ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – What started out as controversy has led to big changes at the University of New Mexico and is now inspiring other universities in New Mexico to do the same.
At UNM, times have changed from the days when women had to use public restrooms to pump breast milk for their babies.
Now, there are 21 “lactation stations” on campus, a new lactation policy in place and a breastfeeding support group.
“If it wasn’t for them, I couldn’t even imagine breastfeeding, you know, or pumping in restrooms,” said Melanie Maestas, UNM student.
Maestas isn’t alone. Women on UNM’s campus say having these lactation stations aren’t just a huge relief, they’re allowing them to continue their education without leaving campus.
“They are really encouraging just by having these facilities available for women getting a degree,” said Keely Dobbs, UNM student.
The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force is so impressed with UNM’s lactation policy, they want to use it as an example for other universities throughout the state.
“When moms are going back to work or school there’s this huge disparity, and by UNM as our flagship university making this policy, it’s really going to affect hundreds or thousands of women and families,” said MJ Vargas, Breastfeeding Task Force Workplace Liaison.
The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force says the policy is not only helping mothers from a health standpoint, it’s helping UNM retain employees and students.
CNM and NMSU have taken notice. Both have added lactation stations to its campus and hope to add more.
The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force hopes this inspires other institutions throughout the region as well.