A Guide To Setting Up A Lactation Station In The Workplace

Do you know that many health professionals nowadays are initiating the set up of a lactation station in the companies where they work?

Not only that it is required by law, but this room is very necessary for mothers who need to let down their milk. 

Read: Important Points Of The New Stricter OSH Law

You don’t want to see them in their working station pumping while working. You also don’t want to see them in your company’s toilet rooms or in the canteen where they will be exposed publicly. 

Mothers do need a private space where they can express and store their milk and experience a comfortable pumping session inside their offices.

Creating a policy helps ensure that the working mothers have access to the same level of support, no matter what type of workplace they have.

What law supports setting up a lactation station? 🤱

Philippine Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (RA 10028) mandates all health and non-health facilities, establishments, and institutions to put up a lactation station and to provide lactation breaks to all nursing employees in addition to their regular breaks. This is to encourage, protect, and support the practice of breastfeeding.  

Lactation accommodation will help nursing mothers to ease their transition in returning to work following the birth of their child.

It is one of their rights to comprehensive health services under Magna Carta of Women. 

What are the options in setting up a lactation station?

1. A corner shielded with screen or a movable divider that will ensure the privacy of the employee while expressing milk. 

2. It could be within the clinic but shielded from view by a divider.

3. A well-ventilated private room.

What can you find in a lactation station?

  • A comfortable chair, preferably adjustable height with good back support.
  • A table for breast pump and supplies.
  • Electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump.
  • A wash basin or a sink where they can quickly clean their breast pump attachment.
  • Small refrigerator or any cooling facility that is exclusively for storage of milk
  • An “Occupied”/ “In Use” signage for the door.
  • Logbook for daily registration of women using the lactation station.
  • Clock to monitor use of the room.
  • Supplies like alcohol or sanitizing gel, masking tape for labeling name and time of expression and paper towels
  • Covered trash can
  • Information about the lactation guidelines and about breastfeeding support services. Promotional ads of using breast milk substitute and infant formula are prohibited within the station. 

How long is a lactation break?

Employees shall be entitled to a reasonable break that is not less than 40 minutes for every eight (8) hour working period apart from her usual break time allotted for eating meals. 

As such, the nursing mother may be allowed 2 to 3 lactation breaks lasting 15 to 30 minutes within a workday.

The usage and schedule of lactation break may be negotiated thru a collective bargaining agreement or in a written policy agreed upon by the management and the working moms.

What are the responsibilities of a nursing mom?

  • The nursing mother must ensure that her breastfeeding equipment (i.e. pumping kits) used to collect milk shall be unplugged immediately after use.
  • She shall ensure that containers of the collected milk are properly labelled before storing this in the refrigerator inside the lactation station. 
  • She shall log her time in and out in the log sheet found in the lactation station. 
  • She shall retrieve her containers of collected milk from the lactation station before leaving the office. 
  • She shall keep the lactation station clean before and after use.

Again, for the employers who still can’t find reasons to provide a lactation station at work, here’s why.

1. Breastfeeding is important for the health of the mothers and their babies. This is why health professionals recommend mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for 6 months and to continue breastfeeding for 2 years or beyond along with the introduction of appropriate and adequate complementary food after six months. 

2. Breastfeeding is a normal biological process of mothers because her body continues to make milk and needs to express it about every 3 hours. Otherwise, the milk will build up in her breast causing pain and infection. 

3. A private, clean,relaxed, stressed-free station promotes comfort and faster and continuous flow of milk. Pumps can be noisy and mothers can be embarrassed about disturbing her co-workers if they pump in shared spaces. If mothers are stressed, they might not be able to pump milk.

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