Survey Examines Lactation Facilities and Planning at Colleges and Universities

A new study led by Dare Henry-Moss, a senior quality management analyst at Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia and adjunct fellow at the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, examines the record of colleges and universities on establishing lactation sites on campus.

According to the authors, “women in academia face challenges in continuing breastfeeding. Higher education campuses are investing in lactation support, but little is known about their approaches. This study explores the planning and design of lactation spaces on college and university campuses from the perspectives of campus planners and facility professionals, administrators, and other decision-makers.”

Researchers surveyed nearly 700 colleges and universities that are members of the Society for College and University Planning. The results showed that 94 percent of the respondents had a least one dedicated lactation site on campus. Some 68 percent reported having a policy for creating/identifying lactation spaces and 28 percent reported that the lactation space was included in campus construction standards.

Less than 20 percent of the colleges and universities surveyed responded. It would not be surprising that those that did respond would be more likely to have a good record in providing lactation facilities.

The authors concluded that “many campuses are building lactation infrastructure, but there is considerable variability in approaches and accommodations for lactation at higher education institutions. While local conditions, constraints, and demands will inform program development, decision-makers can leverage campus resources, recommendations, and design best practices to improve lactation experiences of women.”

Henry-Moss is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where she majored in anthropology. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

The full study, “An Exploration of Lactation Facilities and Planning in U.S. Higher Education Campuses,” was published on the website of the journal Breastfeeding Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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