Family Leave, Healthcare, and Lactation

Once you have confirmed your caregiving commitment– whether for a new child or an adult relative–there are a number of issues to consider, from how you want to take parental leave to what health insurance plan you will choose for yourself and your dependent to whether you hope to breastfeed and where to do so on campus. This page provides information about a range of health insurance options and about policies and resources for breastfeeding, including the locations of lactation rooms across campus.

Carrington Hall 100714

Carrington Hall Lactation Room

Registering online for this class creates an automatic email notification to your supervisor. If you wish to register without creating this notification to preserve your privacy, please call Organization & Professional Development at 962-2550.

UNC-Chapel Hill provides faculty and staff who become parents, either by birth or adoption or foster-care placement of a minor child, with leave to allow for the healthy recovery of the primary caregiver, bonding with the adopted child, and/or a period of family adjustment. This workshop provides an overview of the parental leave process and addresses frequently asked questions regarding maternity and paternity leave such as “How does FMLA work?” and “When and how do I apply for leave?” and “How do I get paid while on leave?” Course objectives:

•  Awareness of entitlements with respect to parental leave
•  Understanding of the process for taking maternity and paternity leave
•  Knowledge of resources available to new parents (i.e. benefits and work/life programs)

Location: 104 Airport Drive, 1501-A
Sponsor: Benefits Services

Parking and Transportation offers several important accommodations for pregnant women.

  • Pregnant women can apply for a temporary disability parking pass with medical documentation of a qualifying condition.
  • These accommodations can also include use of the Point-to-Point (P2P) service for moving around campus.
  • Contingent upon availability, Parking and Transportation might be able to temporarily relocate a parking space closer to your work location; you will have to pay any difference in cost of parking permits.

International students, faculty, and staff should consult the Office of International Student and Scholar Services about requirements and procedures for establishing a new child’s nationality.

There are a range of UNC, private, and public health insurance plans.

Campus Health Services: For students, Campus Health Services offers some pregnancy care, including pregnancy testing and prenatal counseling, but it no longer offers obstetrics care.  CHS will provide referrals to several UNC Hospitals departments (Obstetrics, Gynecology, Family Medicine), which accept all student and postdoctoral plans as well as many plans offered through the Marketplace and Medicaid. These plans are also accepted at many other area facilities.

Birth Partners UNC Volunteer Doula Service Program provides trained volunteer doulas for women giving birth at UNC Women’s Hospital. Women can request a volunteer doula as part of their birth plan or when they arrive at the hospital for delivery, although the program cannot guarantee that a doula will be available. Spanish-speaking doulas are available. Please contact doula[at] for more information.

UNC health insurance options for students with dependents:

  • Student Blue undergraduate BCBSNC plan for the student; as of August 1, 2015, Student Blue will not allow participants to add dependent coverage. Students will have to buy coverage for their dependents through the Marketplace or another private vendor.
  • Postdoc Student Blue plan (BCBSNC)
  • Grad student RA/TA Student Blue plan (BCBSNC)

Affordable Care Act Marketplace: The ACA Marketplace provides access to subsidized health insurance from a number of North Carolina providers. Depending on income and family size, you might be eligible for substantial tax credits for your coverage. Under the ACA, “maternity care and childbirth … are an essential health benefit” and are therefore covered under almost all plans available through the Marketplace. Having a baby also qualifies as a Special Enrollment Period or major life event, meaning you can sign up for coverage outside of the open enrollment window. The Marketplace also offers plans covering dependents.

UNC employees who have insurance through UNC should check the provisions of their specific plan and see the page for “UNC Caregiver Resources”; your HR representative should be able to answer any questions, but please also feel free to contact us. UNC health insurance options for employees with dependents (link to HR site):

  • State Health Plan Traditional 70/30 PPO: This plan is “grandfathered” under the Affordable Care Act and so does not cover ACA-identified preventive care services and medications, including breastpumps and well child visits, at 100%
  • State Health Plan Enhanced 80/20 PPO
  • State Health Plan Consumer-Directed Health Plan
  • High Deductible Health Plan
  • NC HealthSmart Stork Rewards Program: Savings program for delivery room costs; open to any State Health Plan member but must enroll during first trimester

There are a number of companies that offer individual private plans, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (who provides UNC’s plans), Aetna, Cigna, Coventry, Humana, and United Healthcare. Most of these providers make subsidized plans available through the ACA Marketplace. (The following websites can also help you to compare plans:,,, and

Depending on your income, you may also be eligible for Medicaid for yourself during pregnancy and for yourself and your child. Or, you may  be eligible for the North Carolina Health Choice (NCHC) Health Insurance Program for Children, which provides support for those who do not meet the Medicaid cut offs. Eligibility (based on one child, 0-5 years old) is based on the monthly income cut off limits below:

  • Medicaid for Infants and Children: no more than $2043
  • Medicaid for Families with Dependent Children: $434
  • Medicaid for Pregnant Women: no more than $2570
  • NCHC: lives in NC, age 6-18, has no comprehensive private insurance, does not qualify for Medicaid or other state or federal programs.

You can apply online or in person at the Department of Social Services for your county of residence.

Many women struggle with depression and other challenges following pregnancy. UNC’s School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, in the Center for Women’s Mood Disorders, conducts research about and offers treatment for postpartum depression, including a free postpartum depression support group and website of resources. It includes  outpatient clinics staffed by perinatal Psychiatrists, NPs, and PhDs who offer medication management and psychotherapy tailored to the needs of women who are pregnant or postpartum. UNC also has the only Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit in the entire country.

The university adopted a Lactation Support Policy in 2010, which you can read here. In short, the University (via individual supervisors) must provide appropriate space and allow adequate break time to women choosing to breastfeed, for one year after the birth of  the infant.

