UAMS Partners with Local Institutions to Provide Lactation Spaces for Breastfeeding Mothers

By David Wise

“The creation of these lactation spaces is not only an important step for promoting maternal and infant health in Northwest Arkansas, but it also sends a powerful message of inclusivity, acknowledging that breastfeeding is an intrinsic part of nurturing a family,” said UAMS nurse educator Lauren Pena.

“By establishing these dedicated spaces and prominent signage, we ensure that breastfeeding families feel valued and empowered to nourish their children in a way they feel most comfortable, underscoring the idea that everyone deserves equal access to the resources and support they need to thrive,” she added.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide reasonable break time and accommodations for employees to express breast milk. Under the law, bathrooms are not considered acceptable spaces to express milk. In Arkansas, employers are required to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express milk and are required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private, secure and sanitary room or location other than a bathroom for an employee to express their milk.

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas is ranked 45th among states and territories in the United States in percentage of infants who have ever breastfed, and only 24.4% of Arkansas infants were reported to have been breastfed exclusively at six months, as recommended by the CDC.

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus includes 356 medical, pharmacy, nursing and health professions students, 76 medical and pharmacy residents, and two sports medicine fellows. The campus has 13 clinics including internal and family medicine, a student-led clinic, orthopaedics and sports medicine, behavioral health/psychiatry, geriatrics, genetics counseling, transplant follow-up, and physical, occupational and speech therapy. Faculty conduct research to reduce health disparities.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.