By Josh Day
Moody Memorial Library is now the first of any facility on campus to have private rooms for breast-feeding.
The two rooms on the second floor of the library include a chair, side table, lamp, changing table, clock, trash can and an electrical outlet, according to the Baylor Central Libraries website.The keys to each room are available to be checked out at the main circulation desk and require a Baylor I.D. card. There is no time restriction for the rooms’ usage.
Beth Farwell, associate director for Central Libraries, said the spaces came out of a need that Baylor had not yet fulfilled: a need for privacy and security for nursing mothers among Baylor’s on-campus faculty, staff and students.
“There’s not a really good place for you to do that on campus, because that really has to be private,” Farwell said. “Even the faculty that have an office, they may or may not share an office, sometimes their doors have windows in them, sometimes they can’t lock the doors. A student could just walk in.”
The rooms are considered by the library as a “pilot” project. This means the staff of the library will be following the rooms’ usage in the coming months and determining if the nursing rooms should continue to exist.
Although the library staff is “hopeful”, Farwell said the project is a pilot because of the possibility of the rooms not being used or needed.
“What if it doesn’t get used at all? What if people just don’t want to do this on campus? What we’re hearing is that they do,” Farwell said.
Along with the rooms for the new mothers, Moody has also installed baby-changing stations in its garden-level bathrooms and added to the Zeta Children’s and Young Adult Collection.
The initiative to create the rooms began last fall with Tiffany Hogue, Baylor’s chief of staff to the provost. Hogue said the idea came from graduate students who needed a space to breast-feed or pump on campus, but didn’t have one.
“As a working mother who loves Baylor, I was honored to have a small role in the conversations that led to the creation of these rooms,” Hogue said, “Our provost, Dr. Davis, was very supportive of this initiative as well.”
Dr. Elizabeth Davis, Executive Vice President and Provost, and Hogue decided to contact Pattie Orr, the Dean of University Libraries, because of the Moody Library’s central location.
“Everyone knows where the library is and all students use the library regardless of discipline,” Hogue said.
According to Hogue, Orr was able to quickly to put together a team, including Farwell, to explore potential places in the library to repurpose as nursing rooms.
“Dean Orr was really supportive, right from the beginning. So I give her a lot of credit,” Hogue said.
Assistant Librarian Ellen Filgo was among a group of Baylor staff who were also new mothers, consulted about what the rooms needed in order for them to be comfortable.
Filgo was also aware of the problem of privacy for nursing mothers on campus.
“I have an office with a door that closes, so I’m really lucky,” Filgo said. “I could have some private space, but that’s not the case for everyone.”
Filgo said she was glad that the central libraries were providing for nursing mothers.
“I think it’s great that we’re providing a space, because there isn’t anything else like that on campus,” Filgo said.
Emilie Cunningham, the president of the Heart of Texas Breastfeeding Coalition, and a Graduate Teaching Instructor of Health & Human Behavior, said the rooms were a big step for Baylor.
“If more mothers are able to breastfeed more, it’s a great thing.” Cunningham said, “It’s in the interest of public health.”
More information and contacts concerning the nursing rooms can be found at: http://www.baylor.edu/lib/centrallib/rooms.