PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College has just made educational access to new moms a little easier.
They have recently unveiled their brand new lactation lounge.
“We’re ecstatic,” Maternal-Infant Associate Professor Denise Kenny said. “We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to see it in use.”
Kenny said she and Healthy Start Executive Director Sharon Trainor designed the room this past summer.
“The majority of our students are women who are of childbearing age, and so we felt like that they shouldn’t have to choose between breastfeeding their baby and putting their career or education on hold,” Kenny said.
The Healthy Start Coalition with the Florida Department of Health funded the equipment in the room.
It includes an electric recliner, a fridge for storing breastmilk and free coolers for moms to take their breastmilk with them.
The room also has informational resources for new moms.
“We’re bringing the information, the education and the ability for the moms that are breastfeeding and have to come to class or have to work and teach class,” Trainor said. “They just need a nice, private, comfortable area that’s better than the bathroom to go in and breastfeed.”
Kenny said they’ve provided disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to keep the room clean and safe for every mom.
As a labor and delivery nurse, Kenny said she promotes exclusive breastfeeding and wants to do what she can to help new moms with that goal.
“The goal is to exclusively breastfeed for six months to a year,” Kenny said. “There is so much research out there that shows the health benefits to mom and baby for prolonged breastfeeding in our country, so we’re trying to increase the percentage of moms who could exclusively breastfeed.”
While this is the first nursing room of its kind provided by Health Start in Bay County, Trainor said hopefully it won’t be the last.
“We’re really happy for it, and I hope it’s going to be the first of many,” Trainor said. “We’re reaching out to other areas and other parts of town to try to see if there’s a populated area that needs this same service.”