PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College just made access to education a little easier for new moms.
They recently unveiled their brand new lactation lounge.
“We are thrilled,” said Denise Kenny, associate mother-child professor. “We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to see it in use.”
Kenny said she and Sharon Trainor, executive director of Healthy Start, designed the room last summer.
“The majority of our students are women of childbearing age, so we felt they shouldn’t have to choose between breastfeeding their babies and putting their careers or education on hold,” Kenny said.
The Healthy Start Coalition with the Florida Department of Health funded the venue’s equipment.
It includes a power recliner, fridge to store breastmilk and free coolers so moms can take their breastmilk with them.
The room also has informational resources for new moms.
“We bring information, education and capacity to breastfeeding mothers who need to come to class or work and teach,” Trainor said. “They just need a nice, private, comfortable space better than the bathroom to come in and nurse.”
Kenny said they provided disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to keep the room clean and safe for each mum.
As a labor and delivery nurse, Kenny said she promotes exclusive breastfeeding and wants to do what she can to help new moms achieve that goal.
“The goal is to breastfeed exclusively for six months to a year,” Kenny said. “There is so much research that shows the health benefits to mother and baby of prolonged breastfeeding in our country, so we are trying to increase the percentage of mothers who could exclusively breastfeed.”
Although this is the first such nursing room provided by Health Start in Bay County, Trainor said she hopes it won’t be the last.
“We’re really happy about it, and hopefully it’ll be the first in a long line,” Trainor said. “We are contacting other areas and other parts of the city to try to see if there is a populated area that needs this same service.”