What is a lactation room?
A lactation or breastfeeding room should be a clean, comfortable, safe and private space. The main function is for mothers to breastfeed their children, express milk and store it properly.
What should a breastfeeding room include?
To preserve the breastmilk until you take it and feed it to your child, it is necessary to have a cold storage system available which should preferably be a freezer or fridge for the exclusive use of the breastfeeding room.
Ideally, the breastfeeding room should have handwashing facilities and necessary supplies such as drinking water, liquid soap dispenser, hand sanitizer, cleaner for surfaces and paper towels.
The room must have a comfortable chair, preferably an individual seat with adjustable height and good back support rather than a sofa. It must be made of a material that allows it to be easily washed and disinfected.
Location, accessibility and privacy
A breastfeeding room should be located in a physically separate area that is close to your workspace and away from the toilets. The space should be directly accessible and fully available during the workday.
To ensure privacy, entrances must close properly and the facilities designed in a way to ensure that mothers using the room are not visible from the outside. The room should be only accessible to breastfeeding women and cleaning staff.
Lighting, ventilation and hygiene
Natural light is preferred, but if this is not possible due to space constraints, suitable artificial lighting, ventilation and heating must be provided. The use of air-conditioning is recommended to maintain suitable temperatures.
Cleaning should be done with odourless, food-safe products used exclusively in the breastfeeding room.
It is recommended that the walls, floors and furniture in the room have smooth surfaces, so they can be easily washed and disinfected. Any material that cannot be washed (carpets, fabric curtains or other elements that attract dust) should be avoided.
> Learn more: UNICEF’s Breastfeeding Support in the Workplace: Global Guide for Employers