Why Bathrooms Aren't Suitable Lactation Rooms for Pumping
Here is our guide to why bathrooms aren’t suitable lactation spaces. At Lactl we are passionate about bringing hygienic private spaces to mothers at work, and truly believe it is a woman’s right to have access to this amenity.
If you don’t have access to a lactation space or have been told that a bathroom is the only space available, consider showing this blog post to your employer. Give them the benefit of the doubt - they might just not be aware of the many reasons why restrooms aren’t okay to express breast milk in.
IT’S THE LAW
Federal law (FLSA) states that companies with over 50 employees must provide a lactation space other than a bathroom for non-exempt employees to express milk. Need we say more?
It’s true - most public or work bathrooms won’t pose a massive risk to your health for those with a developed functioning immune system. However babies don’t have this immunity that as adults and children we have built up.
One study from 2011 by open-access journal PLOS ONE discovered that on average one square inch of bathroom tile contains over 500,000 bacterials cells after only one hour of the bathroom being in use.
In essence - you wouldn’t eat your lunch off the toilet seat, so why should you prepare your babies lunch on the toilet seat? It’s 2019 and food hygiene and health and safety measures are extremely comprehensive. It’s about time the same impetus was placed on lactation space hygiene.
Most restrooms are shared spaces, or some offices only have a single cubicle toilet. This can be a big problem if there are other employees queuing up to use it! You wouldn’t expect employees to make make-shift bathrooms in your office, so why should pumping moms be forced to make make-shift private pumping spaces?
Have you ever been to a restroom where you literally have to squash yourself into the wall or practically climb behind the toilet to have enough space to shut the door? I am assuming the answer is yes. Now imagine doing that with a bulky bag with allll your pumping gear (pumps, bottles, cleaning equipment, comfort bras, towels and anything else). Then imagine having to get allll your pumping gear out - and lo and behold there’s nowhere to put it down and you certainly aren’t going to put it on that grimy floor.
Space is a major concern for pumping moms - especially as not only is a bathroom cubicle cramp it certainly isn’t relaxing. Feeling relaxed is ESSENTIAL to not only the time it takes to pump but the quality of the pump and milk you express.
Discuss how we can help you create a hygienic functional lactation space at your employment. Book your free consultation today.
Have we missed any of your major concerns over using bathroom spaces to express? Let us know in the comments below .
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Gilberto E. Flores, Scott T. Bates, Dan Knights, Christian L. Lauber, Jesse Stombaugh, Rob Knight, Noah Fiere., (2011) Microbial Biogeography of Public Restroom Surfaces. PLOS ONE Open-Access Journal. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028132