Union opens mother's room

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By STEVEN SPEARS
News Editor
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Nursing mothers on campus now have a clean, quiet place to pump or breastfeed.
The Elliott Student Union added a nursing mother room to the women’s restroom in the Smiser Alumni Center last semester after years of having breastfeeding mothers go to whatever room was available at the time.
“Having a room that could be just for (nursing mothers) provides a more relaxing environment for the mom to be able to feed her child,” said Allison Norwood, an assistant professor in the nursing program and an internationally certified lactation consultant.
Norwood said the addition of a nursing mother room will allow students who are breastfeeding to focus on their studies instead of worrying about where to feed or pump.
“The whole goal is to relax, to make the student successful,” Norwood said. “And the student is going to be more successful if they’re meeting their goal of feeding.”
Norwood said the university needs to recognize that mothers have the desire to feed and students have the desire to excel in school, but student mothers have the desire to do both.
“The more we can blend those two, the better off we’re going to be as being a feeding-friendly institution,” she said.
Teresa Huffman, administrative coordinator of the Elliott Student Union, said approximately 10-15 women per semester ask for nursing accommodations in the Union. The Union also hosts many conferences throughout the year, increasing the need for a room dedicated to nursing mothers.
“We just had a need,” Huffman said. “We were constantly trying to find them a little nook or cranny somewhere.”
Norwood said the nursing mother room is a much-needed addition to the university. She said having a relaxing, clean environment is essential when nursing or pumping.
“You wouldn’t eat your meal in a bathroom. Why pump in a bathroom?”