Should All Businesses Have Nursing Rooms For Moms Who Breastfeed?
In case it wasn’t on your calendar, last week was World Breastfeeding Week, the purpose of which was to encourage more mommies to nurse their children and others to support those who do. While this cause might not be high up there on your list of priorities, this issue can still impact you in some way. Outside the scope of company benefits — including the fight for paid maternity leave (the United States lags behind) — at some point, you’re almost guaranteed to run into a new mother who’s likely nursing her child.
This is one of the reasons why companies are rethinking protocol when it comes to parental leave and making work/life balance more manageable. IBM, for example, gave the thumbs up not too long ago to provide milk delivery services for traveling moms. There are also more office perks for working mothers — including a “mommy room” to express breast milk.
With so much progress happening on the work front, it makes you wonder if other businesses should follow suit when it comes to customers who are nursing moms.
As a mommy of two kids under age two, I can’t tell you how much of a pain it can be when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Bottles have to be warmed and properly refrigerated, which makes them a no-go in my book (why pack a cooler when you can use your breast?). I personally am not comfortable with showing my goodies to the world, however, so I look for ways to not bring attention to myself. Thankfully, my oldest has been off an “all breast milk diet” for quite some time, but man can it be a challenge with my infant. I find myself spending more time than I’d like in public restrooms (would you eat your meal in a place with tons of toilets?) when he needs his liquid fix, or creating a tent of blankets in my backseat to prevent onlookers from peeking inside. Yes, I could wear a nursing cover and just go about my business, but I am too chicken considering the amount of women popping up in the news — and the criticism they receive — who have to nurse outside their home.
Nordstrom, Baby GAP and even IKEA have been praised among mommies for their public nursing rooms ladies with little ones can use to feed their child in private. I’m sure most aren’t for shopping or eating next to a woman with a baby attached to her boob in plain view (kudos to you if you’re unbothered), but having a room for mothers to use would be a plus — not to mention a huge hit among mom consumers who will likely phone a friend in excitement.
In fact, it might help to bring in more business as families are always looking for friendly places to shop and dine. No one says companies need to provide breast pumps and super comfy rocking chairs for that matter. They would be greatly appreciated, but for now, four walls, a couple chairs and a table or two will do.
It actually surprises me that businesses don’t dedicate a room for this purpose. There are websites like Moms Pump Here that have a nursing room locator for moms to identify businesses and institutions with a space to breastfeed.
Dishing out a few dollars to cater to a popular demographic makes sense to me.
What say you? Should companies consider adding a nursing room for their mommy customers to use?