"I can see being a mom, student and worker why it's so important we have that support," said Jennifer Delia, 28, whose son, Corban, was born in June.
"You should never make a mom choose between her child and education," she said. "That should go hand in hand."
The issue of designating a lactation room was first raised last year by fellow student Kristina Madden. She asked for help from the college's student government board. Delia is one of its members.
At universities, it's not uncommon to have multiple lactation rooms, Delia said. The University of Washington has at least 15, she said.
"At a community college, you would think it would be obvious," she said. Yet space is at a premium. "I learned space is very valuable," she said. "It's really hard to find a single-purpose, designated space."
The issue took on new meaning for Delia when she learned she was pregnant with her first child not long after the request for the lactation room was made.
A former study room was identified as a possible location. Delia was in attendance at the year's last meeting of the student governing board in June, where the lactation room was approved. It was just days before her son was born June 20.
Over the summer, she worked with community volunteers to get the room ready. It was repainted. A couch, rocking chair and refrigerator were added. A breast pump was located.
Delia considers it one of the best lactation rooms around, though it was outfitted on an Ikea budget. "Ours really gives a sense of calming and a private place for moms to feed their babies or if they need to pump to do it without the fear of being exposed," she said.
The room opened last month as a pilot project. The student government group will decide by June whether it should continue.
The opening of the new lactation center will also be celebrated during a breastfeeding information and education event, called Latch On To Your Community. It's scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 28 in the college's Triton Student Center, Brier Hall.
The Everett Community College doesn't have a dedicated lactation room but is searching for a location, said Katherine Schiffner, a college spokeswoman. However, students and employees can use rooms in Olympus or Rainier halls, she said.
"As a breastfeeding mom, I know that it can be challenging to find a place to breastfeed or pump," she said. "I would not have anticipated how hard this is. Yes, it's an issue."
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
"Latch on to Your Community," an informational event to promote breastfeeding, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 28 at Edmonds Community College's Triton Student Center, Brier Hall. The event is free and open to the public. It will include speakers and information tables.
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