Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy

Policy Summary

The university recognizes the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and children and is committed to supporting our nursing mothers in the workplace.

This policy is intended to support compliance with applicable laws related to nursing mothers and to provide guidance for the university community regarding the rights and resources available to nursing mothers on campus.

Related Regulations

Who is Governed by this Policy

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students
  • Other university constituents and affiliates.


A nursing mother may breastfeed in any public or private location on campus where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present. Children may not be permitted in settings where, in the university’s judgment, potential health, safety, noise issues or other hazards may be of concern, including but not limited to laboratories and certain clinical areas.

Lactation Breaks

A nursing mother may request reasonable lactation breaks during work hours for the purpose of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. 

The nursing mother should inform their supervisor of their need for reasonable daily lactation breaks so that appropriate accommodations can be made.  Nursing mothers should work with their supervisors to establish mutually convenient times. Lactation breaks shall, if possible, run concurrently with the employee’s authorized work or lunch break time. If this time for an employee’s break time does not run concurrently or additional time is necessary, employees may request reasonable unpaid lactation breaks during work hours.  Break-time will be provided unless it creates an undue hardship on university operations. While nursing mothers are welcome to bring their child on campus to breastfeed, it is expected that the child will not remain in the office, classroom, or other space after the breastfeeding break.

Lactation Rooms

The university will make reasonable efforts to provide nursing mothers sanitary, non-bathroom spaces shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public for purposes of expressing milk. Private and secure spaces for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk can be found on campus and are referred to as Lactation Rooms. These Lactation Rooms have an accessible electrical outlet, a comfortable chair and a flat surface for the employee’s use. 

Breastfeeding and Lactation Support

Nursing mothers who feel they have been denied appropriate accommodations are encouraged to contact their Human Resources Business Partner.  Unlawful discrimination or harassment of a nursing mother, or violations of this Policy, is prohibited and violators may be subject to disciplinary action.  Complaints may also be filed with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.

Related Information

New Parent Support: Whether you are preparing for the birth of your child or have already welcomed your new baby home, GW is committed to providing programs and resources that can support you at every stage.

Employees Guide to Breastfeeding and Working: Developed by the Department of Health & Human Services, this booklet provides you with the basics for successfully continuing to breastfeed after returning to work.

The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington: The Center is located just off the Foggy Bottom campus at 2141 K Street NW.  Staff at the Center are committed to optimizing the breastfeeding experience from the start. Supportive classes emphasize healthy and normal breastfeeding variations, with respect and understanding of the unique family.


Contact Phone Number Email Address
GW Benefits (571) 553-8382 [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Vice President and Chief People Officer
Responsible Office: GW Benefits

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.