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
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
Strubhar said the pods are a great tool to promote
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