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Lactation pods arrive at Langley hospital for nursing mothers

By Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer | 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | March 7, 2018

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —

Finding a place to breastfeed or pump for mothers can be almost impossible on-the-go or at work. Restrooms and cars can be unsanitary and aren’t as private as a mother might want, while office spaces can be uncomfortable and aren’t efficient.

The Langley Air Force Base Hospital received new Mamava lactation pods in early February for the convenient use for staff as well as patients. The portable pods are a private space that mothers can use to breastfeed or pump while at the hospital.

The need for the pods was first noticed in 2016, so the search for funding began.

“This has been a work in progress,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chad Dellamonica, 663rd Medical Group medical equipment management office technician. “It started with a Department of Defense policy requiring federal buildings, including Military Treatment Facilities, to provide private space for nursing mothers.  We went to base contracting, they found that the pods met all our requirements as far as portability, size requirements and they executed the contract for it.”

According to Jeffrey Strubhar, Langley hospital facility manager, the suites are a great solution for nursing mothers because they are spacious, lockable, and can also fit strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and any other equipment. They also include power outlets, USB plugs, and a pull-out table.

Mothers have given great feedback in the few short weeks since the pods opened.

“The very first day they were there, not just the staff mothers, but the patients came up and made many comments about them,” said Strubhar. “The one in pediatrics was used in the first five minutes of the morning. The mothers are just ecstatic about it.”

As a previous breastfeeding mother, Lawanna Cox, 633rd MDG flight commander of maternal child flight, was joyous over the new pods.

“We’d like to all go to a breastfeeding-friendly facility, so we encourage breast is best,” said Cox. “There’s multiple reasons to breastfeed; for health reasons, it helps with immunities, it’s cheap and it also improves the bonding experience as well for moms who are able to breastfeed.”

Strubhar said the pods are a great tool to promote breastfeeding.

The hospital currently has two pods. One is located in the emergency department waiting area and another is in the pediatrics clinic check-in area, for use by the staff and patients waiting to be seen.

The Langley hospital is currently working on getting two more pods to put in different locations around the hospital. This will allow more comfortable, private space for nursing mothers at Langley.

Although Fort Eustis does not have the Mamava pods, they do have accommodations for nursing mothers.

“The lactation room has a glider for comfort, sink for rinsing and cleaning equipment as well as a refrigerator for mothers to store milk during the business day,” said Kimberly Houdashelt, McDonald Army Health center Pediatric Chief Nurse Officer in Charge. “We have a TV in the room that displays our Q-Flow numbers allowing parents to remain informed when they are next in line for immunizations or to be seen by their primary care provider.”

 

The MAHC lactation room is located next to the waiting room in pediatrics.

 

JBLE is striving to make on-the-go mothers have a more convenient experience, and the lactation pods are a huge step in achieving that.

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