Amazon Lactation RoomYesterday someone asked me about the preferred lock function for a lactation room (aka mothers’ room, lactorium), and I realized that I had not written about this before.  Back when I needed a lactation room, one of my coworkers changed the passage set on my office to a privacy set, but to be honest, seeing my office door closed was enough of a deterrent to keep all of my coworkers far, far away.  🙂

According to the US Department of Labor:

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide 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. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The Wage and Hour Fact Sheet #73 “Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA” and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted here provide basic information about the law.

The AIA has published guidelines for lactation room design, which include a user-operated deadbolt with an indicator for privacy, and also recommend minimizing sound transmission (lactation pumps can be noisy).  In some facilities, perhaps an electrified lockset is required in order to limit access to nursing mothers only.  At our office in Carmel, Indiana, there is a health room where we have the first aid supplies and a place for someone to lie down if needed (I don’t know if we have a separate lactation room but I’m sure someone in our Carmel office will tell me).  There is a sign on the door of the health room reminding everyone that it’s not a room for meetings, but to be honest I did duck in there for a quick one-on-one discussion before the sign was there.

So…how do you specify hardware for a lactation room?  Which lock function?  Do you specify sound gasketing?  Any other considerations?

Photo: Reported to be a lactation room at Amazon – posted by  For more photos of lactation rooms (some of them are nicer than others), you can view the slideshow on the KUOW website.

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