Being a mother is one of the most challenging jobs on earth and being a mother in college is even more complicated. Whether it’s staying up late and comforting a crying baby or pulling an all-nighter and studying for a final, being a mother and a student can be very stressful.
UTEP wants to help women by providing resources and support to them. The university offers places on campus for nursing mothers to freely nurse in a comfortable and private area. There are conveniently placed locations around campus to provide students and employees a safe space to lactate.
The three lactation rooms are located in Union Building East Bhutan Lounge, the Health Science and Nursing building in room 400, and University Towers in room 208. These rooms operate Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rooms provide privacy and a washing station for mothers and their babies.
In order to use the rooms, mothers must register online. Participants must enter their first and last name into the survey, along with their student or employee ID number, classification, department/event, contact information, the reason for reserving, location, time and date of usage, and signature for agreement to terms.
Some mothers are already using these new stations and are happy with the latest amenities the university has provided for them. They now feel they have a safe space for breastfeeding their children freely. One mother said she even hoped the University makes more lactation stations available across campus.
It is important for mothers to have a place to breastfeed; there are many benefits for both baby and mother. Some benefits include protecting the infant against type 2 diabetes and risks associated with obesity, lowering the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and gastrointestinal infections. It also helps reduce the mother’s risk for high blood pressure and cancer. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, breastfeeding is much easier for an infant to digest than the protein in the formula is. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to get sick than formula-fed babies as well.
Lactation stations have become more frequent since the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted March 23, 2010. It requires employers to provide a nursing mother with a reasonable break time to lactate and a proper private place besides a bathroom that the mother can use when breastfeeding.
More information about the new lactation stations is available here or by reaching out to UTEP Human Resources at [email protected]. Registration for the use of the stations can be completed here. Alyson Rodriguez may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.