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Office of Human Capital Services

People focused. Mission driven.

OHCS is moving all of our content to an intranet site specifically for NOAA employees located here. During this transition, this website will no longer be updated. Please contact hrwebmaster@noaa.gov with any questions or comments.

NOAA Nursing Mothers Program

NOAA Supports Our Nursing Mothers

If you are an expectant or nursing mother, you can be confident in knowing that NOAA is dedicated to the health and well-being of all of its employees, including new mothers returning to work. After returning to work, many breastfeeding mothers want to continue to provide breast milk to their infants, and research shows that a mother who receives workplace support, such as dedicated lactation rooms and educational resources, is much more likely to achieve her breastfeeding goals.

Transitioning back to work after having a baby can be challenging. NOAA aims to address common concerns and challenges a nursing mother might experience by providing emotional and lactation services.


NOAA’s Nursing Mother’s Program is supported by NOAA's Workforce Management Office and Federal Occupational Health's WorkLife4You Working Mothers Lactation Program.


▼ Registration

Individuals interested in participating in the Nursing Mothers Program must first register. This enables participants to receive periodic updates via email about the program. Registration also helps NOAA accurately assess the need for additional resources and services moving forward. Participants' names will always be kept completely confidential and never released as part of any reporting.

Registration Form


▼ Lactation Rooms

What is a lactation room?

A lactation room is a private, secure and clean facility where nursing mothers can express their breast milk while at work.

What accommodations are typically provided in a lactation room?

The typical lactation room will be equipped with a flat surface to place pump, a comfortable chair, and an electrical outlet. As a courtesy, some offices supply additional amenities which may include: a hospital-grade pump, a sink area for cleanup, a refrigerator for breast milk storage, a microwave for sterilization, a mirror, a reference center, and a bulletin board for sharing information and advice. Purchase of electronic breast pumps and associated amenities is the responsibility of the line or staff office.

To learn more about the amenities in your location, use the NOAA Nursing Mothers Program (NNMP) Lactation Room Directory to find your point of contact.

What do I need to know about hospital-grade pumps?

If your lactation room is equipped with a hospital-grade pump, you will need to purchase the personal attachment kit. Your personal kit should not be shared with anyone else because of the potential risks of spreading diseases to other mothers and their children. Medela describes the personal attachment kit in more detail on its website.

Who has access to lactation rooms?

Lactation rooms may be used by NOAA employees, contractors and visitors. Registration with the Nursing Mothers Program is required prior to using the room. After participants have registered, an email with a Room Agreement and Amenities Waiver will be sent. Participants will be required to sign and return documents to the NNMP manager prior to accessing room.

How do I find a lactation room near me? https://nnmp.rdc.noaa.gov:4431/PMoms/Search.aspx


▼ Peer Support Activities

Breastfeeding Webinars

NOAA Nursing Mothers Program hosts webinars focus on common challenges and concerns for the nursing mothers. Upcoming webinars include:
Making it Work: Understanding NOAA’s Lactation Support Program (TBD)
Resolving Common Breastfeeding Challenges (TBD)

Brown Bag Lunches

NNMP hosts bi-monthly lunchtime brown bags on the Silver Spring Metro Campus. The goal of the brown bag lunches is to create a nursing mothers network to share stories, information, and best practices. If interested in being part of the Silver Spring discussion group or getting a group started in your area, please send an email to: nursingmothers@noaa.gov.

NOAA Nursing Mothers Peer Support Program

The NOAA Peer Support Program offers mothers opportunities to discuss breastfeeding topics, share ideas, and experiences with one another in a safe and comfortable environment. This private group is moderated by the NNMP Program Manager. If you would like to be added to the group, please email the Lactation Manager at nursingmothers@noaa.gov.


▼ WorkLife4 You Resources

Working Mothers Lactation Kit

The NOAA Nursing Mothers Program (NNMP) provides Federal employees and their household members options to purchase starter kits containing helpful products and information including articles, guides, milk collection storage bags, and infant feeding documents. The WorkLife4You Nursing Mothers Lactation program also provides access to relevant discounts on breastfeeding products, including breast pumps. Individuals interested in receiving Working Mothers Lactation Kits or learning more about discounts can call 1-877-WL4-NOAA. For TTY/TTD service, call 1-800-873-1322.

