Creating a Lactation Room, USN-style

Creating a Lactation Room, USN-style

Today I was privileged to meet with a Lt. Shelburne (USN), who by chance picked up a copy of my book when she was near to quitting breastfeeding her little boy after her return to duty. She found the information she needed to get her milk supply back up, but she also found the desire to help other pregnant and breastfeeding mothers at her command be successful as well. I met with the Lt. because she has been working tirelessly over the past few months to create a Lactation/Pumping room at her command for herself and the 6 other pregnant or breastfeeding moms (some of whom were also close to quitting). She has been successful in not only creating a wonderful lactation room (more on that in a few), but she also has managed to have her command order a Symphony pump for the room! By far the most important piece is that she has written a command-wide policy that outlines, step-by-step what pregnant moms, the supply officer, the XO and CO, and the command are required to do and provide for breastfeeding moms at the command. Having this policy in place at the local level means that when Lt. Shelburne rotates out to a new command, the program won’t fall apart…it is set-up for the next person to take over. As I left today the CO was set to sign the policy into place.

Back to the room, it is about 10×10 with 4 tables and chairs, a locking door (with assigned keys,) a shower curtain blocking the door so when the door opens the moms are ‘hidden’, a refrigerator, TV, clock, water dispenser, hand-sanitizer, plenty of outlets, reading material, a bulletin board with photos of the mom’s babies, a clock and a radio. It is cozy, but the moms like it as they can chat and socialize (which by the way helps with milk production…oxytocin is released when women are together, increasing milk supply for all in the room!) Outside the room, in the hallway, is a large bulletin board with handouts, copies of the OPNAVINST 6000.1C and other useful breastfeeding information.

I’ve said before that successful breastfeeding in the military relies on two very important items: information and support. With support from the top down being paramount in the hierarchal structure that is the military. This command lactation room and policy is a prime example of the support that is so needed…Lt. Shelburne has been the catalyst for getting the room set-up and the policy written and in place…but she also has the full backing and support of the XO and CO of her command. It is apparent in talking with the enlisted personnel at the command who are using the room, that having this support, from the top down, has been integral to their success. outside lactation room

I applaud Lt. Shelburne for her initiative, drive and determination to see this Lactation room to it’s completion, and hope that this can be both an inspiration and a template for other commands to follow suit in creating their own rooms and policies in the future!

Need help creating a Lactation Room at your command?  Read Setting Up a Lactation Room for more info.  Have a Lactation Room already?  Consider adding your info to our Military Lactation Room Directory.  

7 Responses to Creating a Lactation Room, USN-style

  1. That is an amazing thing Robyn! Things have certainly come a long way from the time when I was breastfeeding/pumping on Active Duty. I hope that the LT will speak with other women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding so other commands can take this initiative and adopt it at their commands. It would be great if you published the name of her command and commanders so others out there can publicly applaud them.

  2. Was so glad to read the comment that the women like to socialize while pumping, and that being together while they pump MAKES MORE MILK! Having a “private” pumping space that only one woman at a time is allowed to use, has always seemed a little lonely to me, and a waste of precious space. A communal pumping room sounds so friendly!

  3. That is amazing! I wish we would have had something like that when I had my son. I had to go and pump in the bathroom because there was no private area for me to use. Even if I would have been able to find a room I would have been constantly worried about someone opening the door and exposing me because there was no way to keep someone out. I am thankful at the time I was working where I wasn’t given a hard time about how often I had to pump and how long it took. I remember other girls being given a hard time for taking more than 10 minutes and having to go more than every 6 hours to pump. I even know a few who quit because they grew weary of the problems it caused. I hope this eventually becomes required reading for anyone in the military in a management role whether enlisted or officer because if more people understood the complexities of the issues I don’t think most would be more accomodating.

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