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Lactation stations unused


Photo
Djamila Grossman/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The two breastfeeding booths in the Student Union Memorial Center have only been up for a couple of days, and few mothers have been using them. The booths were paid for by the student union.
By Ariel Serafin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
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New mothers can use stations to nurse young

Breastfeeding mothers will no longer have to pump milk in bathroom stalls now that new lactation stations have been opened in the Student Union Memorial Center.

The lactation stations, located on the fourth floor of the Student Union, opened a week ago and usage has been low, with only two people having signed in to use the cubicles so far.

The $5,000 cubicles were funded by the Arizona Student Unions, but are located in the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement.

Although only a small handful of women have used the stations, the amount of use is not important, as their purpose is to ensure that the UA campus is welcoming to all types of students, faculty and staff, said Heather Gasser, senior coordinator of commuter student affairs.

"If the presence of lactation stations on campus make attending the university easier for mothers who are either breastfeeding or pumping, it's worth it," Gasser said.

The number of users at the stations will increase as more mothers learn about their installation, Gasser said.

"The usage rate is low right now because there hasn't been a lot of press about their existence," Gasser said. "I know that once the word gets out there, we will have more use."

New mother and senior coordinator for campus activities and union galleries, Chrissy Lieberman, said she uses the stations for pumping approximately once or twice a week despite the fact that she has a private office.

"It actually has been a very convenient place to go," Lieberman said.

The stations are the only areas on the main UA campus dedicated exclusively to breastfeeding and pumping needs, and are expected to receive additional amenities like a table, nursing stool and ideally a hospital grade nursing pump, Gasser said.

Lieberman said she had a sense of how difficult it would be for students to find a private place for breastfeeding purposes when she noticed a woman pumping milk in a bathroom stall.

"I can't even imagine trying to find a place that you could do that," Lieberman said. "You have to have some sense of being relaxed or it just doesn't work."

Gasser said Commuter Student Affairs is attempting to increase awareness about the stations, by preparing a memo to send to deans, directors, and departments, and hosting an open house in the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement.

Lieberman said she attributes the low rate of use to the stations being located in the middle of an office, which modest mothers might have to get used to.

But, she said, the stations were an important step in recognizing the difficulty of being a student or working parent.

"Being a new mom is stressful enough," Lieberman said.



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