A new lactation space with three private stations opened Friday after a ribbon cutting ceremony in LSU’s Student Union.
The space is open to all mothers in the LSU community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors. To access the rooms, a Tigercard or another form of identification must be presented to the information desk on the second floor of the Union.
The University needs at least 12 lactation rooms to accommodate an adequate number of students and faculty members, according to Tiny Tigers committee member Dr. Jane Cassidy. In November 2018, she said the program hopes to end up with as many as 15 locations spread across campus. Spots are already available in Middleton Library and Patrick F. Taylor, among other places listed on the Women’s Center website.
This new lactation space is the only one in the Union, located on the second floor across from On-the-Geaux. The space was previously an unused closet, and turning it into a lactation space made use of the area while meeting the demand for such a space in the Union.
Each station includes a chair, a large bottle of hand sanitizer, a roll of paper towels and a lactation space resource booklet provided by Tiny Tigers, LSU's official pregnancy and parenting program that offers information about navigating work and school as a parent.
Rachel Henry, the director of event managing and marketing for LSU’s Auxiliary Services and a member of LSU’s Staff Senate, pushed for a lactation space in the Union. She has had two children during her time working at the University, and she struggled to find adequate areas to pump. When a fellow staff member returned to work after being on maternity leave, Henry wanted to help.
“I had an opportunity to provide something that wasn’t given when I was here,” Henry said. “We were able to do a resolution with Staff Senate, and I was able to make a proposal to add those spaces here.”
A year-long trial of the space occurred prior to its introduction in which requests were taken to improve the space. A record was kept on the number of people requesting and utilizing the space, which was in the exact same area as the newly dedicated space. Henry said that, initially, five or six people would use it per month, and when that number increased to around 10, she realized the need for an official space there.
Henry said the space will be available for use any time that the Union is open, and there is no time limit for how long women can use the stations. So far, there have been no instances of all three stations in the Union space being used at the same time.
LSU Auxiliary Services is currently open for feedback regarding the space, and research on how the space can be further improved is being done.
“We’re going to baby-step it until it’s perfect,” Henry said. “If we get significant feedback with certain requests, we will absolutely look into those.”
If the space is being misused in any way, it can be reported to the information desk in the Union or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.