189th Airlift Wing creates dedicated space for nursing mothers

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jessica Roles
  • 189th Airlift Wing

Recently, the 189th Airlift Wing in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity, Healthy Active Arkansas, the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition, and the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, opened a lactation room, providing a comfortable space for mothers who are breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. The room, located in the 189th Medical Group building, consists of a sink, a locking door, literature on breastfeeding, chair, and a refrigerator to store expressed milk.

“ADH is excited to continue our partnership to support military moms and families, which began last year with the March of Dimes as we helped to host the state’s first Mission: Healthy Baby Shower,” said Michelle Smith, PhD, Director of the ADH Office of Health Equity. “This new collaboration with Healthy Active Arkansas is a great opportunity to introduce a segment of the Arkansas community to the work this initiative is doing to promote breastfeeding across the state.”

Smith, a drill-status Guardsman, is a Capt. at the 189th AW, Arkansas Air National Guard and the public health officer for the 189th MDG. She works in both positions providing guidance and assistance to the Airmen of the wing as well as liaises between the ADH and the wing to promote events which benefit Guardsmen and their families.

“The 189th Airlift Wing embraces inclusion and encourages serving in the Air National Guard as a new mother,” said Col. Dean Martin, 189th Airlift Wing commander. “All members play a valuable role in the mission of the wing, regardless of new family expectations. Many nursing mothers are discouraged from breastfeeding due to the lack of adequate amenities and uncomfortable location situations. This lactation room provides a comfortable and private space for our Guardsmen.”

The lactation room at the medical group is hopefully one of many to be designated as such on Little Rock Air Force Base. Providing necessary lactation facilities for nursing mothers encourages support of the health and well-being of new family members and mothers. The Air National Guard emphasizes the care of Airmen and their families and continues the promise to provide the resources to do so.