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New Lactation Rooms Open for Nursing Active Duty Mothers

Master Sgt. Ashley McCarthy, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent, sits in a lactation room located inside the vehicle maintenance building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021.

Master Sgt. Ashley McCarthy, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent, sits in a lactation room located inside the vehicle maintenance building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021. McCarthy worked with the Warrior Women’s Network and Home Front Room Revival to create the lactation room for herself and other expecting mothers in her unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera)

A lactation room was created inside the 4th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021.

A lactation room was created inside the 4th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021. The lactation room is a private space where mothers can go to nurse, pump and store the milk while at work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera)

A new lactation room was created inside the 4th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021.

A new lactation room was created inside the 4th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021. The room has locking doors, window covers, a chair, a table, a trash can, a cleaning supply area, and a notebook with resources for nursing and expecting mothers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera)

An information guide for mothers is displayed inside of a lactation room at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021.

An information guide for mothers is displayed inside of a lactation room at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, June 7, 2021. The resource was made by a member of the Warrior Women’s Network; a Make It Better group on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

Members of the Warrior Women’s Network and Homefront Room Revival teams lead a project to open lactation rooms across Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

The new lactation rooms are now open at the 4th Security Forces Squadron headquarters building and the 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance building. The two rooms offer privacy and comfort with locking doors, window covers, a comfortable chair, table, trash can, a cleaning supply area and a notebook with resources for expecting and nursing mothers.

“The goal of this project was to improve the quality of life for nursing mothers by offering a sanitary, clean and stress-free environment to nurse and pump milk,” said Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn T. Lind, 4th Fighter Wing command chief executive assistant.

In addition to the privacy and mental space a lactation room creates for nursing mothers, they also create a supportive work environment that is inclusive and adds to mission readiness.

“Onsite lactation rooms can provide a more time effective and efficient fighting force, by reducing travel times to pump at other facilities and can potentially increase female retention in the force through systemic reductions of family barriers,” said Lind. “The Air Force is advertised as joining a family, the military family. This is a huge opportunity to grow and maintain that family.”

The need for lactation rooms was determined by asking nursing active duty mothers where they pump.

“A common theme is that many women are pumping in cars, closets, and bathrooms or made to feel like it is a burden to ask,” said Master Sgt. Ashley McCarthy, 4th LRS vehicle management superintendent. “We understand that there may be an unintentional gap for units. We wanted to close that gap, and we want to send the message that we support you and your family across the wing.”

The lactation rooms were built for and by members of Team Seymour. In addition to the WWN and Home Front Room Revival, spouses, groups and units such as contracting, intelligence, ammunition, weapons and vehicle maintenance came together to complete this project. Civilian companies off base also made donations.

“It was inspiring to see how the team came together to support the project,” said McCarthy, WWN board member. “It takes a village to raise a family, let’s be that village!”

McCarthy added, it gives her peace of mind to have a clean and private space to pump. Her Airmen can better take care of themselves and have choices regarding how they care for their families.

If you are interested in creating a lactation room at another location, reach out to the WWN for help or ideas on how to get started. The WWN is also involved with other projects a well. To learn more or get involved, find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/warriorwomensnetworksjafb or email them at warriorwomensnetwork@gmail.com.

“We want to share our experience with others and allow them to succeed and enact change that can improve quality of life,” said Lind. “We are here to support command and Airmen alike and to see policy change enacted and followed through.”

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