Today VA Puget Sound Health Care System became home to freestanding lactation pods designed to give nursing mothers a private and convenient place to breastfeed and pump.
“VA Puget Sound has the largest, and fastest growing Women Veterans’ Program in the Northwest health network,” said Veterans Integrated Services Network 20 Director Dr. Teresa Boyd. “VA Puget Sound’s new lactation pods are another way it is supporting women Veterans who served our country, and the staff who care for them.”
VA Puget Sound’s Women’s Health Program has more than 17,000 women enrolled for care.
Breastfeeding contributes to health and wellness benefits for both mothers and babies. Breast milk is considered by experts as the gold standard, offering a balance of nutrients and ability to boost the baby’s immune system.
“Having recently returned from maternity leave, I had lots of questions about where I’d be able to pump. I was delighted to learn about our new lactation pods. They are the perfect solution for the working moms we have at VA Puget Sound and the Veterans we care for who choose to breastfeed their babies,” said Dr. Abigail Hikida, a Homeless Primary Care Team staff physician, VA Puget Sound’s first mom to test out the new pods. “I really appreciate that the lactation pod option is available for convenience and privacy for our patients, visitors and staff to support our lactation needs and goals.”
A total of six pods will be available at its Seattle and American Lake campuses—including two Disabilities Act compliant pods designed for wheelchair accessibility. Locations of the Mamava Lactation Pods:
- American Lake:
- Building 2 (2nd floor near primary care clinic)
- Building 85 (1st floor waiting room)
- Building 81 (ADA pod, 1st floor old urgent care waiting area)
- Building 100 (ADA pod, 1st floor in Veterans lobby)
- Building 100 (4th floor near patient elevators)
- Building 101 (1st floor around the corner of the main entrance)
The pods are equipped with spacious seating, lighting, counter space, fold down shelves, USB ports and power outlets. Each pod also locks automatically upon entry to provide privacy. In addition to the new lactation pods, VA Puget Sound continues to offer lactation rooms at its American Lake (Building 200, 1st floor, room F105—employees only) and Seattle (Building 101, 2nd floor, room 2E80A) campuses.
“Breastfeeding is an investment in health, and we are thrilled to offer women Veterans, visitors and nursing moms on the VA Puget Sound Team special designated places to pump or nurse their babies,” said VA Puget Sound Women Veterans Program Manager Janice Muhammad, who is also a certified nurse midwife. “We are striving to do our best to create supportive and safe environments for mothers who choose to breastfeed. This makes life easier and less stressful for nursing moms.”
To gain access to the lactation pods, nursing or pumping moms must first download the free Mamava app (www.mamava.com/mobile-app). From the app, mom can securely find designated lactation areas at VA Puget Sound as well as across the nation.
VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 155,000 Veterans across the Pacific Northwest—approximately 120,000 are enrolled with a primary care team at one of its 10 care sites: two main campuses (American Lake and Seattle), six outpatient clinics (Edmonds, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Port Angeles, Puyallup and Silverdale) and two Community Resource & Referral Centers (Georgetown in Seattle and Renton). As the VA’s 4th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). For more information visit www.va.gov/puget-sound-health-care or call 800-329-8387. For Veterans in Crisis, please use the Veterans Crisis line at 800-273-8255 (press 1).