Lactation Space Experiences and Preferences Among Health Care Workers in an Academic Medical Center.

Author ORCiD Identifier

Spatz: 0000-0001-7316-6616

Publication Title

Breastfeed Med

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PubMed ID



BACKGROUND: Comprehensive workplace lactation support programs can reduce the risk for early breastfeeding discontinuation; however, scant evidence is available to inform user-centered design of employee lactation spaces. This study describes health care workers' preferences for lactation space.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2016-2017, a convenience sample of 151 women who pumped at work at an academic medical center reported on demographics, lactation experiences, and room and equipment preferences through an online survey.

RESULTS: Respondents worked in research and administration (32%), were nurses (30%), physicians and medical students (19%), or allied health or clinical support staff (19%). Seventy percent had ever used one of the hospital's dedicated lactation spaces. Forty-nine percent ranked hospital-grade pumps the most important piece of lactation room equipment; 83% preferred multiple occupancy lactation suites; and the average maximum acceptable distance to lactation space was 5.6 minutes.

CONCLUSIONS: Optimal lactation infrastructure supports the immediate and long-term health of female workers and their children. User needs and preferences can guide design of lactation space to ensure a minimum standard for design, equipment, and distance. Workers may have different preferences depending on roles and experiences; thus, a variety of solutions may be most effective.


Academic Medical Centers, Adult, Breast Feeding, Female, Health Personnel, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Lactation, Middle Aged, Organizational Policy, Pennsylvania, Return to Work, Surveys and Questionnaires, Women, Working, Workplace



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