JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Active duty females from the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, who are breastfeeding can find new support at their work. During a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 23, this support came at the first breastfeeding room in the brigade known as the "Mother's Room."
The Mother's Room is a place breastfeeding mothers can go to either privately nurse their infants or pump breast milk while at work.
According to Lt. Col. Tanya M. Foster, chief, Maternal Child Health Nursing Services with Madigan Army Medical Center, this room is important because finding a place to tend to these necessities at work can be challenging and may cause uncertainties for breastfeeding mothers.
"One of the largest barriers that we find to active duty women breastfeeding is that they feel that they will be unsupported by their command in their efforts to do so," Foster said. "By providing the time to pump, a safe, clean and private space allows more women to breastfeed and be successful doing so."
To show their support and understanding, the 2-2 SBCT leadership, Family Readiness Group, and other volunteer organizations helped make this special room a reality.
"It's important for them to know that we are thinking of them," said Jeanette Turner, wife of 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division commander Col. Jerry A. Turner. "To let them know that they are important, that they're being supported in their choices they make and that they always have a place to come to."
According to Turner, the 2-2 SBCT is all about taking care of Soldiers and their families, as seen in the last line of the brigade's vision.
"Families are the hearts behind our shields," he said. "They certainly are a part of our organization. We must understand our Soldiers' health needs to maintain unit cohesion."
"Supporting the breastfeeding mother increases readiness," Foster added. "Moms who breastfeed their infants are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight and fitness levels faster."
There are variety of reasons why females breastfeed their babies, Foster said. The most notable are the health benefits to the mother and the infant.
"Breastfed babies are less likely to have ear infections, respiratory infections, childhood cancers, diabetes, or develop asthma or other allergies," she said. "Breastfed babies are also less likely to be obese as children and adults."
She added that mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Like 2-2 SBCT, Madigan is also encouraging breastfeeding. The hospital is making pumping and breastfeeding rooms available throughout the hospital for both staff and patients. The hospital is working with units across JBLM to help establish other Mothers Rooms like 2-2 SBCT's.
"I am very proud that this unit has created this space for their mothers," Foster said. "I also know the [593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command] is also working on a room as well. I offer my support to any other units that are working on a space and encourage all units to look for a space they can designate. Supporting the breastfeeding service member is easy. Give them time, give them space and support their choice."