Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Breastfeeding Student Told to Use the Bathroom to Pump UPDATE

*this was also posted in the Breastfeeding group*


Hello! I am a college student with a 2 month old little boy. My school has been of no help in trying to find me an appropriate place to pump. I have been told to use the bathroom and a locker room. I have started a petition to change this. Not just for me, but for all breastfeeding students (current and future). If you could take the time to sign and share the petition (link is at the bottom of this page), I would really appreciate it. You can read the full story below from


Shelbi Wallace, an American Sign Language major at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, has been denied a place to pump for her two month old baby and has been forced to pump in the hallway while using a cover. Any mother who has ever pumped knows that not having a quiet, comfortable place to pump can greatly decrease letdown and the amount of milk pumped can be compromised from the stress. This can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby.

Ms Wallace has gone through several different support services at the college to no avail. She called the ombudsman, whose job according to Sinclair’s website, is:

The Ombudsman provides assistance to the students who indicate they have problems/issues or concerns that need resolution.

It may involve:

  • Listening Carefully
  • Answering Questions
  • Investigating Complaints
  • Making Appropriate Referrals
  • Mediating a Resolution
  • Helping Students Persist Toward Educational Goals

The Ombudsman can:

  • Listen to problems
  • Investigate
  • Mediate, facilitate, and clarify policies and procedures

Ms Wallace was basically told, “Sorry, there’s nothing that I can do. But at least we know about it. Good luck.” She then spoke with the director of the ASL lab where she was told to use the bathroom, even though there are private areas that could be used for pumping. Someone named Kevin in the Department of Facilities told Shelbi that “there was nothing he could do until his manager got back from vacation in 2 weeks and that all the space they have is for learning”

Hey Kevin…find an empty classroom with a plug in! Simple as that!

She finally decided to seek help on Sinclair’s Facebook page and their reply to her post was, “We contacted several departments and were given the same reply, so we aren’t sure who else to contact that could make some progress…perhaps the Ombudsman. She is the campus/student advocate for Sinclair and may be able to help move your voice along. You can contact her office at 937-512-2205. It’s no guarantee that she’ll be able to find a new spot for you, but at least she’ll be aware of the situation. Good luck and please let us know if you have any more questions or concerns!”

Then when she pressed further, she was told that there was a locker room that she could use in buiding 8, which is all the way across campus from where her classes are in building 9, which would mean her having to walk 15 minutes across campus, pump, then walk 15 minutes back to class. This is an unreasonable suggestion and is flat out discrimination.

They were nice enough to provide a map for her, though with the message, ” Shelbi — according to several campus sources, the women’s locker room in building 8 is available for these sorts of things. We attached a campus map so you can visually see where building 8 is.”

These sorts of things? Seriously, Sinclair? This woman just wants to be able to provide milk for her child!

What I find ironic though, Sinclair offers a list of 53 resources spanning from drug addiction to preparing resumes, but absolutely none for mothers who need to pump for their babies. Find that page here:

They even provide a nice little powerpoint presentation on helping students to succeed seen here, , but yet they have no interest in helping Shelbi to suceed, since clearly she doesn’t fall into the appropriate category of those who need support, her being a breastfeeding mother and all…

In Shelbi’s words, “It’s a shame I have to use my energy in finding a place to pump instead of focusing on my classes”

Perhaps we should MAKE them care about supporting breastfeeding mothers….

Here is their facebook page:

Ohio State University has 8 nursing rooms on their campus. Duke University has one in every building. Maybe Sinclair should take some serious notes from them!

Shelbi has started a petition urging the school to support breastfeeding mothers.

A breastfeeding mother who returns to work or school cannot continue to breastfeed if she can not pump. A breastfeeding mother cannot express milk sufficiently if there is not a comfortable and sanitary place to do so. The United States government has recognized this issue and has put in place “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA).The law requires employers to provide “reasonable” break time and a private place other than a bathroom where a working mom can express breast milk for her nursing baby. However, the law doesn’t say anything about college’s doing the same for their students.This petition can help change that for Sinclair. As of right now, there is one area that is known as the “mother’s room” and this room is actually a locker room. A locker room is not an appropriate place to make food for a child. It also does not offer privacy. In addition to it being in an inappropriate location, it is only on one side of campus. What about the mom’s who have classes on the other side of campus? It is not reasonable to think that these mom’s can leave class, walk 10-20 minutes to this space, pump for 15 minutes, and then walk back another 10-20 minutes. In the time it takes for someone to do that, class would be over. Some women might be embarrassed or not want to deal with the hassle of getting someone to help her find a place to pump and thus, quit breastfeeding. Sinclair should support breastfeeding and encourage mother’s to continue to breastfeed by providing spaces that are not a bathroom and that have privacy available. These spaces should also be available through out campus and not just one area. It is important for mothers perusing their education, to know that just because they are going to college, does not mean that they have to sacrifice their breastfeeding relationship with their child.

You can sign the petition here:

UPDATE: I don't have the energy to reply to everyone's negativity (and why should I?). But the local news covered this story last night. You can find the link below. In addition, there is another news station wanting to do a story and the Dayton Daily News does too. So obviously, they think the story needs to be heard (whether you agree with it or not). To those that support me and other nursing mothers, THANK YOU. This is not about me "being special" it is about bringing change for MANY women.  If you are ok pumping in your car or a bathroom, thats fine! Some are not (including me!)You can argue all you want but I'm not reading the comments anymore. Just because you don't agree with something, doesn't mean it is wrong. To bring change, you have to stand up for what you believe in. I am getting results doing this, so I will continue to speak about this until it is no longer a problem.

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been." Albert Einstein

by on Aug. 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Replies (141-142):
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Although it might change from time to time, an empty classroom not in use or to be used for a period of time should be allowed for pumping. What do you need to do to make this ok? Bring your baby to school so you'll be allowed to perform "active breastfeeding" .. ?

Quoting YngCollegeSMom:

Quoting momdoes:

Sorry, I side with the school on this one. I am also a colleg student and the last thing I need to see in class, the hallway, the empty gym, etc, is a woman pumping her breasts. It is not like she is feeding baby right there with her, so the bathroom or locker room that is designated for women, is appropiate to me. As a mother, I would not want to pump in front of anyone or even in a place where just anyone can see it. PUMPING is not ACTIVE BREASTFEEDING.

That is exactly my point. I don't want to breastfeed in front of anyone but I have had to pump in the hallway with a cover because a locker room or bathroom is NOT sanitary. I am asking for a private room so nursing mothers can pump in PRIVACY and in a sanitary place.

by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM
Wow, I am shocked by how negative people are being. Good for you for taking a stand. I BF my DS for 2 yrs and worked full time. I understand how difficult it can be at times. I stopped pumping at 1 yr when it was safe to supplement with milk. Good luck to you, I hope it gets easier!
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)