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New downtown Houston boutique serves breastfeeding mothers

Work & Mother recently opened in downtown Houston. The boutique business aims to provide a private place for breastfeeding mothers to pump during the workday.

HOUSTON - Finding a place to pump can be a daily frustration for breastfeeding mothers. Companies are supposed to provide places for them, but many come up short.

A new boutique opening soon in downtown Houston aims to make it easier.

“It is a fully equipped boutique lactation facility for working moms,” said Work & Mother owner Abbey Donnell.

Work & Mother is tucked away in a corner of 712 Main Street in the bustling business district. It’s a serene place where breastfeeding mothers can come pump during the workday.

“We have everything she needs to do so,” Donnell said. "Hospital-grade equipment, accessories, lockers, refrigeration, cleaning, everything.”

Donnell isn’t a mother herself. But she heard from plenty of them about the frustration of finding appropriate places to pump while they’re away from home.

“There’s actually a legal requirement for employers to provide a space, other than a bathroom, for an employee to pump for up to a year after her child is born,” Donnell said. “Compliance is pretty bad for a number of reasons.”

We spoke with 4-month-old Charlotte Ding’s mom about the difficulty of finding a place to pump. It’s something she does four to five times a day, even when working.

“I think it’s a time for you to have some rest too,” Mengwanzi Ding said. “Because taking care of a baby is a lot of work during the day and night.”

Work & Mother hasn’t disclosed costs. But memberships will be sold to both companies and individuals. Moms will eventually be able to reserve private pumping rooms or larger office spaces through an app.

“You know, it’s a network of support in addition to the facility itself,” Donnell said. “And that actually helps increase productivity and it helps bring moms back to work more efficiently and smoothly than if they’re trying to figure it out on their own.”

Open houses are scheduled until Work & Mother opens sometime in mid-October. Donnell is already planning two other locations.

Find more information about Work & Mother here.