KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the formula shortage continues across the United States, Kansas City has discovered another shortage — nursing rooms in workspaces.
The city discussed the problem in committee Wednesday and made a motion moving towards a fix.
Overall, the city has 19 mother’s rooms. There are two inside City Hall. One nursing mom, an employee with the city, said there’s a night and day difference between the two.
Now, council members are looking at adding or enhancing nursing rooms across hundreds of their buildings.
“Motion is approved,” Eric Bunch said.
Out of committee and on to council. The work begins investigating about 150 buildings looking at what they have and where there is a need, when it comes to nursing moms.
Ryana Parks-Shaw introduced the resolution.
“While we are meeting federal requirements, we can do so much better,” Parks-Shaw said.
Before the new, bright room existed, Dominique Blue said the need was beyond.
“We went up to the room and it was like, are we serious??” Blue said laughing.
Her management team was super supportive, but she felt there wasn’t a safe place to pump.
“Twice in one week, while I was pumping, men actually walked into that space. Where I was basically in a cubical with nothing to separating me from them but a curtain,” Blue said, “and one of them even said, ‘oh, I didn’t even know what this room was used for’ and I’m behind the curtain topless at this point.”
“We have not been intentional about ensuring that we have suitable space for our nursing mothers,” Parks-Shaw said.
A few weeks later, the city provided a new room with plants, chairs and even a fridge to store milk.
“This is like your liquid gold,” Blue said.
The city is also working on creating a nursing suite. General Services Director Yolanda McKinzy said it’ll be a four room area with a fridge, microwave and sink.
“Depending on the density of population in the work sites, it can be as small as an office or as large as a suite,” McKinsy said.
Councilwoman Melissa Robinson also wants to make the public a priority, with a special focus on nursing rooms in city buildings, like community centers.
“Lactating people shouldn’t have to pump in a broom closet or a toilet stall,” Bunch said. “The indignity of that is just something that we should, not, that we should be leading the charge in.”
They’re also assessing how many facilities, population size for each building and costs of projects.
McKinzy and her team will report back to city council in about four months with the findings.