Studying and working with children: new breastfeeding and family room set up

A good work-life balance requires good framework conditions. A new breastfeeding and family room at TU Ilmenau therefore now offers students and employees with children a place to retreat to breastfeed, change or feed their baby. A desk for mobile working with children and a "Kidsbox" are also available on the first floor of the Kirchhoffbau. Together with the volunteer initiative "Breastfeeding-friendly City of Ilmenau", the university is thus taking a further step towards becoming a breastfeeding-friendly community.

Mehrere Personen in einem Zimmer TU Ilmenau/Barbara Aichroth
The new breastfeeding and family room at the TU Ilmenau is welcomed by (from left to right) Christina Beer from the midwife consultation in the Campus Family Office, Romy Titz, deputy head of the Studentenflöhe daycare center, Equal Opportunities Officer Dr. Katja Tonisch, Equal Opportunities Officer Nadine Heuchling, Diversity Officer Andrea Krieg, Tanja Schmidt from the volunteer initiative “Breastfeeding-friendly City of Ilmenau” and Katrin Reif, Equal Opportunities Officer of the City of Ilmenau.

Andrea Krieg knows that reconciling family and care work with career and studies is a particular challenge for students and staff at TU Ilmenau. This is why the Head of the Division Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Health is working with her colleagues to promote family-friendly and equal opportunities for studying and working at the university:

With the Studentenflöhe daycare center right on campus, flexible working hours and a good infrastructure for working from home and mobile working, young families or employees with care responsibilities at the university already have good conditions for balancing family and career.

Nevertheless, the department has set itself the task of further expanding these existing family-friendly structures and established childcare options. "The back and forth between the childcare facility, office, lecture hall and changing table is particularly challenging for young families and often causes a lot of stress and time pressure," says Equal Opportunities Officer Katja Tonisch:

Anyone who becomes a parent during their studies has to completely reorganize themselves.

In order to provide even more relief for students and employees with babies and small children in particular, TU Ilmenau has now set up a breastfeeding and family room on campus, which aims to give parents more flexibility and freedom when working and studying.

In future, those who have no other childcare options will be able to breastfeed, change nappies or feed baby food comfortably and in a protected environment between lectures or meetings. A nursing sofa with a nursing cushion, a kettle, a bottle warmer and a changing table are available for this purpose.

Of course, caring partners of employees and students or grandparents can also use the room, for example

says Andrea Krieg. Anyone who needs a place to work with a child for a short time due to a lack of other care can also use the room and will find suitable facilities for this: In addition to a desk and a mobile child seat, there is also a kids' box in our new breastfeeding and family room. The toys in the box are suitable for children up to primary school age and range from Lego bricks to books for first-time readers. A travel cot and a folding mattress also provide parents with sleeping facilities for their child. Another Kidsbox is located in group study room 5 on the mezzanine floor of the university library, which can also be converted into a parent-child workroom if required. The offer is completed by the existing play corner with a microwave for heating bottles and food in the canteen.

This is definitely a gain in quality of life for mothers, children and the whole family

says social worker Tanja Schmidt from the volunteer initiative "Breastfeeding-friendly city of Ilmenau". She has been working with other Ilmenau residents and the Ilmenau University of Technology to create a breastfeeding-friendly community since 2022. With the support of Ilmenau artist Katharina May and donations from the "Miteinander stärken" campaign, the initiative has developed, among other things, the pictograms that indicate breastfeeding and nappy-changing-friendly places in Ilmenau and, more recently, the TU Ilmenau family room in room 1099 of the Kirchhoffbau. Other breastfeeding and nappy-changing-friendly places in Ilmenau include the Ilmenau unpackaged store "Lose & Lecker" and the drugstore dm. A "digital brochure" is also planned, which contains an overview of all breastfeeding and nappy-changing-friendly places in Ilmenau and is to be handed out at the same time as the welcome gift from the city's equal opportunities officer.


Information on using the breastfeeding and family room

The new breastfeeding and family room is located in room 1099 in the Kirchhoffbau on the Oberer Ehrenberg campus of the TU Ilmenau. As a low-threshold offer for students and employees of the university, it can also be used at short notice without prior booking. The key can be obtained on request from the university security service in the Grace-Hopper-Bau (IT Service Center).


Family at the university

TU Ilmenau is a member of the "Familie in der Hochschule" association. The members see themselves as pioneers in the social development towards more family orientation and appreciation of diversity. As a member university, TU Ilmenau has also signed the "Family in Higher Education" charter. In doing so, the university has made a voluntary commitment to promote the compatibility of family responsibilities with studies, teaching, research and science-supporting activities and to align its organizational and personnel development strategies accordingly.


Andrea Krieg

Head of Division of Equality, Diversity & Health | Diversity Officer