Published on Thursday, March 1, 2018
Media Contact: Alana Bowman
Following on the heels of Winfred Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants receiving the World Health Organization’s “Baby Friendly” designation, the Rowland Medical Library has become a little friendlier to nursing mothers returning to work or school.
The new Nursing Mothers’ Room, located in room U115-2 inside the Collaborative Learning Center, is now available during library hours for use by students, faculty and staff of the University of Mississippi Medical Center who are pumping breast milk.
“It's a considerable time commitment when you go back to work or school and continue to pump,” said Sarah Adcock, instruction and research librarian and assistant professor of Academic Information Services. “We wanted to do whatever we could to support mothers and make it easier.”
Organizations from the Centers for Disease Control to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the WHO recommend that babies be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months and breast milk with supplemental foods for at least the first year, but many mothers must resume work or school activities much sooner than that.
The national rate of babies fed exclusively with breast milk at six months is 22.3 percent, according to the CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card, compared to the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding target of 25.5 percent. Mississippi has a rate of 9.3 percent at the same milestone. Adcock said encouraging new mothers to continue to breastfeed is one way UMMC can help achieve the goal of a healthier Mississippi.
With today’s technology plus a quiet, private corner, exclusive feeding of breast milk for six months is still an option for a mother completing a professional degree or returning to work at UMMC. In fact, some working mothers have a right by law to access to a private room for pumping breast milk.
“With the ACA, employers are required to provide a space for employees to pump that is not a bathroom,” Adcock said.
About seven mothers have already begun to use the room. Lauren Nichols, student admissions officer in the registrar's office for the traditional and accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, will reach the one-year breastfeeding milestone soon. Her daughter, Ava, is still receiving breast milk at 11 months.
“Having the room makes it so much easier,” Nichols said. “I love that UMMC is embracing breastfeeding and making it easier for us to pump.”
Susan Clark, professor of Academic Information Services, said the idea for the room came from Dr. Ralph Didlake in March of last year. The Medical Center offers two private lactation rooms, one near the NICU and one in the main hospital, but there were none on the academic side of the campus for employees and students. Clark said the library had a space that was not being utilized at that time.
“We're near the schools, near research and thought it would be a quiet dedicated space for the mothers,” Clark said. Construction began in November.
The library is still waiting on some of the décor to arrive, but the room is functional now. Features include a privacy half-wall dividing the two stations, a sink for washing up and computers with access to LactMed, a database resource for nursing mothers provided by the National Library of Medicine.
The computer stations in the room were funded by a Technology Improvement Award offered by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
“Our goal is to have a calming atmosphere,” Adcock said. “We want the room to be a comfortable and relaxing space to support our new mothers.”
The room will accommodate up to two women, but those wanting privacy can request to pump alone. It is available during the library’s regular hours, which can be found online. Nursing Mothers' Room Policies for use can be found on the website.
For more information about how to access the room, contact Chameka Robinson, associate professor of Academic Information Services, at (601) 984-1230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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