Kent State Salem recognized for lactation services

Mariam Makatsaria

Kent State’s Salem campus received the Ohio Department of Health’s 2013 Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award on Aug. 7. The Salem campus earned the award for the accommodations it provides to breastfeeding faculty and students.

Ruth Ann Mullen, assistant nursing professor and certified lactation consultant, said the award recognizes businesses that offer friendly environments for breastfeeding mothers.

The Salem campus provides private lactation rooms to accommodate both students and staff balancing their return to work with their needs as new mothers.

The lactation facility is equipped with comfortable chairs, a utility-type sink, electrical outlets and refrigerators with locks. Educational material is also offered in the lactation rooms.

“Because the pumping room is right there, I can just leave class, pump for however long I need and then I can go right back into class and not have to leave the campus or sit in my car,” junior nursing major Leah Wilson said. Wilson is a student mom who has been using the lactation rooms for four months.

“It’s very important for a nursing mom to keep her supply up and be able to nurse her baby when she is not around,” Wilson said.

Mary Lou Ferranto, director of the Kent State Salem campus nursing program, believes the lactation room offers new moms a comfortable and private place to breastfeed between classes.

“Students and staff don’t have to go home. They have the opportunity to breastfeed for longer because they have a facility that supports it. The environment is clean, comfortable and very private, instead of trying to go into a ladies’ room,” Ferranto said.

Mullen said she also provides free educational classes and consults for current and expectant mothers. The classes are offered for staff, students and their families.

Mullen said she recommends expectant mothers who are planning to nurse take her classes at least a month before they deliver. This way, they are able to sustain the breastfeeding relationship when they return to work or study.

“I am so proud that as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, I am able to provide the breastfeeding education these mothers need to help them succeed,” said Mullen, who also facilitates a breastfeeding support group for new mothers and their babies at the East Liverpool City Hospital.

Mullen said the Salem campus has been accommodating nursing mothers for a little more than two years. Mullen said she began the initiative three years ago after listening to students’ concerns about not having a place to pump.

Mullen said for students who live far from campus, it is a lot more convenient to have these resources available on-site.

“The service recognizes the fact that Kent State Salem is a very accommodating, caring campus,” said Tina Smith, public relations coordinator. “They’ll do whatever they can to make giving an education, receiving an education or working here possible.”

Designated lactation rooms are also available on Kent State’s main campus. They can be found at several locations, including the Women’s Center, the Schwartz Center and University Library.

Employees and student moms can also find suitable spaces to nurse or pump at Kent State’s Stark, Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas campuses.

Contact Mariam Makatsaria at [email protected].