SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A new room for nursing mothers opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum today.
The room is set aside solely for nursing mothers to feed their babies and pump milk. The room is available for both staff and guests.
“When we talk about wanting to be a really a family-focused and a family-forward museum, we need to be thinking about the whole family,” said Christina Shutt, who serves as the museum’s executive director. “I really want people to understand that we don’t experience things separately. We experience the world as a family.”
Normally, rooms dedicated can be found at amusement parks, state fairs and other public areas.
“When museums like ours open their doors we need to think holistically about what the family needs to be able to experience the museum, to not have to worry about all of those little problems that come up,” Shutt said. “This is just one way we can say we’re for you and we’re with you here in Illinois.”
Illinois state law requires businesses to make reasonable efforts to provide basic accommodations for nursing mothers at work. However, it does not require a dedicated room.
“For us as a museum, it’s about not just meeting the requirement but how can we go above and beyond to truly create an inclusive, welcoming space for all families,” Shutt said. “We absolutely want to promote and encourage people to use it, especially with the ongoing shortage on formula. We want to encourage moms, where we can, to continue nursing or providing milk to others.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the museum’s new addition followed by brief remarks and a Q&A session.
More information regarding breastfeeding policies can be found here.