Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life introduces mother’s room


Catherine Fennell

The LBC introduced the optimal mother’s room by removing the toilet, installing a new countertop and purchasing a new chair.

Starting this semester, the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life will feature a mother’s room on the second floor directly across from Qatar Ballroom. The room is available with key access from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Previously, the space for the mother’s room in the LBC was a bathroom stall reserved for mothers. There was not a room customized for those who were breastfeeding or pumping breast milk.

“Before, I was actually using an empty office downstairs in the basement because my current office is all glass, so that is one of the reasons I can’t use my own office,” Smita Ruzicka, assistant vice president for campus life, said.

Prior to the introduction of the mother’s room, many people did not have the proper space to pump.

“Mothers’ rooms are really supposed to be dedicated solely to being a mother’s room, so our renovation was primarily transitioning it from a restroom stall to being exclusively a mother’s room,” LBC Director Heather Seaman said.

To make the space into an optimal mother’s room, the toilet was removed, a new countertop was installed and a new chair was purchased. A larger counter was installed to provide room for the various supplies necessary for pumping. A new chair was added because mothers may be sitting in the room for long periods of time. The sink remains in the room so that people are able to clean their supplies as needed.

“We just tried to make it more of a welcoming space and transition it from being a bathroom stall to being exclusively a mother’s room,” Seaman said.

Ruzicka said she is pleased with the introduction and renovation of the mother’s room.

“I think the staff have done a great job of really thinking through the details of what is needed for moms who are pumping,” Ruzicka said. “From a very comfortable chair to providing a hook for folks to put their clothes or their bags up and electrical outlets, it is very convenient.”

The mother’s room was introduced in the LBC because it is a central spot on campus. It is an open space intended for faculty, students or community members attending events on campus.

“We do get requests all the time to use the space, whether it’s from people who work here, for them it’s being used on a consistent basis,” Seaman said. “There [are] a few hours throughout the day that they will always come in, we have our regulars, but we also get a lot of people who are here for a one time event or for a conference who want to know if that is an amenity that we offer, and so it is important to us that we have one.”

Seaman and others responsible for introducing the mother’s room to campus hope the room will provide an easily accessible space for nursing parents.

“We want this to be a supportive environment for faculty, staff or students that are both trying to work or go to school and still having to breastfeed and pump,” Seaman said. “Knowing that we can create a central space that was nicely designed for them was really the motivation.”

*The term “mother’s room” is used in the article to report the name of the new space. It can, however, be used by any parent or person who needs to nurse.

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