Nursing room opens at Ashland University


Bella Pacinelli, FEATURES EDITOR

Ashland University’s new Nursing Mother’s Room is now open to faculty, staff, students and visitors on the second floor of the Hawkins-Conard Student Center.

The idea for this project was presented to Dr. Deborah Sullivan, Director of AU’s Campus Wellness.

“I have what I’d call an advisory group, called Eagle Well, which is a group of professionals on campus,” Sullivan explained. “The idea came up through one of our meetings and I looked into it.”

Sullivan quickly learned that it is “required by most businesses to have some type of support for women who are breastfeeding and/or expressing milk.”

From this moment forward, Sullivan took the steps necessary to get the Lactation Room approved.

Those at Human Resources agreed to the plan without hesitation. Additionally, “Facilities was so gracious in creating this beautiful room,” Sullivan said.

The Nursing Mother’s Room includes a reclining chair, sink, and refrigerator. It is available to anyone on a first come first serve basis.

Users must retrieve a key from Safety Services on the first floor to unlock the room. Guests must show photo ID however, affiliates of the university do not.

“Once they get in there, they lock the door and it will either say vacant or occupied,” Sullivan said. There is also a calendar in case someone wants to sign up to use the room in advance.

The Student Center was an ideal location for the room due to it being open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Bella Pacinelli
The inside of the nursing mothers room

“We wanted to create a space, it’s optional, not required, to encourage mothers to continue to express milk so that they can continue to feed their babies breast milk which is the best alternative for them health-wise,” Sullivan said.

Jill MacKenzie, mother and Administrative Assistant at the Recreation Center, believes that this private room is necessary.

“I think that there should be a dedicated space where mothers feel comfortable and they’re able to pump at work and also for visitors that come here,” MacKenzie said.

Janel Molnar, mother and Director of the Recreation Center, agrees with MacKenzie.

“It shows that we support mothers and that we’re providing those resources for them,” Molnar said. “If they want to have a space that is a private space to do that in, it’s a beautiful room to use.”

“It is wonderful, it is calming, it is relaxing and that’s what a mother needs to nurse or pump,” MacKenzie said.

Both of these mothers can see themselves using the Lactation Room if they are away from their offices for a meeting or other activity in the Student Center.

In the future, Sullivan hopes for another Nursing Mother’s Room to be created on campus. “We’ll see how the demand goes and we’ll see what the options are,” she said.

In the meantime, “I hope that users will feel safe and comfortable and know that Ashland University supports them in their desire to be a mother that comes back to work but can still feed her child with breast milk,” Sullivan said.