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Nursing students helped develop three designated breastfeeding spaces on campus.

Published Mon Apr 11th 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

KINGSTON - Individuals looking for a safe, quiet space on campus to breastfeed their babies now have three new locations to choose from. Nursing students Kyrinne Lockhart (NSc’16) and Rachel Hannigan (NSc’16) have assisted in developing and promoting dedicated rooms in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), the Cataraqui Building and the Ban Righ Centre.

The two Queen’s nursing students were building off the success of Lorne Beswick, Vice-President Campaigns and Community Affairs, Society of Graduate and Professional Students, who initially developed the family room in the JDUC.

“This project was something we were definitely interested in because of the impact it has on campus,” says Ms. Hannigan. “Statistics show that 91.8 per cent of women breastfeed, but only 33 per cent breastfeed exclusively for six months or longer. We want to provide a space to facilitate breastfeeding and pumping milk and encourage more women to continue.”

The students spent the winter term under the guidance of supervisor Katie Goldie (School of Nursing), certified lactation consultant Alicia Papanicolaou and Christina Godfrey (School of Nursing). The students completed a comprehensive assessment of breastfeeding spaces on campus, connected with key stakeholders locally and nationally and reviewed the research literature regarding best practices and accessibility requirements.

The pair used the results of their research as they developed the three new spaces. Each room includes a comfortable chair, pillows and a power outlet for women who wish to pump their breast milk. A door ensures privacy and each location is clearly marked with accessible signage. There is also access to a nearby sink and sanitizer in the Ban Righ Centre and change tables in the JDUC.

The Ban Righ Centre has always been a welcoming space for women who want to breastfeed, according to Director Carole Morrison. The designated room now offers women additional privacy as they enjoy quiet time with their baby.

“Breastfeeding can and should happen anywhere, but this gives our female students another option,” says Ms. Morrison.

 Ms. Lockhart and Ms. Hannigan hope their project leads to more designated spaces across campus.

“We are optimistic that this project raises awareness that women need breastfeeding spaces on campus,” says Ms. Hannigan. “We are sure there are other rooms on campus that aren’t being used that could be turned into private spaces for nursing mothers.”

The Equity Office at Queen’s is launching an app in September that will indicate designated breastfeeding rooms on campus, and there is an online map available to help locate the rooms on campus.

Link to story in Queen's Gazette