As any new mother knows, there is an extensive list of new challenges that arise when caring for a newborn: figuring out how to understand the baby's needs, finding time to sleep, getting personal to-do lists complete, hunting down quality childcare, making all the right decisions when it comes to food and diapers... The list goes on and on.
But another, less-obvious issue new mothers face is finding a place to breastfeed or pump in public and at work.
36 Degrees North member Stephanie Conduff discovered first-hand the need for a space to breast pump when she went back to the office after having a child. After doing some research, she realized most working moms have to pump in bathroom stalls or utility closets, which often discourages mothers from providing breastmilk for their children.
So, in an effort to make a change, Stephanie got connected to the Forge, Tulsa's leading business incubator, and created the Leche Lounge, a portable lactation suite.
The Leche Lounge's mission is to encourage working mothers to pump breast milk by providing a more comfortable and cleanly space for them to do it.
Companies can rent or buy the suites to install in their offices. Fulfilling the requirements of pumping laws created by the Affordable Care Act, the Leche Lounge comes equipped with a hospital-grade breast pump (proven to express milk faster), a USB charger, fan, food-grade seating and a mirror to readjust clothing. The units are also stocked with cleaning wipes for pump parts and calming, lavender wipes for refreshing the space between guests.
Stephanie says she can also see the suites being used in stadiums, airports and convention centers.
Want to see the Leche Lounge in person? Come to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 36°N on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016. Stephanie will present at 1 Million Cups at 9:00am and cut the ribbon at 10:00am.
Can't make it to the ceremony? Here's a look at the Leche Lounge on Good Day Tulsa.