Lactation Room Requirements

MIT guidelines require supervisors to provide reasonable break time and a private place, shielded from view and free from intrusion, to express milk during the workday. A bathroom is not acceptable for this purpose.

Space coordinators should familiarize themselves with the following MIT recommendations regarding lactation room set-up.

Ad hoc space

This may be the mother's own office or a multi-purpose space (such as a conference room, vacant office, storeroom, or someone else's office) adapted on a temporary basis for the purposes of pumping or breastfeeding. The minimum requirements are:      

  • Door that locks
  • Electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump
  • Good lighting and ventilation
  • Comfortable chair
  • Countertop or table for breastpump and supplies
  • "Occupied" sign for the door
  • Wastebasket, chemical cleaner for surfaces, chemical cleaner for hands, routine daily maintenance

Door sign

The Microsoft Word document below may be downloaded and printed to hang on the door of a lactation room. You may add text to the document if you wish (instructions, etc.).

Download the door sign for your own use:

 Door Sign

Dedicated Lactation Rooms

A room designed and used only for pumping or breastfeeding.

Basic lactation room/single user (minimum dimensions 4’ x 5’)

At minimum:

  • Door that locks
  • Electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump
  • Good lighting and ventilation
  • Comfortable chair, preferably adjustable height with good back support
  • Countertop or table for breastpump and supplies
  •  "Occupied" sign for the door
  • Wastebasket, chemical cleaner for surfaces, chemical cleaner for hands, routine daily maintenance
  • Nearby sink for washing hands, pump, and tubing
  • Nearby refrigerator to store cold packs
  • Assigned coordinator to help with access and oversight

Recommended lactation room/single user (minimum dimensions 6’ x 8’ or 7’ x 7’)

All the requirements of the Basic Lactation Room (see above) plus:

  • Footrest
  • Sink for washing hands, pump, and tubing, with soap and paper towels
  • Compact refrigerator with freezer compartment to store cold packs and milk
  • Multi-user hospital-grade breast pump (mothers provide their own collection kits)
  • Reservation system (electronic calendar, sign-in sheet, or dry-erase board)

Also, possibly:

  • Lockable storage for personal belongings
  • Computer terminal, Internet access, and/or telephone
  • Clock, and small mirror to help check and readjust clothing before returning to work
  • Décor (artwork, soft lighting), and educational resources (bulletin board, pamphlets, books)

Recommended lactation room/multi-user (minimum dimensions 12’ x 16’)

All the requirements of the Recommended Lactation Room (see above), plus:

  • Second chair and footrest
  • Screen or partition to section off private areas during peak times
  • Second multi-user hospital-grade breast pump

MIT lactation support guidelines and federal law require employers to provide "reasonable break time" and a private place, other than a bathroom, to express milk during the workday. For more information on the provisions of federal law (Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Health Care Reform), consult Fact Sheet #73 from the US Department of Labor.

See Also

Have Questions?

Get in touch with the MIT Center for WorkLife and WellBeing.