UNC was recognized as being a breastfeeding-friendly public venue from the Weld County Public Health Department on Friday, Jan. 11.
Yvette Lucero-Nguyen, director for the Center for Women’s and Gender Equity and Stryker Institute for Leadership Development, and Alena Clark, Ph.D., professor in the UNC Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, received the certificate on behalf of UNC.
“Receiving this certificate recognizing UNC for being an institution that supports the lactating experience feels very validating of the work myself, Alena and our campus community have invested in over the past seven years, ” said Lucero-Nguyen. “I want UNC to remain an example of how one can approach creating inclusive lactation support initiatives on college campuses.”
Over the past seven years, Lucero-Nguyen and Clark collaboratively established and maintained UNC lactation support services. Within this time, they established six lactation stations across campus, a privacy screen rental program, a UNC lactation support policy and campus-wide programming normalizing the lactation experience.
“The UNC Lactation Support Program is a unique collaboration between the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Center for Women’s and Gender Equity, bringing together two areas with different perspectives to accomplish the same goal — support and protect lactating individuals on our campus and community,” Clark said.
At the same time, Lucero-Nguyen and Clark discovered the need to share these important policies with other institutions and individuals. This resulted in the development of the inclusive lactation support toolkit resource, “Toolkit for Establishing Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Support on University and College Campuses: Using University of Northern Colorado as an Institutional Model.“
The toolkit was requested by and distributed to over 145 individuals nationally and internationally including those at other universities and colleges, public and private organizations and many others.
“Breastfeeding is not an experience that is exclusive to only one gender; trans and non-binary people also experience lactation. It is critical that we are mindful in our approach in ensuring that anyone who wants the support has access to it,” Lucero-Nguyen said. “With that we hope to continue to provide resources and information throughout our toolkit that supports others in being mindful and inclusive in establishing their lactation support spaces.”
Lucero-Nguyen and Clark continue to serve as consultants for others who want to establish lactation support on their college campuses. The toolkit is also featured as a resource on lactation support resource pages including The Pregnant Scholar, which is a web-based resource supporting universities and colleges in their compliance with Title IX and pregnancy discrimination.
In regards to next steps for UNC, they want to continue strengthening the support policy nd program by reaching out to members of campus and the community to see what is needed and desired.
Press release and photo courtesy of UNC’s University News and Public Relations.