New Lactation Rooms Open for Nursing Active Duty Mothers
By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Barrera
/ Published June 11, 2021
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.”