Professional News

UK Introduces Lactation Guidelines for Employees


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2010) − The University of Kentucky has implemented new guidelines to ensure that new mothers have ample support for breastfeeding after returning to work. 

The goal of the new guidelines is to provide a supportive environment for mothers returning to work and wishing to continue providing breast milk for their children. The Work-Life Task Force developed the guidelines after reviewing the best practices in lactation support among benchmark employers. The task force, which was led by Dr. Jay Perman, dean of the UK College of Medicine and vice president for clinical affairs, developed the guidelines with the input of Provost Kumble Subbaswamy's staff.

"Both new mothers and managers should find the new guidelines valuable and help reduce stress when requests are submitted," said Ashley Tabb, UK Information Technology communications manager. Tabb was able to provide breast milk for her daughter for nine months, thanks to the support of her manager.

While some departments on campus already support and accommodate mothers who wish to breastfeed, the implementation of these new guidelines will ensure that the support reaches campuswide.

As a mother herself, Christy Fitch, a UK Human Resources employment consultant, said, "I’ve reviewed the guidelines and I think it will be a helpful tool for employees who wish to continue breastfeeding and pumping after they return to work."

Robynn Pease, director of the UK Work-Life Office, strongly encourages women who plan to pump after returning to work to speak to their supervisors before leaving for maternity leave. 

"These guidelines are meant to support women who wish to pump, and they encourage supervisors to recognize and support the needs of their employees," said Pease.

Lauren Goodpaster, program director for leadership and service in the Office of Student Involvement, said, "I hope that this new direction allows more working moms to make the decision to breastfeed in order to provide the best nutrition for their little ones."   

One space in UK Chandler Hospital has been set aside for breastfeeding women. Women are encouraged to seek out other appropriate spaces close to their work areas and to speak to their supervisors about working out a schedule. Pease points out that pumping does not have to be a huge undertaking, sometimes taking as little as 15 minutes, twice a day to complete.

Some highlights of the guidelines include:

 * Facilities: Departments should strive to provide space for lactation, in reasonably close proximity to the work area.

 * Scheduling: With adequate notice, departments should provide a private space for lactation, in reasonably close proximity to the work area.

 * Scheduling: With adequate notice, departments should provide scheduling flexibility with consideration of university business needs (allocating existing lunch or break time for purposes of lactation)

 * Education and Consultative Support: Services are available through the UK Work-Life Office and UK HealthCare to support UK employees and departments.