Barriers and facilitators to expressing milk on campus as a breastfeeding student

Rachel Ann Ryan, Mackenzie D.M. Whipps, Jessica Dauz Bihuniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Despite the growing student parent population, many postsecondary institutions in the United States (U.S.) lack sufficient lactation policies for students. The objective of this study was to explore breastfeeding students’ perceived awareness and use of on-campus lactation rooms and identify barriers and facilitators to expressing milk on campus. Participants: A convenience sample of breastfeeding students enrolled in colleges/universities in the U.S. Methods: Information about students’ experiences expressing milk on campus was collected via an online survey. Thematic analysis was used to qualitatively analyze self-reported barriers/facilitators to expressing. Results: Ninety-three participants representing 68 unique institutions completed the survey. Barriers to expressing on campus included inadequate lactation spaces, lack of storage for breast pump equipment/expressed milk, and lack of time to express. Conversely, access to adequate lactation spaces, having appropriate breast pump equipment, and on-campus social support, were important facilitators. Conclusion: Comprehensive lactation policies may improve on-campus breastfeeding experiences among students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2031-2037
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • Breastfeeding
  • colleges
  • lactation support
  • students
  • universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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