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Lactation Support

Cornell University provides on-site accommodations, time away from work for the purpose of pumping, and health insurance coverage for pumps and consultations. 

Lactation education is available through our Preparing for Baby series held each semester.

Lactation Rooms

Directory of Lactation Rooms

Includes photos, amenities, and contact information. Complete the Lactation Room Request Form to request access to one or more rooms. A room coordinator will follow up with you about your request.

Informal accommodations will be made within reasonable walking distance within or near facilities that do not have a dedicated Lactation Room. To obtain information on informal accommodation options, or to obtain assistance in creating a designated Lactation Room for your building or department, please contact Work/Life.

Lactation Time Away from Work

Please see the Lactation Time program included in the Time Off and Leaves Policy for details related to taking time to pump during your workday. 

Expectations of Employee

  • Before the addition to your family and going on leave, communicate with your people leader about your predicted time away from work for pumping needs. It is ok if you do not know exactly how much time or how frequently you will need to pump. As you near your return to work date, follow up with your people leader with a clearer idea of your needs.
  • Review the directory of lactation rooms and complete the Lactation Room Request Form to gain access to the room(s) that you will most often use. If provided, use scheduling tools for the space.
  • Plan for your time to commute to the lactation room, set up your equipment, pump, tidy/clean up and commute back to work. All of these elements should be factored into the time away from work you will need.
  • Lactation Rooms are shared spaces. Tidy up the area or room after its use.
  • Provide your own pump, adapter, accessories, and any other supplies that make pumping at work successful for you.
  • If challenges arise with a lactation room, reach out to either the room coordinator (listed in the directory of lactation rooms) or the Work/Life team in Human Resources.

About Lactation Rooms

Cornell is required to provide a location to express milk that is sanitary, private (shielded from view, free from intrusion and with a functional lock), well-lit, and contains an electrical outlet, chair, table/surface for your pump, and nearby access to running water and refrigeration. If an informal or temporary space is needed, the same requirements apply.

Examples of Other Reasonable Rooms for Lactation

  • A private office that can be secured and is visually private
  • A small, unused conference room that can be secured and is visually private
  • An area that is separated from a restroom facility by a door, can be secured, and is private

Examples of Unreasonable Rooms for Lactation

  • Restroom or shower area 
  • Janitorial or supply closet
  • Any space that does not have the requirements that are listed above

Pump and Supply Expenses

The Cornell Aetna Plans, Empire Plans, and student health insurance program all provide various forms of pump and supply coverage.

Faculty and staff members who are enrolled in a medical flexible spending account can submit lactation supply expenses for reimbursement. See more information on flexible spending accounts (including deadlines).

Traveling With Milk

Cornell employees with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) may use their account for the expense of shipping milk.  When submitting a receipt to Payflex after travel, provide as much information as possible (including the purpose of travel).  

Additional Support Services

  • Preparing for Baby Series: a seven-part series of workshops offered twice throughout the year, with two dates devoted to lactation education. Upcoming dates will be posted on the parenting workshops  page when registration opens.
  • E-list: lactation-L is an e-list that is available for faculty, staff, and students to join. The list will provide you with information on upcoming classes, the development of designated rooms on campus, and allow for members to interact by asking questions and providing support to others.
  • Lactation Consultations and Support: The  Cornell Aenta Plans, Empire Plans, and student health insurance program provide coverage for lactation consultative services. Please see your summary of benefits to understand your coverage.
  • Maternity and Nursing Parking Permits: Expectant employees in their last six weeks of pregnancy can purchase a permit for the parking area closest to their place of work or classes.  A doctor’s note indicating the due date is required. Employees may purchase a permit, valid for 12 weeks, to park closer to their place of work or classes. This permit accommodation may be renewed one time for another 12-week period. Prices for both permits vary depending on parking location. Please contact Transportation Services at 255-PARK for more information.