10 Tips for Creating a Cost-Effective Temporary Lactation Room in a Small Business

10 Tips for Creating a Cost-Effective Temporary Lactation Room in a Small Business

Creating a lactation room in a small business can often feel like a daunting challenge. With space at a premium and budgets tighter than a packed subway car, it might seem like a tall order to accommodate nursing mothers. However, supporting your breastfeeding employees isn't just a nice-to-have; it’s a crucial part of building a positive workplace culture and staying on the right side of labor laws.

Thankfully, setting up a lactation room doesn’t need to involve knocking down walls or flushing dollars down the drain. This blog post is all about showing you how to whip up a cozy, functional spot for nursing moms with some clever, cost-effective tricks. From smart design hacks and dual-purpose furniture to temporary setups that don’t cost an arm and a leg, we've got you covered. So, let’s dive into how even the smallest businesses can make a big difference in making the workplace friendly and inclusive for everyone, including new mothers returning to the workforce.

Understanding the minimum legal requirements for a lactation room

Setting up a lactation room isn’t just a nice-to-do thing, it’s a must-do. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that every business provide a non-bathroom, private spot for nursing mothers to take a milk break during the workday. This means creating a space that’s out of sight and safe from interruptions—because honestly, nobody wants an audience while they're handling their personal business.

Here’s a quick guide on the minimum legal requirements that every compliant lactation room needs:

  • Privacy: 

Ensure the door has a sturdy lock to keep the room private and secure without scope for accidental barge-ins. Opaque walls are a must, and any windows should be equipped with blinds or frosted glass to keep things discreet.

  • Functionality: 

The room should be equipped with a comfortable chair and a flat surface for a breast pump and other supplies. It should also include a power outlet for electric breast pumps and a small refrigerator for storing the expressed milk.

  • Accessibility: 

The lactation room should be a hop, skip, and a jump away—not a marathon that can reduce the time available for pumping and increase stress. Position it close to the work areas to minimize the time moms are away from their desks.

Planning your lactation room

  • Assessing needs: 

Don't just guess what nursing moms need—ask them! Whether through a quick chat or a detailed survey, getting input from the moms themselves can ensure the space truly meets their needs.

  • Choosing a location: 

Choose a spot that’s both quiet and accessible. Remember, the goal is to minimize time away from work without making the lactation room feel like an afterthought. This could be a store room or even a quiet corner of your office.

Cost-effective solutions for setting up a lactation room in a small business

Who says you need big bucks to set up a functional lactation room? Not us! Small businesses, fret not—creating a welcoming space for nursing moms doesn't have to drain your wallet. Let's dive into some savvy, cost-effective ways to make room for motherhood without disruptful office renovations and breaking the bank.

1. Retrofitting an existing, underutilized room:

Have a look around—maybe there's a storage room that’s just storing cobwebs or an office that’s turned into everyone’s favorite shortcut. These are perfect spots to transform into a cozy lactation room. It's about being resourceful; a little sprucing up with the essential furniture and privacy measures, and you've got a prime pumping spot. This can be more cost-effective than building a new space from scratch.

2. Sectioning off a part of a larger room

If dedicating a whole room sounds like a luxury, think about carving out a private, comfortable nook in a larger area like a conference room or a break room. What you need here are flexible temporary walls and room dividers that are easy to install and move.

For example, check out options like the Freestanding L-Shaped Partition Wall with Door or the Freestanding Partition Wall with Door. These lightweight, yet private FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Plastic) dividers can turn any corner of a room into a secluded space that’s just right for nursing moms. Beyond the opaque walls, these kits come with accordion doors featuring a latch that allows moms to control their privacy. Plus, they’re quick to install and just as easy to remove or reposition as your space needs change—practicality at its best! With a 100% modular, customizable design, these kits also perfectly fit into any specific space and needs that you have. 

