SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Springfield Health Center has installed a freestanding lactation pod in the lobby, to provide nursing mothers with a clean, private place to breastfeed babies or pump breast milk.
Vermont and New Hampshire laws now require employers to provide nursing mothers with a place to do so, that is not a bathroom.
Donations from MVP Health Care, Mamava lactation pod company, and Konrad Prefab helped make the pod installation possible, and there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. in the main lobby at Springfield Health Center, 100 River Street, Springfield, Vt. Light refreshments and tours will be offered.
The lactation pod provides women with privacy, cleanliness, and a quiet space to nurse an infant or use a breast pump. Created by two women who had experience breastfeeding and pumping milk at work and in public, the Mamava company, based in Burlington, Vermont markets temporary lactation pods for outdoor events as well as more permanent installations.
“It’s not about putting mom in a closet,” Sascha Mayer told the Boston Globe (2018/04/09). “It’s about understanding that it’s a complicated physical act, and that you need to feel comfortable to be successful.”
The suite is a self-contained, mobile pod with comfortable benches, a fold-down table, an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump, and a door that can be locked for privacy. The 4-foot-by-8-foot pod is meant for individual use, but can fit more than one person, as well as mothers with babies and other children. The Mamava suite at Springfield Health Center is located on the ground floor in the main lobby area.
“We are grateful for the generosity of MVP Health Care, Mamava, and Konrad Prefab whose collaborative efforts made it possible for SMCS [Springfield Medical Care Systems] to introduce the first Mamava lactation suite in a health center setting in VT,” said Larry Kraft, director of development for SMCS. “We are pleased to support nursing mothers in the community, and at work.”
Springfield Hospital recently opened a human milk depot to facilitate the donation of milk by nursing mothers, in collaboration with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.
“When a mother’s own milk is not available, pasteurized human donor milk is a wonderful option for new moms,” said Lyndsy McIntyre, director of Springfield Hospital’s Childbirth Center. A milk depot is a community location where screened milk donors can drop off milk for shipment to a milk bank. The milk bank screens, pasteurizes, and tests the milk, then dispenses it primarily to premature and sick babies whose mothers do not have enough milk for them. Mothers in the Springfield area can drop off their milk at the Springfield Hospital Childbirth Center depot for shipment to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast.
Human milk can be lifesaving for preterm infants. It is especially protective against a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which affects one in 10 of the smallest pre-term infants. Human breast milk is estimated to lower the risk of this condition by 79 percent.