Tampa's courthouses offer lactation rooms.


Four paragraphs on page 9 of the October 1, 2016, Bar News jumped out at two staff attorneys at the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa.

The headline was "Dade County Courthouse features a lactation room," and Nicole Gehringer, eight-months pregnant, and Lyndsey Siara, who had recently finished pumping, both agreed it would be great if Hillsborough County's courthouse had such an accommodation for nursing mothers, too.

They took their idea to Trial Court Administrator Gina Justice.

"She was immediately on board, and we discussed what steps needed to be taken to get the rooms opened, like signage and appropriate furnishings. Our chief judge (Ronald Ficarrotta) was also on board," said Gehringer.

The two moms proudly witnessed their idea come to life on May 12, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of two lactation rooms: one on the sixth floor of the main Edgecomb Courthouse at 800 East Twiggs Street, and another on the fourth floor of the Criminal Courthouse Annex at 401 N. Jefferson Street.

The lactation rooms are available to all nursing or pumping mothers at the courthouses, including attorneys, professional staff, jurors, and members of the public.

Before, mothers who needed to pump their milk or nurse their babies were accommodated in a vacant office or a conference room.

This setup is better, both moms agree, because there is now a designated space to go, in a private, softly lit room with comfortable chairs, a locking door, and electrical outlet. One room even has an attached bathroom.

Nursing mothers know firsthand that a...

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