3. Renting nearby office space:

When every square foot of your office is in use, consider renting a small spot nearby. It might sound out there, but renting a room in a neighboring building can be a practical, temporary solution, especially during those peak baby-boom times at work.

4. Collaborating with other small businesses:

Pooling resources can be a game-changer. If you're in a shared office building, why not collaborate with other businesses to set up a communal lactation room? This way, the costs are shared, making it easier on everyone's budget while still providing a lovely, dedicated space for moms

5. DIY renovation projects:

Forget the dust and disruption of traditional office renovations—why not take a DIY approach to set up your lactation room? It's not only cost-effective but also adds a touch of personal flair without the hassle. Modular walls are your friend here; they're easy to assemble with just basic tools, and there’s no need for professional help. Plus, involving your employees in the setup process can boost morale and create a sense of ownership and pride in the workplace.

Take for instance DIY modular temporary wall kits like the Freestanding Partition Wall with Door or the Mounted L-Shaped Partition Wall with Door. These kits are basically adult versions of Lego: easy to piece together, totally portable, and perfect for creating a private, comfortable space for nursing mothers. All you need is a couple of hours, a drill, and a screwdriver. No fancy tools or skills required, and voila—you’ve got a secure, private lactation room ready in a jiffy.

 6. Using multipurpose furniture

Go for smart, adaptable furniture options. Foldable chairs and portable tables are perfect because they can be used in the lactation room or quickly moved for other events. Furniture that serves more than one purpose, like ottomans with hidden storage, helps keep the space organized and efficient.

7. Adding comfort on a budget

Make comfort affordable with soft cushions and cozy rugs that lend warmth and a welcoming feel to the lactation room. These small touches can be found at bargain prices in discount stores or through online deals. For added support, ergonomic pillows offer lumbar support that can turn any ordinary chair into a comfy spot that’s perfect for nursing mothers, enhancing their comfort during pumping sessions.

8. Optimizing lighting and ventilation

If your lactation room has windows, maximize that sunshine to keep the vibe upbeat and energizing. For spots without much natural light, use adjustable lamps that can be repositioned to provide direct light where needed without the cost of installing new fixtures.

And let’s not forget about air quality. No built-in ventilation? No problem. A portable fan can stir up some fresh air, and a compact air purifier can keep the atmosphere crisp without the fuss of major HVAC upgrades.

9. Installing simple yet effective décor

Want a lactation room that feels like a cozy retreat without spending a small fortune? Get the team involved! There’s nothing like a DIY day to boost morale and add a personal touch to the space. Have everyone roll up their sleeves to pop up some peel-and-stick wallpaper, or get crafty with cushion covers and wall art.

Another way to simply and effectively decorate a lactation room is with plants. They’re not just pretty—they’re practical, purifying the air and adding a serene touch to any space. Go for the champions of the low-maintenance plant world, like spider plants, peace lilies, or snake plants. They’re perfect for sprucing up the room without any fuss or the need for a green thumb.

10. Utilizing community resources

Think outside the box and tap into community resources. Many areas offer support like grants or subsidies specifically designed to help small businesses boost inclusivity. Start by chatting with your local business association, checking out what women’s advocacy groups are offering, or exploring government resources. Securing a little financial support can go a long way in enhancing your lactation room without the financial strain.

Small changes, a big impact on inclusivity

There's no need to dread the setup of a lactation room. With these ten cost-effective tips and savvy strategies, you can ensure that your small business can offer a top-notch lactation room without stretching your wallet too thin. From makeshift refurbs to smart multipurpose furniture, remember: every small step you take creates a more inclusive, mom-friendly workplace. It’s about making a big impact with small changes—because in the world of supportive work cultures, it’s the little things that count.

Need help setting up that effective lactation room in your small business? We have just the solutions for you! Our wide range of DIY, modular temporary walls and room dividers is exactly what you need to build the right lactation room on a budget. Reach out to us and our team of space design experts will help you find the right one for you.