UH Hilo campus lactation room offers privacy to new moms

Although federal law requires a lactation room only for employees, student mothers are also welcome to utilize the room, if it is available.

Interior of the UH Hilo lactation room in Campus Center
UH Hilo’s private lactation room.

A private room at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Campus Center offers new mothers a comfortable, locked, lactation room to express milk.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide unpaid, reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for a year after her child’s birth. The act defines a “private place” as a place, other than a bathroom, that may be used by an employee to express breast milk; the private place must be shielded from view and free from intrusions from co-workers and the general public.

Although the law requires a lactation room only for employees, student mothers are also welcome to utilize the room, if it is available.

According to an article by Clara Scheidle in the spring 2020 issue of Ke Kalahea, UH Hilo’s student news website, the room is small but cozy, “lit with warm yellow light, cast over light grey chairs and dark wooden furniture which rest on carpeted floor.” All the furniture was donated by UH Hilo Student Association and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity. There are two works of art, donated by Professor Michael Marshall of UH Hilo’s art department, mounted on the walls.

“Our goal is to create a space that is very comfortable for mom and baby,” says Lai Sha Bugado, director of the Campus Center.

User responsibilities

The mother must bring her own pump and supplies. Chairs, table, and privacy screen are provided. The room is available work days from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. To reserve the room or to check if the room is available, go to the Campus Center Office, room 210, or call 932-7365, or contact via email at campusct@hawaii.edu. Moms must first check in at room #210 to gain access the lactation room.

The successful operation of the lactation room depends on the voluntary efforts of the users. Each mother is responsible for bringing her own pump and supplies.

Guidelines to keep the room clean and available:

  • Contact the Campus Center Office at 932-7365 to reserve a time to use the room.
  • Access to the lactation room is only for the purposes of expressing breast milk or for breast feeding (average time required: 30-45 minutes).
  • No guests are allowed in the room.
  • Fully close the door when done.
  • When done, turn the “in use” sign on the door to the blank side.
  • Check out with the Campus Center staff in room #210 when you are done.

Due to heightened COVID-19 safety measures, Campus Center staff will sanitize the lactation room after each use of the room.

To report any concerns (room access, cleaning or maintenance issues), contact Annette Sugimoto at Human Resources.