Lactation Support for Students

Providing a supportive environment to enable parenting students who are lactating

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides a supportive environment to enable parenting students who are lactating reasonable break times and private, non-restroom locations to express their milk during school and school-sponsored activities.

According to the Code of Virginia 22.1-79.6, the Program Policy 4425, and Regulation 2137, FCPS subscribes to the classroom support approach which shall be communicated to applicable students and staff in all school locations. FCPS provides this support in recognition of the well documented health advantages of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, and in conjunction with section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Health Care Reform).

Student Responsibilities

At least two weeks prior to returning to school, complete the Student Lactation Time Request Form (PDF) and submit the form to your Principal or school counselor. 

  • Prior to your return to school, contact your school counselor and the school Public Health Nurse to discuss the schedule for lactation breaks and access to the room designated by the school administrator.
  • In collaboration with the school counselor, communicate with classroom teachers affected by the lactation breaks.
  • You will be provided a pass in order to leave a class early or report to a class late for pumping and storing your breast milk
  • You will need to supply your own breast pump and all equipment needed to support pumping and have a safe place to store your supplies when they are not being used.
  • You must be able to set up a pump, express breast milk and store it appropriately.

Milk Storage

Each student is responsible for proper storage of her milk using either an FCPS provided refrigerator, if one is available at the school, or her own personal storage cooler if a designated refrigerator is not available. Breast milk should not be stored in a multi-use refrigerator to avoid contamination.

A Designated, Private Space to Express Milk

A private room or space (not a toilet stall or restroom) will be available for students to breastfeed or express milk. The private room/space will be free from intrusion, sanitary, located near a sink with running water and have an electrical outlet.

Maintenance of Lactation Areas

Students requesting lactation breaks are responsible for keeping their personal areas clean and neat for the next user by wiping surfaces and discarding any personal use items. Students will be responsible for providing safe storage of own breast pump equipment.

Your Questions Answered

What kind of food and drinks can I have?
You should keep eating healthy foods like you did when you were pregnant. Make sure you drink water when you are thirsty. You should avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and drugs, because they pass through your milk to your baby.

How long should you breastfeed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months or for as long as mother and baby desire. For the first six months of life, your baby only needs breast milk to grow and be healthy. Avoid bottles and pacifiers and nurse often so you can make plenty of milk for your baby.

What if I have problems?
If you are having problems with breastfeeding, don’t give up. Ask for help from your physician, other breastfeeding moms, a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) counselor or a lactation consultant. Most problems can be fixed easily and then you can keep breastfeeding, which is best for you and your baby. 

Tips for Pumping and Storing Milk

  • Always collect milk in a clean container.
  • Keep the milk in the refrigerator. Add to it during the day.
  • When you have 2-4 ounces, store it in a clean reusable bottle with a tight cap or a breastmilk storage bag.
  • Mark the date on it and always use the oldest first.

Breast Milk Storage Guide

  • Room Temperature: 6 to 8 hours
  • Insulated Cooler Bag: 24 hours
  • Refrigerator: 5 days
  • Freezer (two-door refrigerator): 3 to 6 months
  • Freezer (Chest or Deep Freeze): 6 to 12 months

Back to School

The teachers and staff are excited that you are coming back to school. We will do all we can to help you plan your day so that you can attend class and continue to breastfeed.

Things to Remember

  • You can succeed at breastfeeding while attending school.
  • Breastfeeding allows you to provide the food that is perfect for your baby. Your milk gives your baby the healthy start that will last a lifetime.
  • Practice pumping and giving bottles before returning to school.
  • Wait until your baby is four weeks old before giving bottles.
  • Talk to your school counselor or public health nurse for help and support.
  • Bring a cooler and bottles to store and carry milk.
  • Nurse your baby before you leave each morning.
  • Nurse your baby often at night and on weekends.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day at school.

Lactation Support for Employees is available through our Employee Wellness Program