FORT LEE, Va. -- Kenner Army Health Clinic recently opened a Lactation Room for nursing mothers' comfort and convenience when visiting or working in the facility. The new room is part of a Northern Regional Medical Command initiative to provide a workplace lactation room and program to lower absenteeism rates and improve employee morale.

Room LO7 is located on the first floor of the clinic, right side of the main hallway across from the Eagle Eye clinic. It is open to all patients, visitors, employees and volunteers within the clinic.

"We want our nursing moms to have a comfortable and private place where they can either breastfeed or pump free from intrusion," said Dr. Janet West-Brown, Chief, Wilkerson Pediatric Clinic. "Breastfeeding is one of the most important things a mother can do for her baby, and we want to support that. The lactation room helps by reducing the stress and anxiety associated with nursing or pumping outside the comfort of home."

While Virginia law allows mothers to breastfeed in public places, the room is available if mothers want to breastfeed in private.

"The Lactation Room is another way we are showing our commitment to quality health care for our patients, staff and family members," said Col. Thomas S. Bundt, KAHC commander. "We took an existing office and completely renovated it to provide a home-like setting for nursing mothers that we think will help meet the needs of our Fort Lee community. The room is fully outfitted and provides a patient centered atmosphere to promote health and improve patient and staff satisfaction," said Bundt.

The room has two rocker recliners with footrests and side tables with outlets in the wall for plugging in pumps. Nursing moms must bring their own pump. A refrigerator has been installed to store the milk and a sink is also available in the room.

The room can accommodate two nursing mothers and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The staff is asking moms to complete an anonymous annotation in the lactation room customer logbook in order to track usage and obtain feedback for future improvements.

In addition to the lactation room, Kenner Army Health Clinic has a full-time Certified Lactation Consultant, Angela Allin, RN, who works at the Pediatric Clinic. Her role is to support and build mothers' confidence in breastfeeding through education and face-to-face consultation.

Call (804) 734-9125 for more information.