JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 28, 2021) – Brooke Army Medical Center installed two new lactation pods earlier this month for use by staff members and beneficiaries.
The modules will complement the three lactation rooms already present at the BAMC. Mothers who choose to use the rooms can either bring their breast pump equipment or feed their children in the pods.
“Some women are even embarrassed to ask if there’s a space where they can express themselves,” said Michelle Valdez, executive director of BAMC’s higher medical education and project manager for the Lactation Pods project. “It’s true that mums can feed themselves anywhere, but we wanted to make sure we had a place where they could have their privacy.”
Although the law allows mothers to pump or breastfeed in any location they choose, BAMC’s lactation rooms and new lactation pods provide privacy for staff and beneficiaries who choose to use them.
“For staff, we realized that each unit needed to develop its own dedicated space (for breastfeeding mothers),” said Dena Miller, inpatient lactation consultant at BAMC. “Units usually had makeshift rooms.”
This meant that for many years, BAMC staff who needed to express breast milk used a designated space such as a locker room or closet that had been cleaned and cleared for use. However, the only space for beneficiaries to express or feed their infants was in the pediatric ward or in their rooms if they were hospitalized.
Over several years, the BAMC has designated three locations as lactation rooms. These rooms complied with Military Directive 2015-43, Revised Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy. However, the new pods will ensure adequate facilities for mothers wishing to breastfeed or express in areas other than pediatrics.
“We’re a medical facility, so our staff really needed adequate spaces,” said Carolyn Lowe, BAMC’s outpatient lactation consultant. “If they didn’t have time, they wouldn’t pump. And, if they didn’t express, then their milk supply would go away.
Although there are alternatives, many healthcare providers encourage breastfeeding or the use of breast milk as the main source of nutrition for newborns and babies. BAMC’s new facilities will provide moms with a safe and private place to breastfeed or express milk. The pods are lit, have two bench seats – one on either side of the egg-shaped pod – and power outlets so moms can plug in their own gear. The pods do not have breast pump equipment.
One module is located on the second floor next to elevator C and the second is just outside BAMC’s OB/GYN clinic. The pods, both Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, are accessible 24 hours a day via the free Mamava app. Moms can download the app to unlock the pods. Instructions for unlocking the pods are on each one.
“It was really a team effort,” Valdez said. “The lactation consultants, the management and everyone involved in this project and in this process have put in a lot of work. I am happy that we have these facilities for our staff and for our patients.
|Date posted:||28.04.2021 08:42|
|Location:||FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, USA|
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