Breast milk pumping beliefs, supports, and barriers on a university campus

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30 Scopus citations


Background: Compared to nonemployed mothers, employed mothers are more likely to terminate breastfeeding sooner than recommended, due in part to a lack of workplace support. Objective: The purpose of this study is to compare the beliefs of employees and students affiliated with a university regarding pumping breast milk on campus. Methods: This qualitative study used semistructured interviews grounded in the theory of planned behavior, focused on behavioral, normative, and control beliefs regarding pumping on campus. Responses were independently coded and categorized based on common themes. Response frequencies were calculated and compared between students, staff, and faculty. Results: Thirty-two women (11 students, 8 staff, 13 faculty) participated in the interview. Overall, participants most frequently reported that maintaining milk supply/extending breastfeeding duration was an advantage to pumping on campus, and time/scheduling issues a disadvantage. The most commonly perceived supporters were peers, whereas those unaware, uninformed, and/or disapproving of breastfeeding were most commonly perceived as opponents to pumping on campus. Reporting within each category differed between students, staff, and faculty. It is notable that students most frequently identified the lack of available pumping space as a barrier, whereas faculty often reported that space availability made pumping on campus easier for them. In addition, both staff and faculty frequently stated that scheduling and time constraints were a pumping barrier. Conclusion: An inequality of current lactation support practice may exist at colleges and universities. It is necessary to extend this protection to all members of a workplace, regardless of their role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-165
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Feb 2015


  • beliefs
  • breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding support
  • education
  • maternal employment
  • pumping
  • theory of planned behavior
  • workplace


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