Amenities are a must-have.
Could you imagine arriving at a hotel room for a vacation or business trip and the only things in that room were a mattress, toilet, sink, and shower? Basics, yes, comfortable, no. Would you want to bring your own sheets and pillows on this trip? How about some towels, along with shampoo, conditioner, and soap? Don’t forget the toilet paper, that would be inconvenient! And, don’t think for a moment that there would be a TV or coffee maker. Forget the refrigerator and complimentary water, too.
Fortunately, hotels have evolved and offer wonderful amenities that keep people coming back. From beautiful décor and bedding to thick towels, high end toiletries, and toilet paper waiting for you shaped into a fancy rose to greet you upon first use of the toilet. When I arrive at a hotel with a coffee maker and complimentary water, I sigh relief…first world problems, yes, but they sure do make travelling more relaxing and enjoyable.
Imagine the parallel to a lactation/mother’s room at a company. These days, companies are striving to meet the bare-boned federal mandates – a place “other than a bathroom that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.” Some companies pride themselves by providing a chair, an outlet, and a counter. But, that sounds and feels similar to the hotel room with the basics. Will it do, sure, but will it keep me coming back? Will I feel thought of, appreciated, or the need to stay with this company? Not so sure.
Top Ten Suggestions
Do you want to provide an experience to your breastfeeding employees similar to the hotels that keep you going back? Enter the top ten suggestions for a five-star lactation room:
1. Create a relaxing space by using soft colors and gentle lighting (e.g., lamps, wall sconces).
2. Add artwork and decorations that encourage mothers to relax, which helps stimulate milk flow.
3. Acoustics are an important factor, so consider purchasing a sound machine for the room. They help relax moms and dampen the sound of the breast pump and outside noises.
4. Do your best to provide a sink so breast pump equipment can be cleaned. If a sink is not provided in the room, a clean sink should be available nearby.
5. Consider providing a small refrigerator for storing breast milk.
6. Place a mirror in the room for moms to adjust their clothing before and after pumping.
7. Provide sanitizing wipes to clean up the flat surface and pump after use, as well as to clean pump supplies (e.g., breast shields and parts).
8. Provide nutritional milk boosting snacks and water to help keep moms nourished and hydrated.
9. Provide disposable nursing pads to prevent milk from leaking onto clothing.
10. Consider providing a multi-user/hospital-grade pump so the mom does not need to bring hers to and from work.
Looking for more tips? Does your company need help creating or enhancing its lactation room(s) to help ease the transition back to work for your breastfeeding moms? Visit our Pump@Work page to download a lactation room setup guide so that you can retain and recruit top female talent.
Written by Suzanne Vecchi, the director of operations at Acelleron, a health and wellness company that specializes in employer lactation programs.