Guidelines for Nursing Mothers

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which President Obama recently signed into law in 2010, employers must provide “a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.”
In addition, the PPACA requires employers to provide space for nursing mothers for one year after the child’s birth. Although the act is silent on provisions such as how many rooms should be allotted per employer, the law is clear that the space should be “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”    

Guidelines & Recommendations

Because space is at a premium, many departments may need to think creatively to identify a location to accommodate nursing moms. We offer some guidelines and recommendations to assist you:
  • Bathrooms may not be utilized as a space for nursing moms.
  • The identified space should:
    • have at least one three-prong outlet,
    • be available on a regular basis at half-hour intervals for at least three to four times daily,
    • have a locked door,
    • be outfitted with blinds or shades that can be drawn to cover the windows, if necessary,
    • be shielded from public view,
    • be void of intrusions from co-workers, and
    • be a comfortable location for the nursing mother, such as a room with a couch or a comfortable chair.
Ideas for such spaces include offices or conference rooms that can be reserved on a regular basis. Spaces to avoid include janitorial closets, supply closets, and bathrooms.
If you need assistance to identify space for a nursing mother, please contact your senior human resources manager or a member of the Benefits Team at 258-3302 or
You can count on support from knowledgeable and responsive HR staff. Just call or send us an email. We’re here to help!