New lactation spaces provide peace of mind for Airmen and families

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eugene Oliver
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

The 501st Combat Support Wing recently installed three lactation pods, along with implementing nine lactation rooms across the Wing.

These lactation spaces were installed as part of the Wing’s effort to provide a clean, secure, private, and well-lit area for lactating mothers to either pump or breastfeed their child.

“The lactation pods/rooms are important to have in the 501st for several reasons, first it helps us support the surgeon general’s goal of encouraging mothers to breastfeed for at least one year,” said Carlina Moreland 501st CSW health promotion coordinator. “Second, the deployment of the lactation pods and rooms was pivotal in compliance with DAFI 36-3013 which highlights that women’s health is a core component of a ready force and ultimately supports the mission.”

Moreland spoke about some of the struggles Airmen had to face prior to the lactation spaces being implemented and why it became a priority for the Wing to support Airmen and families with these spaces.

“Every August, Health Promotion shares the stories of our Airmen during Breastfeeding Awareness Month. One story in particular that stood out to me and was a huge driving force behind getting this across the line was from an Airman who was told to pump in a porta-john,” said Moreland. “Stories like this are not unique, they happen across the DoD and throughout the country.  I hope our new lactation spaces will change the story and highlight our efforts to make a huge impact on our Airmen and their families' lives.”

While the spaces are now fully functioning and available to all Airmen and family members in the 501st, Moreland described how there were multiple steps taken by many people in order for this project to be completed.

“Funding was a challenge. In late 2021, Christina Wolf, our contracting SME also found that services for lactating mothers were lacking and helped reinvigorate the project by providing vital contracting direction,” said Moreland. “The second biggest challenge was organizing the shipment of the pods from the United States. The team, which included Lt Col Schuettler, Capt Lampkin, Christina Wolf, Lisa Ortega, TSgt Evans and myself were able to work together on the requirement, complete the market research and execute successfully.

“The pods came partially assembled which helped in the quick deployment of the lactation pods across the base. The rooms however, needed to be configured and located within the standards of the regulation.  We were able to purchase all of the necessary equipment for squadrons to stand up a lactation room for our Airmen.”   

Now that the pods/rooms are fully operational, Moreland explained where Airmen and families can find them and how they can gain access whenever they may need them.

“There are three lactation pods located across the 501 CSW, one in the 423 MDS clinic, one at the RAF Alconbury gym and one at the RAF Molesworth annex gym,” said Moreland.  “The lactation pods located at the gyms were strategically placed to allow lactating moms the option of 24-hour access. 

Moreover, the Mamava pods are connected to a network of pods, Airmen and their families just need to download the app and it will allow you to see which pods are in your vicinity based on your location and which pods are available for use.  The best part is that you can unlock the pods from the app.”

Mamava App link: