Lactate Like a Champion Today: where to nurse or pump at Notre Dame on football Saturdays

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re a fellow Fighting Irish fan, so first of all, congratulations and/or I’m sorry, depending on the season you’re reading this.

Second, here’s some info on where you can nurse or pump in private on game day.

There is a lactation suite that is open to the public from 8am to 8pm on gameday.

It’s located in the Library, which, for those unfamiliar with campus, is more commonly known as the “Touchdown Jesus building.”

It’s up on the fifth floor to the right after you get off the elevators. To my knowledge, the way to access the rooms is by asking security on the ground floor of the library. However, if you’re already registered with Notre Dame’s HR department as being permitted to use lactation rooms on campus, you’ll be able to swipe your card at the fifth floor entrance to the suite for access.

The door of the fifth floor lactation suite. Swipe card access is visible in this picture, just to the left of the door.

It’s tucked away between rows and rows of books, making it a pretty quiet space. And it’s available on non-gamedays as well!

When you enter the suite, you’ll see a hallway with some chairs (pictured above) and a coat rack (pictured below). There are three rooms off the hallway; but there are no further restrictions on access once you’re in the suite.

If you’ve left a toddler shoe in Hesburgh Library’s lactation suite recently, it’s there waiting for you!
Close up of chairs in the lactation suite hallway.

Below, you can see the entrance to the first room as you walk into the suite. It is, in my opinion, the best of the three rooms, so snag this one if you can.

Why I think this room is the best:

It’s got a diaper changing table and a fan!

It also has hand sanitizer, wipes, and paper towels.

There is a big comfy chair (pictured above) plus a simpler padded wooden chair (pictured below) and an outlet.

And, like the other two rooms, it has a door separating it from the hallway.

The second room isn’t quite as fancy, but it’s nicely set up.

There’s a comfy chair, a padded wooden chair, a table, and some sanitizing wipes.

There is also an outlet.

And then we get to the third room in the hallway, which has a comfy chair, a padded wooden chair with arms (unlike the other wooden chairs – keep in mind that arms on narrower chairs like this can make it difficult to hold a baby but can work great for guests), a table, an outlet, and a box of tissues.

Unlike the other two rooms, in this room the chairs were next to each other rather than facing each other (see below). This might make this room more ideal for older siblings who consider themselves part of the feeding team or don’t need as watchful an eye.

One thing to note about all three of these rooms is that the rooms in the suite have been created using dividers that don’t go all the way to the ceiling, so there isn’t as much privacy as there could be (gap pictured below). This also means that noise travels pretty easily across rooms.

But these spaces are overall great. The inclusion of lots of seating, the fact that there’s a spot for diaper changes, and the coat hooks and tables are all wonderful. But my favorite thing about these rooms: they all have outlets! As you probably know if you pump, outlets are incredibly valuable. (This is also true if you just want to charge your phone on gameday.)

Also, keep in mind that visitors to campus are expected to wear masks in buildings at all times.

What about once I’m in the stadium?

Here’s the basic info about where you can nurse or pump in the stadium and the assurance that you can bring a pump into the stadium. Once you enter the stadium for the game, you can ask an usher to let you into either Duncan W211 or Corbett E469.

The Mysterious Corbett Lactation Room

No one I talked to seemed to know how I could get access to Corbett E469 outside of buying a ticket to a football game, going into the game, and asking an usher to nurse or pump in that room (a little outside my budget for this blog post – if you’re interested in sponsoring that effort, let me know!).

UPDATE: a friend got into Corbett’s lactation room! If you want to read her review and see the photo she took, check out this post!

But I was able to visit Duncan W211 on a non-gameday.

The Beautiful Duncan Lactation Room

I got easy access to the Duncan room by asking the staff on the ground floor to unlock it for me. Unlike many of the other lactation rooms I’ve used at the University, this one doesn’t have a swipe card for members of the University family. But all I did was ask; the front desk worker had been trained in where the key was, where the room was, and what he needed to do, so that was that.

Lactation room in Duncan, available during non-gamedays as well!

The room is tucked away from the main hallways, which is really nice for how quiet it is. If you’re looking for a spot to nurse a baby or toddler who just wants to look at EVERYTHING, this would be a great way to help them focus.

It’s beautifully welcoming when you walk in. (I especially like the pink pouf ottoman.)

The chair is comfortable, and that outlet placement is awesome – so close to the chair!

There are wipes, a lamp, and a sound machine on the table next to the comfortable chair. I really liked the inclusion and setup of these items.

On the other side of the room – a sink with soap, paper towels, and a drying mat. And again, check out the outlet above the counter – fabulous!!

Okay, here the design of the room broke down a bit for me. A mirror seems like a prime opportunity for distraction for toddlers. And those two roller chairs aren’t actually usable given the painting resting on them. Further, two roller chairs holding up a piece of art seem like prime opportunities for disaster; push one of those chairs just a bit and down comes the painting. A toddler steadying themselves on that chair while mom is cleaning up after nursing would be enough to tip everything over. Hopefully, that’s a temporary situation and the painting is there to be hung soon, but I argue that roller chairs in and of themselves are scary items around toddlers. On the bright side, check between the chairs: there’s another outlet!

Next to the door, there’s a mini fridge (which was plugged in and working!), a water font that you could turn on if it would help you relax, a crucifix, the thermostat, the lightswitch, and the emergency help button.

All in all, it’s a beautiful setup with a few things to be aware of before you use it.

First, those roller chairs with the painting are a prime opportunity for a mobile baby to have an adventure parents would rather they not have. Keep an eye out for those.

Second, there’s no radio or television in the room that I could find. So you don’t have a way to continue following what’s going on in the game except if you bring a phone and refresh a google search regularly for updates. And as someone who enjoys football, this saddened me a bit.

So, there you have it. Two spots to pump or nurse on gamedays.

I’ll keep trying to get into the other room, and I’ll update this post if I do. But keep in mind that it does exist and is usable.

If you have any questions about the lactation spaces, feel free to ask security or the ushers in the stadium or at the library.


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