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Work Life

Establishing a Nursing Mother's Program


As a large employer that must recruit and retain a strong workforce, the Federal Government is challenged to set the pace in changing the culture of the American workplace to support employees who are devoted to their families. This includes nursing mothers who want to continue lactation after they return to the office.

Breast-feeding is the method of choice for many mothers. Some mothers choose to combine breast-feeding with formula feeding by nursing before and after work and on their days off. But for the mother who desires to feed her baby breast milk exclusively, a Nursing Mothers Program at the workplace would help achieve this goal. This guide provides information on establishing such a program.

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Benefits of Breast-feeding

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other sources, some of the benefits of breast-feeding for babies are:

  • Fewer ear and respiratory infections;
  • Protection against SIDS--sudden infant death syndrome;
  • Lower mortality rate for infants;
  • Fewer allergies;
  • Reduced incidences of cancer;
  • Action as first brain food to help to set down the proper matrix for humans; and
  • Reduced medical costs for both mother and baby.

Documented benefits for mothers include:

  • Fewer incidents of pre-menopausal ovarian and breast cancer;
  • Ability to eat more while potentially losing weight;
  • Potential savings of as much as $100 per month in formula costs;
  • Strong, early bonding of mother and child; and
  • Less time missed from work because of improved health of baby.
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Lactation at the Office

Conference Report 107-253, accompanying Public Law 107-67, which was enacted on November 12, 2001, cited the following in Section 631: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.

Not long ago breast-feeding was considered a private affair, solely carried out in the home. But today, many mothers are choosing to continue breast-feeding after they return to work. In order for mothers to keep producing ample supplies of milk, so they can avoid using formula supplements, nursing mothers need to pump their milk during the workday.

Because of the large numbers of mothers choosing to do this, many corporations and Federal agencies are beginning to offer lactation programs to working mothers who return to the job after being  on leave for the birth of a child. It doesn't require a lot of money to set up a Nursing Mothers Program. At a bare minimum, all that is required is a room with an outlet, refrigerator and chair that can be used as a pumping station.

The following outlines a successful Nursing Mothers Program.


A room that provides privacy is most important. The room should be large enough to contain an end table, two chairs and a small refrigerator. In addition, the room should have at least two electrical outlets. One outlet will be for the pump and the other can accommodate the refrigerator and any personal pumps.


Small table and chairs; Sink (nearby if not in room); Small refrigerator; Trash can

Breast Pump

There are many manufacturers of breast pumps from which to choose. Just remember to beware of breast pumps labeled "personal use"when searching for the right one to equip the pumping room.  Those types of pumps have low durability and are not sanitary for use as a multi-user unit.

In some cases, a mother may decide to use her own breast pump instead of the industrial unit one that is located in the pumping room.


  1. Anti-bacterial soap (to clean equipment after use)
  2. Paper towels
  3. Hooks (to hang tubing to dry after cleaning)
  4. Bulletin board (for information sharing)


The door should have a door lock. The best type is a combination lock so that as the mothers change or on a quarterly basis, the combination can be changed. This ensures that only those in the program have access to the room.

Room Point of Contact

Designate someone to be Room Point of Contact (POC) to handle the daily responsibilities such as cleaning, pump schedules, email, facility problems, etc. The POC would be responsible for new mothers indoctrination, supplies, and other areas as necessary.

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Government Agencies with Successful Nursing Mothers Programs

When beginning a new program, it is always helpful to talk to others who have been successful in what you are attempting to do. Following is a list of agencies that have implemented a nursing mothers program and can share with you lessons learned. The contacts listed are the work/life coordinators for that agency.

National Security Agency

This agency has successfully implemented a service for breast-feeding mothers to pump and store their breast milk while at work. They have been a leader in supporting nursing mothers in the workplace since the 1980's.

Contact: Charlotte Farrand
Phone: (301) 688-1697

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service

This agency has procured a private room, pump, refrigerator and resource materials for breast-feeding mothers. It also conducted a survey of employee attitudes regarding support of breast feeding in the workplace.

3101 Park Center Drive, Room 540
Alexandria, VA 22302
Contact: Jackie Rodriguez
Phone: (703) 305-2692

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

This agency's internal work/life program has established a Nursing Mothers Program designed to help working mothers make the transition back to work while continuing to provide their children with the best nutrition possible. Individuals are able to sign up for private time slots to use state-of-the-art equipment and have access to refrigeration facilities.

1900 E Street, NW., Room 6460
Washington, DC 20415-7800
Contact: Caprice D. Miller
Phone: (202) 606-2063

U.S. Department of State

This agency's "Mothers Room" is a special room set aside for the breast-feeding mother to have a quiet, relaxed atmosphere to pump her milk while on the job. The room is equipped with an electric breast pump, refrigerator, sink, bulletin board, sofa, and chair.

Office of Medical Services
Health Unit, Room 2313
Columbia Plaza SA 1
Washington, DC 20037
Contact: Judy Zarbo, RN
Phone: (202) 647-2546

U.S. Department of Transportation

In order to accommodate women who are breastfeeding, the Work/Life Program of the TASC/DOT Connection maintains a lactation room for nursing mothers. The on-site lactation room provides privacy, a pleasant environment and comfortable chairs.

TASC/DOT Connection
Work/Life Program

400 7th Street, SW.
Washington, DC 20590
Contacts: DeShawn Shepard
Phones (202) 366-8085

U.S. General Accounting Office

This agency provides a small suite with a private bathroom, a small refrigerator,comfortable chair with pillows, a clock, and locked storage space for mothers who want to leave their breast pumps in the room.