The Lactation Toolkit provides more information about the policy, how to implement it, and what meets university and federal guidelines for a designated lactation space. It also includes suggestions for how supervisors and nursing mothers can address the issue with supervisors, colleagues, and others.

The Lactation Toolkit is also available in its separate components:

For support working with your supervisor to accommodate lactation, please contact the Women’s Center or your HR representative. The US Department of Health and Human Resources provides guidelines and support materials here, and this handout identifies UNC’s minimum requirements to qualify as a lactation space. It is important to know that federal law specifically states that a bathroom is NOT a suitable private space for lactation.

Faculty and staff enrolled in the NC State Health Plan have the opportunity to apply up to a 40% discount on the purchase of a breast pump through Edgepark medical supply company. Edgepark will ask for a doctor’s authorization and due date, but they carry several brands including Medela and Ameda, and possibly others. Find out more information by visiting Edgepark medical supply company website or calling 1-800-321-0591.

However, under the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance plans except “grandfathered” plans must cover breast pumps, either through rental or purchase. All of UNC’s health plans, except the Basic 70/30 plan, comply with ACA guidelines.

  • Carolina BEBES is a student group in the School of Public Health dedicated to learning more about birth and breastfeeding and to advocating for supportive breastfeeding practices on campus, locally, nationally and globally.
  • The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Initiative in the Maternal and Child Health Department of the School of Public Health furthers statewide, national, and global health through increased understanding and support for optimal infant and young child feeding in relation to maternal and child health.
  • UNC Hospital’s Lactation Services has board-certified lactation consultants on staff seven days a week. Call the Breastfeeding Warmline at 919-966-4148.
  • Contact La Leche League or attend one of their regular meetings. You can find information and schedules for La Leche League of Chapel Hill here, or consult the La Leche League of North Carolina website for additional groups and locations.
  • The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition hosts ZipMilk, a nifty database of breastfeeding resources based on ZIP code. Use this to find the local support you need!
  • A new app called latchME helps women find breastfeeding resources nearby. Click here fore more information.

For bereaved or surrogate mothers, WakeMed accepts donations of breastmilk to its Mother’s Milk Bank, which provides breastmilk to premature newborns in North Carolina and on the East Coast.

For moms who breastfeed on campus, there are 13 campus lactation rooms (map) available to faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Descriptions are below.  The CarolinaGO app also includes a map of lactation rooms with access information, in the Engage section (iOS and Android). For students, faculty, and staff primarily working in the hospital, this site identifies lactation rooms in the hospital. (Please note that some rooms require hospital badge access because they are in locked units; 1 room in Children’s Hospital Basement and 2 on the 4th Floor of Memorial Hospital are available to anyone.)

If your building does not have an easily accessible lactation room, please contact us (cwc[at], and we will be happy to work with you and your building manager to address this need.

Student Union 100814

Carolina Union Lactation Room

Brooks Building, Computer Science Department
Room FB 137
Sink available in the room; small refrigerator available.
Contact: Available during building hours; Jodie Turnbull (919-590-6200).

Carolina Union
Room 3200
Rocking chair and baby changing station available in the room.
Contact: Keys available at main information desk 8am – midnight (962-2286)

Carolina Women’s Center – Suite 101 in UNC Stone Center Building
Suite 101, Room 101B
Contact:  Available 9am-5pm; call 962-8305 for details.

Carrington Hall (School of Nursing)
Room #307-O
Small refrigerator available.
Contact: Room is locked; code available from Kathy Moore in room 1200 or call 966-4260; building open 24 hrs a day.

MacNider Hall Lactation Room

MacNider Hall Lactation Room

Center for Women’s Health Research (Southern Village)
104B Market Street
Convenience room (not an official lactation room).
Contact: Available during business hours (843-7720)

First Dental Building (School of Dentistry)
Room 3060
Multi-user room (6 spaces). Available 8am-5pm. **Users from outside the School of Dentistry, please avoid during 12:30-2:30pm**
Sink and full-size fridge available in room
Contact: School of Dentistry Academic Affairs to receive access code, (919) 537-3347

Genetic Medicine Building
Room 1004
Available 6am-6pm. Access via Med School Photo ID office (041 MacNider Hall, 919-843-3787).

MBRB Lactation Room

MBRB Lactation Room

MacNider Hall
Room 309
Sink available in the room.
Contact: Available 6am-6pm. Access via Med School Photo ID office (041 MacNider Hall, 919-843-3787).

Marsico Hall
Room 1101
Full size fridge, sink.
Privacy curtain in front of door.
Available 6am-6pm; access via Med School Photo ID office (041 MacNider Hall, 919-843-3787).

McColl Building (Kenan-Flagler Business School)
No dedicated lactation room, but potential users should contact the administrative personnel of their program, who will work with users to identify a private, secure room on a semester-by-semester basis.

Medical Biomolecular Research Building (MBRB)
Rm 2205A
Full size fridge, sink, and changing station.
Available 6am-6pm; access via Med School Photo ID office (041 MacNider Hall, 919-843-3787).

Rosenau Hall Lactation Room

Rosenau Hall Lactation Room

NC Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Road
Sink and refrigerator available in the room.
Contact: Available 9am-5pm; Charlotte Jones Rowe (962-0522)

Rosenau Hall (School of Public Health)
Room 227A
Sink available in the room.
Building open 7am-7pm. Contact Annette Raines (966-3526) or Linda Mitchell (966-7831) for access.
You can also request the code at this link.

Wilson Hall Lactation Room

Wilson Hall Lactation Room

Wilson Hall
Room G 16
Sink and baby changing station available in the room.
Contact: Jason Worrell (843-7336) or go to room B 31