purpose of these new lactation rooms is to provide a private, comfortable space for milk-expression, and to offer a supportive and inclusive experience to faculty, staff and student-parents,” said Emily Snyder, Director for the Department of Student Community Development. “Through the use of these facilities, we hope to encourage the growth of a nurturing and supportive community of users on campus.”
These new lactation rooms are provided throughout the campus footprint, offering greater convenience for student-parents who have classes in different buildings, as well as easy accessibility for faculty and staff. Current locations include the lower level of the Stony Brook Union (L06-14) and the second level of the Health Sciences Center (2-295). Additional locations at the Student Activities Center (SAC), as well as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building (SBS), are set to open in Fall 2021.
Creating Stony Brook’s campus lactation rooms was inspired by Snyder’s own experience returning to work after having her first child. “I felt fortunate to have a semi-private office space to address such needs, but became hyper aware of what the experience must be like for colleagues and students who do not have such a space on campus.” When starting the project, Snyder turned to an “exclusive pumping” online peer support group of 6000+ users to conduct an informal focus group; the users were prompted to share what amenities they would wish to see in an ideal lactation room space. The thread garnered significant feedback, much of which found its way into the final result of the campus’ new spaces.
Stony Brook’s lactation room amenities include a hospital-grade, multi-user, electric double breast pump (Medela Symphony), a baby changing table, cleaning and personal care supplies, noise-suppressing sound machine, privacy screen, full-length mirror, and a comfortable seating area with a pillow and blanket. Additionally, a mini-refrigerator is accessible in each space for daily milk storing purposes as well as a microwave for steam cleaning, when needed. Mini storage lockers are available in some locations, where users can temporarily store personal breastfeeding accessories.
Upon completion of a Google form, agreeing to the terms and conditions of use, users are given access to all of the active lactation rooms throughout campus. Card access to these rooms is not exclusive to faculty, staff and students, but is also available to other ID holding parties who frequent campus and need to use these facilities, such as volunteers and affiliates. One-time access may be granted to campus guests by contacting the facility manager responsible for the particular building of interest.
In addition to the lactation rooms, other efforts to provide more support to parents on campus have been put in place. Six new baby changing stations have recently been installed in high-traffic restrooms in the SAC, in addition to the six restrooms in the Stony Brook Union, which already feature space for this purpose.
The funding of the lactation rooms was made possible with generous support from Stony Brook University’s President’s Office, the Chief Diversity Office and the Renaissance School of Medicine.
For more information, details about current locations, terms and conditions of use, and to gain access to active spaces throughout campus, visit stonybrook.edu/lactation.