Spaces to breastfeed available on campus

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: AMY SCOTT
The Student Wellness Centre offers students the opportunity to book quiet rooms where they can breastfeed.

After being approached by a student inquiring about what is available to breastfeeding mothers on campus, Fanshawe’s Sexual Violence Prevention Advisor Leah Marshall felt the need to start a conversation about the resources and spaces available to these students.

“I think as our student population is changing all the time, and we have such a diverse student population we need to be more transparent about what’s accessible on campus for students to be able to pump or breastfeed if they need the space,” said Marshall.

Unbeknownst to many, the Student Wellness Centre offers a quiet space where new mothers can pump or breastfeed.

While the space is not exclusively for breastfeeding students, but also for napping, spiritual needs, or any other resting needs, new mothers are allowed to use the room for up to an hour when needed.

Students must first activate their Wellness Centre membership through WebAdvisor, at which point they can then book the rooms at the front desk.

“The college offers quiet/napping space that meets the student social, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and individual needs,” said Jodi Anderson, the fitness and wellness program director at the Student Wellness Centre. “The rooms at the Wellness Centre are one of the resources many students take advantage of to aid them in some of the above needs. Quiet space for spiritual needs to reflect and clear the mind, comfortable space to rest and nap between classes, breastfeeding mothers and a safe place for students to relax away from the busy halls.”

The rooms include a reclining arm chair and a locking door.

Marshall believes that resources like the quiet rooms are essential in ensuring that students do not face barriers when attending Fanshawe.

“It’s important to acknowledge with our student demographic, that we want to ensure that no matter what someone has going on in their personal life, that we are able to support them with having safe spaces to do things like breastfeeding or pumping,” said Marshall.

She noted that washrooms alone do not fulfill the needs of breastfeeding mothers.

“Washrooms aren’t a sanitary option in terms of being able to pump or breastfeed,” said Marshall. “You wouldn’t prepare food in a washroom and if you are pumping for the purpose of feeding a baby, having a sanitary and private space is essential.”

At the current moment, Anderson says that the quiet rooms are meeting the needs of breastfeeding mothers, but that the Student Wellness Centre consistently evaluates and assess the needs of students as programs and new services are implemented.

To book a quiet/napping room, students can visit the wellness centre front desk between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.