Evaluation of the UNTHSC Campus as a Mother-Friendly Worksite

Date

2015-03

Authors

Miller, Jennifer M.
Beyer, Molly
Barnes, Shelly
Hanich, Kristen
Sam, Justena
Adeniyi, Quadir
Pramanik, Priyanka
Chinyanta, Nellie
Lee, Parker
Paul, Marcy

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Abstract

Objective Mothers face numerous barriers with breastfeeding specifically returning to work. Lack of privacy and storage to breastfeed or pump, and accepted break times are reasons to cease. Texas created the Mother-Friendly Worksite Initiative in 1995 which offers certification for worksites that meet certain criteria including “Flexible work schedules with breaks and work patterns providing time milk expression, access to a private location(s), not a bathroom and clean and safe water source for washing hands and cleaning equipment, and access to hygienic refrigeration to safely store breastmilk." This pilot research project evaluated breastfeeding-friendliness on the UNTHSC campus and sought to assess steps to become a mother-friendly worksite. Materials and Methods Fifteen MPH students and one DrPH student were assigned UNTHSC buildings and asked to evaluate the assets and barriers to breastfeeding on campus. The assessment, conducted with photographs and journaling ascertained whether there were already designated places to breastfeed, pump, and/or store milk. Results The results found three lactation-designated areas on campus and surrounding buildings. Two lactation rooms were private with locked doors but neither were labeled as such. The third lactation area was located in a restroom with a curtain and chair. None of the three lactation areas had refrigeration to store expressed breastmilk. Conclusions To become a certified mother-friendly worksite, UNTHSC needs to 1) increase lactation spaces on campus; 2) generate policy that facilitates faculty, staff, and students to take breaks to pump or breastfeed, and 3) create designated spaces for patients and guests to breastfeed and pump.

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