Monday, December 20, 2010

Working and Pumping on Capitol Hill: Hello to Congress' "Boob Cube"

Working and pumping at the nation's Capitol
An article in The Seattle Times today highlights one of the perks of a Capitol Hill job gaining popularity and affection these days — the lactation suite, aka “the boob cube.”

New mothers who work in Congress used to lug their own pumps to work, hide in the bathrooms, and squat near an available electrical outlet (sound familiar?).

Not anymore. A trend is spreading in Washington that gives breastfeeding moms a state-of-the art pumping an nursing experience. Here’s what new motherhood looks like amid the votes and the bills in the nation’s capitol:

Today there are more than half a dozen lactation suites — used my members of Congress, aids, journalists and more.

The one highlighted by The Seattle Times “the boob cube,” is a 12-by-10 room in the basement with frosted glass doors, equipped with an electronic combination lock, two hospital grade pumps, a mini-refridgerator, hand sanitizer and sterile wipes, comfy chairs, multiline phones, a TV (normally with C-SPAN), and power outlets for laptops.

The first lactation suite was put in place in 2006, but Nancy Pelosi has been a driving force in adding more and making them more mom-baby friendly to support the demands of both motherhood and career.

Employers across the country should make Congress their template for working mom accommodations, no? Can you imagine a similar set up at your office, or did you have one like this?

Image: flickr/will palmer