Woman holding baby

Breastfeeding Support Program offers campus resources for new mothers

Welcoming a new baby into your family can be both a joyous and chaotic life experience. Add to that a mother’s return to campus for work and it can feel downright overwhelming. Penn State Human Resources’ Breastfeeding Support Program can be a valuable resource for helping new mothers negotiate this transition. 

Enrollment in the program allows access to a number of campus lactation stations both at University Park and at several Commonwealth campuses. These dedicated pumping or breastfeeding spaces were developed as part of Penn State’s quest to establish and maintain a healthful and safe environment, supportive of wellness efforts across all life events. A list of available lactation stations is available online, and access to a room can be obtained by emailing [email protected]

But what should you do if a building you are working from is not on this list? No worries — you have options! Here are some things to know.

Be familiar with Human Resources’ Breastfeeding Support Policy HR20, which outlines the University’s commitment to meeting the needs of a breastfeeding woman. It also contains an important attachment — the Breastfeeding Accommodation Request Form — that allows you to present your request for appropriate lactation support to your supervisor. This will start the conversation regarding where you will be pumping, as well as how you anticipate fitting the time to pump into your work day.

Whether you work in a consistent building/area or work in different buildings on any given day, you may find that there is already a room available to accommodate breastfeeding mothers that is not on the list above. Many departments have a space they use for this purpose that they oversee themselves so it is not listed on the University’s website. This room may be designated as a pumping room only, or it may be used for various other personnel needs that require a private and comfortable room.

If the building you are working from or attending a meeting in does not have a separate space for your needs, you still should be given a viable solution to your request, and working directly with the person who is scheduling the meeting in that building is your best resource. He or she should be made aware of your need for a private space in advance of the meeting so that an accommodation can be made. It may be that you will be walking to a building next door that does offer a space, or it may be that you will be offered a private office or small conference room within the building you are visiting that day. Whatever the solution, it should be one that feels supportive to the breastfeeding mother, specifically with regard to privacy and comfort.

For questions or additional information about enrolling in the Breastfeeding Support Program, send an email to [email protected].