Creating and Maintaining a Lactation Space

The Penn Lactation Support Program requires that schools and centers provide eligible faculty and staff with appropriate space for lactation responsibilities, as described in Penn’s Lactation Policy.

Options for Spaces

Private office

If the chest/breastfeeding parent has a private office, it may be used for lactation responsibilities. The office must be shielded from view and have a door that can be locked for privacy. If the parent feels uncomfortable using office space for lactation responsibilities, the supervisor should assist with finding an alternative space.

Designated organizational space

Some organizations have designated lactation spaces for their faculty and staff members to use. The Human Resources representative for the school/center and all business administrators and supervisors should be notified about any designated lactation space in the organization as well as its availability for individuals in other organizations. Designated spaces can be returned to other uses if required by the business needs of the organization.

Temporary space

If a designated space does not exist and/or the faculty or staff member does not have a personal office, the organization will make every effort to identify a hygienic, private lactation space based on the requirements outlined in the Lactation Policy. Temporary lactation spaces may be returned to other uses if required by the business needs of the organization.

Additional Information

Labeling areas

A label that indicates the space is in use can take many forms. Several symbols, like this one, have become popular for identifying nursing and lactation space.

Sign-up sheet

A sign-up sheet or dry erase board makes it easy for parents to see if a space is available when she expects to need it, to reserve time, and to see when the space is occupied.

Useful features for lactation areas

An ideal lactation area is no more than a 10-minute walk from the parent's work location and doesn’t require exiting the building. It requires a way to lock the door or prevent any intrusions. It also needs a way to control the lighting from inside the space.

It’s also helpful to include the following amenities:

  • Sanitation resources (such as hand wipes and disinfecting surface wipes)
  • Access to running water
  • A lock on the door (Penn lactation room lock standard)
  • A chair and a shelf or table for breast pump
  • A wall clock
  • A wall mirror
  • A footstool

Chest/breastfeeding staff and faculty should never be expected to express milk in a restroom.

COVID-19 Preventive Guidelines

We remain committed to supporting the health and well-being of our employees. In consultation with Penn EHRS, the following practices are recommended for lactation spaces. The guidelines outlined below are consistent with the CDC recommendations for other spaces on campus such as kitchenettes and small conference rooms. 

Preparing Lactation Spaces for Return to Work (COVID-19)
Actions Responsible
Physical location
• Implement a schedule: white board, Shared Google Calendar, Shared MS Outlook Calendar (most have this established already) o Rooms should be vacated for 20-25 minutes between users to ensure air exchanged is refreshed o Allows user to know when the room was last used School/Center Building Administrator/Primary Lactation Space Contact
Maintaining designated room
• Leave doors open is preferable (many are locked/pin code required) All-User, Facilities and Real Estate Services and School/Center Building Administrator/Primary Lactation Space Contact
• Add card/instructions to the hospital grade pump that reminds the user to disinfect before and after use School/Center Building Administrator/Primary Lactation Space Contact
• Provide dedicated wipe dispenser for all spaces. *Business administrators can contact EHRS to request disinfectant wipes, ehrs@ehrs.upenn.edu School/Center Building Administrator/Primary Lactation Space Contact
• Post signage in all rooms to indicate guidelines and protocols School/Center Building Administrator/Primary Lactation Space Contact
• Wear a mask in spaces since they are sequentially shared spaces User
• Practice proper personal hygiene User
• Sanitize all surfaces before and after use User
• Keep at least 6 feet distance User
• Regular housekeeping/cleaning Facilities and Real Estate Services