The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) to offer lactation rooms on campus.
These rooms provide a comfortable, private space for mothers who need to breastfeed their children or pump while on campus. Each room is equipped with a refrigerator, nursing pads, a white noise machine, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and a changing station.
“I am very pleased that UA Little Rock will now be providing this important resource to students and employees who might otherwise experience barriers to full participation in work and study at this institution,” Chancellor Christina Drale said. “I also want to express my appreciation to all of the people who advocated for lactation rooms and helped make it a reality at UA Little Rock.”
The rooms have been strategically located across campus for added convenience to new mothers. Lactation rooms are available in Dickinson Hall Room 300-H, Reynolds Business Building Room 362, and Health Services in the Donaghey Student Center.
Breastfeeding has been linked to fewer incidences of ear and upper respiratory infections in infants, sudden infant death syndrome, and obesity. In addition, breastfeeding benefits mothers by reducing their risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and aids in losing weight gained during pregnancy. Mothers who receive support to breastfeed, through their family, employer or community, are more likely to continue exclusively breastfeeding for the recommended six months’ time frame, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Breastfeeding has many benefits for mom and baby,” said Renee Mallory, Arkansas Department of Health chief of staff. “Lactation rooms help to support moms as they return to work and school after having a baby. I commend UA Little Rock for placing several lactation rooms across campus, and I encourage other organizations to consider creating lactation rooms as well.”
Having a clean and private place to pump will help new mothers feel supported by the university and will help with the transition after maternity leave.
“The availability of lactation rooms will make it easier for nursing mothers and encourage them to continue their breastfeeding journey,” Michelle Lewis, a lead programmer analyst at UA Little Rock and a new mother. “Given all of the challenges of having a newborn, it is a relief to know that UA Little Rock is an advocate for new moms and fosters a family-friendly campus.”
To reserve one of the rooms or to access breastfeeding resources, go to ualr.edu/lactation.
The month of August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, a campaign funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which hopes to empower women to commit to breastfeeding. Individuals or organizations interested in learning how they can support breastfeeding can learn more by visiting the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition at www.arbfc.org.
The Expressly for You breastfeeding helpline (501) 202-7378 is also available 24 hours, seven days a week to mothers who have questions or need advice. The Arkansas Breastfeeding Helpline (1-844-344-0408) is also available 24/7. Additional information, including lactation room design plans and community breastfeeding resources can be found at healthyactive.org.