Lactation Counseling Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants are available to Federal employees, NOAA Affiliates, and non-NOAA employees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free through the WorkLife4You Nursing Mothers Lactation Program. Lactation Consultants can provide expert guidance and coaching to help nursing mothers overcome common breastfeeding challenges including proper positions and techniques, preparing to return to work, establishing pumping schedules, learning how to store breast milk, and coordinating with caregivers. Lactation Consultants have a minimum of 2 years clinical experience working with mothers and infants and have at least 1 year of teaching experience in health education. Individuals interested in receiving lactation consultations can call the WorkLife4You 24-hour Call Center at 1-877-WL4-NOAA. For TTY/TTD service, call 1-800-873-1322.

Breastfeeding and Return-to-Work Webinars

The NOAA Nursing Mothers Program offers 2 types of webinars for expecting and nursing mothers which are provided by the WorkLife4You Working Mothers Lactation Program.  Webinars will be announced by broadcast e-mails and listed on the WFMO WorkLife4You website.  

Prenatal Breastfeeding Webinar: A webinar for expectant parents will be conducted twice a year. The webinars cover topics such as key ways to get a good start with breastfeeding, basic breastfeeding techniques, health benefits of continuing breastfeeding beyond maternity leave, and successful strategies for combining breastfeeding and work.

Return-to-Work Webinar: A webinar to assist working mothers as they make the transition back to work will be conducted twice a year. The webinar will cover topics such as how to use a breast pump, setting up a workable milk expression schedule, storing milk, maintaining a good milk supply, and preventing common breastfeeding-related health issues.

Educational Resources

Educational materials are available to help mothers prepare for and address the challenges of balancing the requirements of breastfeeding with their jobs. A wealth of information and tools on breastfeeding are available in the Mothers at Work section of the WFMO WorkLife4You website. Log in using "noaa" (lower case) as your screen name and password.


Experienced, licensed, and trained counselors are available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide guidance and support to expecting and nursing mothers and their family members dealing with breastfeeding challenges or becoming new parents. For more information, visit the NOAA Workforce Management Office EAP Program Home Page at http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/workplace/eap.html.


▼ NOAA Policy
Coming soon


▼ Break Time and Space for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act added a new subsection r to  section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requiring employers to 1) provide nursing mothers with reasonable break times to express milk for 1 year after their children’s births each time they need to express breast milk and 2) private spaces, other than bathrooms, that are shielded from view and free from intrusion by others, to express breast milk.

Subsection (r) applies only to employees who are non-exempt from Section 7 of FLSA. However, on December 20, 2010, then-President Obama delegated his authority to regulate the conduct of Executive Branch employees (see 5 U.S.C. 7301) with reference to this topic to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to provide appropriate workplace accommodations for Executive Branch civilian employees who are nursing mothers.

In accordance with this authority, Director John Berry, in a memorandum dated December 22, 2010, established that it is the policy of the Federal government to apply the same procedures specified in subsection 7(r) of the FLSA to Executive Branch civilian employees who are exempt from section 7 of the FLSA, as well.

Break Times

As implemented for the Executive Branch, agencies should provide nursing mothers with a reasonable break time to express breast milk whenever needed throughout the workday. The frequency and duration of times necessary to express breast milk may vary depending on the needs of the nursing mothers.

Break Locations

Agencies should provide nursing mothers with a private spaces to express breast milk, other than bathrooms, that are shielded from view and free from intrusion of others. While private spaces do not need to be exclusively dedicated to this purpose, temporary spaces that meet the other requirements listed above are appropriate.


The legislation does not require employers to compensate nursing mothers for break times to express breast milk. Breastfeeding mothers shall receive their normal compensation.

For more information, please see:


▼ Supervisor Resources

NNMP Guide: Supporting An Employee Who Breastfeeds

DOL: Break Time for Nursing Mothers FAQ's

NOAA Resource Guide: Alternative Work Schedule

NNMP Guide:Checklist for Creating a Nursing Mothers Room

Webinar: "Making it Work: Supporting the Nursing Employee" this webinar will focus on the following topics: Brief introduction on benefits of breastfeeding, Business Case for breastfeeding, AHC/ Section 7 FLSA, NOAA’s Support for Federal Laws, Employee example, Creating a culture of support, and tools and resources for supervisors. Presented by the NOAA Nursing Mother’s Program, Andrea Andrews.


▼ Collaboration Corner

Visit our blog for a peer support platform for NOAA breastfeeding mothers to share experiences and exchange of ideas discreetly with one another. This is a private group for NNMP participants only. If you would like to be added to the blog, please contact nursingmothers@noaa.gov.

▼ Contact Us




Page last edited: February 23, 2018

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