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Breastfeeding facilities launched on campus

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The Parent and Family Network and the Staff Forum are pleased to announce the launch of the University’s first dedicated facilities for colleagues who return to work whilst breastfeeding and need to express milk during the day.

The first ‘Parents’ Room’ has been completed and is located at L22 CD201 at London Road campus, and ready for use by any colleagues who need it. There will eventually be three ‘Parents’ Rooms’, with additional rooms opening in the Library on Whiteknights campus and the Meteorology building at Earley Gate; these will be completed and open for use by the beginning of the Autumn term.

The question of whether it will be possible to express whilst at work is something which influences many new mothers’ decisions about when to return to work after maternity leave and when to end their breastfeeding journey. In fact, the difficulty of arranging suitable spaces to express milk at work was one of the issues which prompted the creation of the Parent and Family Network.

This project began in 2019 as a proposal submitted to the Staff Forum’s call for staff welfare projects. The proposal was successful and three rooms across the Whiteknights and London Road campuses were identified for the purpose. Unfortunately, the onset of the pandemic and the move to home working caused the project to stall but with more staff set to return to campus in the near future we hope that these rooms will ease the transition back into work and back onto campus for any colleagues who are still breastfeeding and need somewhere comfortable and private to express milk.

The rooms will all be furnished with a nursing chair and small fridge where breastmilk can be stored if a fridge is not available in your working area or if you are working away from your normal office. Plug sockets are available for any electric pumps. The rooms are also suitable for use by pregnant colleagues who need rest facilities.

Dr Allán Laville, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion says:

“The work by the Parent and Family Network and the Staff Forum on this project is to be commended. The availability of breastfeeding facilities is a key step in supporting mothers to return to work and accessing required resources. In turn, there is greater flexibility for new mothers to decide when they can return to work and make sure the needs of their new-born are met.”

Professor Dominik Zaum, UEB Diversity Champion for Maternity and Parental Leave says:

 

“The establishment of breastfeeding and parents’ rooms on our campuses has been a hugely important initiative by the Parents and Family Network. While delayed by the COVID pandemic, providing such facilities is an important step in supporting in particular mothers’ returning from maternity leave, and will complement a more flexible approach to working on campus that will support parents and families.”

For further information on the Parents’ Rooms please contact the Parent and Family Network co-chairs (e.mcmanus-fry@reading.ac.uk, lindsey.keys@henley.ac.uk and n.a.honkala@reading.ac.uk).

 

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