441 G Street, NW., Room 1553
Washington, DC 20548
Contact: Judith Urban
Phone: (202) 512-3824

U.S. Department of Labor

Nursing mothers are supported through the Department's Safety and Health Unit, which provides a private and comfortable room for mothers to express milk. Mothers can also pick up their babies from DOL's on-site child care center and bring them up to the Safety and Health Unit for quiet feeding and bonding time.

WorkLife Center
200 Constitution Avenue, SW.
Washington, DC 20210
Contact: Anne Bartels
Phone: (202) 693-7610

"Since our agency was established in 1975, I have been the only nursing mother on staff. This is my second child. I nursed the first for six months and intend to nurse my now seven-month old for a year. The agency nursing program consists of the following: I close the door of my office and pump three times a day. 

I hang a little sign of a cow on the closed door to warn everyone away. This is hardly a formal "program"; nevertheless, it has allowed me to continue providing my infant with breast milk full-time while I am working full-time.

The agency director is extremely supportive of my efforts -- always allows me time to pump and does not ask me, in general, to attend business-related evening functions. The nursing is an important commitment and my agency has made it possible for me to continue while fully carrying out my professional responsibilities."

Pamela Fields
Assistant Executive Director, CULCON
Japan-US Friendship Commission

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Resources for Breast-feeding Education, Management and Support

The following organizations can provide additional information on breast-feeding.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

The AAP supports breast-feeding through its employee lactation program, the activities of the Work Group on Breast-feeding, the network of State Chapter Breast-feeding Coordinators, the federally-funded Breast-feeding Promotion in Pediatric Office Practices program, and a variety of national efforts. Information about AAP breast-feeding initiatives and the policy statement "Breast-feeding and the Use of Human Milk" are available on the Internet.

141 Northwest Point Blvd.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Contact: Betty L. Crase
Phone: (847) 981-4779

LAMAZE International

This Society supports breast-feeding as a part of its educational curriculum for LAMAZE International-certified child-birth educators. Through its toll-free line, it serves as a resource to parents on child-birth classes, pregnancy and parenting.

1200 19th Street, NW.
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036-2422
Hotline: (800) 368-4404

International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners

This organization maintains a registry of current board-certified lactationconsultants.

7309 Arlington Boulevard Suite 300
Falls Church, VA 22042-3215
Contact: JoAnne W. Scott,
Executive Director
Phone: (703) 560-7330
Fax: (703) 560-7332

International Lactation Consultant Association

This Association is an international organization representing lactation consultants.

201 Brown Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
Contact: Jan Barger
Phone: (708) 260-8874

La Leche League International

This organization is an international organization recognized as an authority on breast-feeding. It offers a toll-free help line, professional and lay publications and mother-to-mother support groups in many communities.

9616 Minneapolis Avenue
Franklin Park, IL 60131
Hot Line: (800) 525-3243

National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health

This organization is a national resource which provides information and educational sources as well as technical assistance to organizations, agencies, and individuals with maternal/child health interests.

2000 15th Street North, Suite 701
Arlington, VA 22201

National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

The HMHB is a recognized leader and resource in maternal and child health composed of more than 130 national, professional, voluntary and government organizations with a common interest in growing healthy families. The HMHB provides an innovative forum for collaborative partnership of public and private organizations, employers, policymakers and consumers to promote and improve culturally and linguistically appropriate, community-based services that foster healthy mothers, healthy babies and healthy families. Its purpose is to encourage culturally and linguistically appropriate services for pregnant women, new mothers and their families through educational activities and through sharing of information and resources.

121 North Washington Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Contact: Leslie Dunne,
Director of Member Services
Phone: (703) 836-6110
Fax: (703) 836-3470

Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH)/ National Business Partnership to Improve Family Health

The WBGH is an organization of Fortune 500 employers working to improve health care financing and delivery. National Business Partnership to Improve Family Health is a major five-year initiative of WBGH funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, DHHS, and the private sector to improve maternal and child health status, benefits, policies and programs.

777 N. Capitol Street, NE., Suite 800
Washington, DC 20002
Contact: Julie Gonen, Director
Phone: (202) 408-9320

Wellstart International

Wellstart International is a private, non-profit educational organization that emphasizes the promotion of breast-feeding as an integral part of maternal health, infant nutrition, health and development, and family planning and reproductive health.   Wellstart is an internationally renowned resource for education and technical support, including on-site training for health professionals in lactation management.

4062 First Avenue
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 295-5192
Fax: (619) 574-8159

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Suppliers of Breast Pumps

Listed below are companies which rent and sell electric and hand-operated breast pumps.

4610 Prime Parkway
McHenry, IL 60050-7005
Phone: (800) 435-8316

White River
924 Calle Negocio
San Clemente, CA 92673
Phone: (800) 824-6351

Bailey Medical Engineering
2216 Sunset Drive
Los Osos, CA 93402
Phone: (805) 528-5781
Fax: (805) 528-1461

Bosom Buddies, Inc.
1554 Emerson
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: (888) 860-0041

Little Koala
P. O. Box 9102
Pittsburgh, PA 15224-9102
Phone: (412) 687-1239
Fax: (412) 687-5353

Maternal Instincts
8575 South Redwood Road
West Jordan, UT 84088
Phone: (888) 660-PUMP (7867)
Fax: (801) 260-3174

Totally Baby
30 Hopper Street
Islip, NY 11751
Phone: (516) 581-6651
Fax: (516) 333-3583

MCH Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 6241
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Contact: Rona Cohen, President
Corporate Lactation Programs
Phone: (800) 822-6688
Fax: (310) 552-2100

NOTE: The list of organizations and companies in this brochure is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or promotion by either the Federal Government or the Office of Personnel Management. Endorsement or promotion of a particular company or organization is prohibited by Federal Law.

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