Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Jan 12 2016

WWYD? Lactation Room

Category: Electrified Hardware,WWYD?Lori @ 12:37 pm Comments (23)

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.

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Recent Posts

23 Responses to “WWYD? Lactation Room”

  1. Charles says:

    Same hardware as used on single bathrooms??

    • Lori says:

      There are actually several different options used on bathroom doors today, depending on the facility. In many cases a privacy set may be enough, but I’m wondering if there are other functions specifiers typically use. Some moms are lucky to get a chair in the janitor’s closet with a sign on the door. 🙁

      – Lori

      • Bill Liberty says:

        We have had Mothers Rooms for about 15 years. No lock on door. We have about 6 cubicles inside with curtains. We have small lockers available for their equipment storage and a refrigerator with lock boxes for secure storage of the finished product.

        • Lori says:

          Secure storage – I had not thought of that.

          – Lori

          • .Bill Liberty says:

            I just double checked with Health who oversees the rooms. We have pumps available but they must bring in their own tubing/etc. There is no longer a locked storage for their finished product. Only a fridge for their coolers. Small lockers are still provided. They are responsible for their own padlocks.

  2. Gary Conley says:


    We have several rooms throughout our campus equipped with comfortable furnishings and AD400 mortise deadbolt locks. Card privilege is restricted to nursing mothers and custodial staff, and the lock is programmed to enter “privacy mode” when the deadbolt is thrown, denying card access except for certain cards with override privilege (in our case police and access control technicians).


  3. Louise says:

    We have ~20 lactation rooms.
    The favorite lock is Alarm Lock 4100.
    Each user has a personal code.
    The private time is set for one hour.
    I keep a bank of codes available for future users.

  4. Daniel Ferry, AHC says:

    I recently used a Faculty Restroom Lock, L9485 with outside indicator.
    Lactating mothers only would have a key to get into the room. Outside lever always locked.
    Honestly did not think about sound seals, (I will now) but since it was off of a rated corridor anyway, it got smoke seals that will serve.

  5. STEVE says:

    We have had requests. On electrified, we had a customer use an indicator deadbolt privacy with deadbolt and a switch on the inside of the strike area for the bolt to hit and when depressed, disconnect the access control.

  6. Leo says:

    I had many times for Mothers Rooms I usually supply a a Passage Lockset and a Deadbolt with an Indicator.

  7. Eric says:

    You mentioned an indicator deadbolt. Would that be used in conjunction with a push/pull set? I think we had an earlier discussion about indicators not being up to code with passage sets (more than one motion for egress).

    • Lori says:

      You are correct, a passage set with a separate deadbolt would not technically be code-compliant because it would require 2 operations to release the latches, and the model codes require 1 operation to release the latch(es).

      – Lori

  8. Bob says:

    We have several. The newest building specifically has a lactation room with sink & refrigerator. I ended up changing to a hotel function mortise from the competition. Always locked w/ deadbolt & indicator. When locked inside change keys are locked out. Only a Emergency Key will open. It’s worked for 8 years.

  9. James Caron, AOC says:

    There are several options but most concern the facility in which they are held in. I think most office buildings could simply use a privacy lockset with indicator. But we were at a theme park last summer and their lactation rooms were an issue. They had storeroom locksets on them and a phone outside the bank of rooms to call someone over. Sometimes it took 15-30 minutes for someone to come (and we all know babies want to eat when they want to eat and not very fond of waiting at times). An attendant would come and because there’s no indicator they’d unlock and open a door on someone using the room. I think they’d been a better solution for electrified locksets to remotely unlock the door when someone called. And an indicator deadbolt would show the room was occupied and unavailable for use. We went to another theme park and they had larger lactation rooms with 2-3 love seats to accommodate more than one mom at a time. These rooms were equipped with push/pull hardware and not locked at all (which worked better for feeding then the previous theme park). So I don’t think there’s one fix for lactation rooms unfortunately…..

    • Lori says:

      Interesting. I was wondering about the possibility of having more than 1 mom use the room at once, and how that would change the lock function. Of course – at SSC-NE that never happened, but if I worked in a profession that had a higher percentage of women, I’d set up dates with my mom-friends to meet in the lactation room for “happy hour.” 🙂

      – Lori

  10. Sean McGrath says:

    Funny enough installed 2 privacy function locks on Mothers Rooms today.

  11. Vivian Volz says:

    I think distinguishing between a nursing room (such as at a theme park) and a lactation room (such as at an office) may be in order. It’s easier (in my experience) to have company while nursing a baby than while expressing milk. Lori’s point about a pack of friendly moms notwithstanding, that would never have been my impulse.

    Here in California in some malls we have “family break rooms” with a lounge-like setting for nursing moms, en suite with an accessible single-toilet restroom. That kind of room (only larger, I suspect) would be along the same lines as the love-seat nursing rooms at James’ theme park. It would be free of some of the more distracting elements of the theme park, and also of those people who object to others’ nursing in public, even though it’s not entirely private. A little room with a curtain might be a nice touch in a larger room of that sort, and might even serve adequate privacy as a lactation room for employees of the park. However, I’d rather provide an employees-only lactation room for that purpose, both as a more literal fulfillment of FLSA and as a practical matter of not mixing employees on break with guests of the park.

    We use a mortise latch/deadbolt with indicator on our office lactation rooms, but card key access is another option we don’t usually need in mid-size office settings. Sounds like the interlock between the indicator and the card reader is a good idea.

    Lori, thanks for addressing this complicated issue and showing us the current legal obligations!
    – Vivian

    • Lori says:

      That’s a good point. Without getting too far into the breastfeeding debate, I too would be more likely to sit around with my mom-friends (or dad-friends, kids, strangers, library patrons, Starbucks customers, etc. :)) nursing, and would be more selective if I was using a pump.

      I think the hardware application is pretty simple for small/medium office buildings…it’s when more people could potentially access the room for non-lactation-related activities that we need a more secure solution that is still convenient for moms.

      I appreciate the input!

      – Lori

      • Ron says:

        The Faculty lockset L9485 in combination with an electric strike to card reader, would seem to provide controlled (registered) access, visible occupied to omit disturbance/interruption, and code required single motion egress. Thank you for the discussion.

  12. Carrie says:

    Ironic to receive the Allegion newsletter today as for the first time in 22 years I’ve been asked to provide a lock for this very scenario. The request came yesterday and we provided a privacy function with an occupancy indicator.

    Seems like there are several options and all of them good ones. Interesting read!

Leave a Reply

This website or its third party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the cookie policy. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.

This website or its third party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the cookie policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the cookie policy. By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.