Story by Chelsee Stevens
Employers and organizations nationwide have been pressured by mothers and other supporters to create rooms for working mothers to conveniently breastfeed their infants.
According to the MSU Denver Office of Marketing and Communications, there are three buildings which have “quiet rooms” that serve this purpose on campus — the Student Success Building, the Women’s Studies Department and the Science Department.
MSU Denver alum Mary Powers was pleased to hear that these new Quiet Rooms were built.
“I went to Metro for 11 years, and they have always provided me with all the facilities I needed to succeed,” Powers said, explaining that, with these “quiet rooms,” women “can be the mother they always wanted to be, which is the all-natural mother. But it is up to [institutions] to accommodate these women.”
The Women’s Studies Department initially met with the Student Success Building and the Science Department faculty and staff when this issue arose.
“Metro was receiving complaints from students about not having a clean, safe, sanitary place to get milk out for their babies,” said Leslie Bailey, program assistant of the Institute for Women’s Studies & Services.
Bailey uses the “quiet rooms” and is a mother of two, a 6-month-old, and a 4-year-old.
“We have been striving hard to broadcast the ‘quiet rooms’ to the public,” Bailey said. “One way that we do so is by using signs posted outside of our building of the international symbol for breast-feeding mothers.”
This symbol can be found on the white signs outside of the Institute for Women’s Studies & Services building. The signs have a blue box in the middle with a solid white mother and a solid blue baby in her arms.
Bailey said that mothers can get access to any of the rooms on campus by requesting a key from the Human Resources Department in the Student Success Building Room 321, or by asking for one from the Science Building or the Women’s Studies Department.
“I feel that this impacts women already that I know of on campus, so to me, the need for these ‘quiet rooms’ is definitely out there,” Bailey said. “Our mission is to support those working mothers, even outside of our office, who need a parenting space to call their own.
Bailey said about 15 women she knows personally are taking advantage of all of the “quiet rooms,” keys, and sign-up sheets on campus.
Before the rooms were built new mothers barely had the time to make it to and from class and work because they had to use their car or a restroom to supply milk for their children, Bailey said.
Not only are the “quiet rooms” supported by on-campus mothers, but off-campus educators and employers as well, such as former MSU Denver professor Cristine Milto, who is now a Cultural Geography professor at CU-Boulder.
“As for [the question of] should there be ‘quiet rooms,’ yes, there should,” Milto said. “We ignore motherhood needs in a shameful way in this country.”