Nursing mothers now have an important resource in the city of Schenectady with the installation of a new Mamava breastfeeding/pumping unit. The portable pod, located on the SUNY Schenectady County Community College campus, provides nursing mothers with a safe and private space to pump or breastfeed when away from home.
The lactation pod’s presence on the SCCC campus is part of “Creating Breastfeeding Friendly Communities,” a five-year grant awarded to St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) by the New York State Department of Health. SPHP was one of six organizations statewide awarded the grants, which began in February 2017. The aim of the project is to fund a coordinated community network to build/expand community-based breastfeeding partnerships, policies and environmental changes for breastfeeding protection, promotion, support and care management within community settings and businesses, and with child care and health care providers.
SPHP chose SUNY SCCC as the location for the Mamava station because of the college’s proximity to downtown Schenectady, and its ability to reach students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public. The grant, held by SPHP, covers areas of the Capital District that statistically have the lowest rates of breastfeeding and highest rates of obesity, as determined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data and Women, Infants, and Children Food and Nutrition Service utilization rates.
“One very important benefit of breastfeeding is obesity prevention,” said Erin Sinisgalli, Director of Community Health Programs for SPHP. “Among all the hosts of health benefits, breastfed babies also learn how to regulate their food intake and develop healthy eating patterns.”
Kristen Lynch, Outreach Specialist at SPHP and coordinator of the grant, is hopeful the Mamava’s presence will not only encourage more women to keep breastfeeding, but will also have a positive impact on the future of the community.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with SUNY SCCC on this project,” said Lynch. “They are creating an environment that supports every mom, regardless of their infant feeding choice.”
“The installation of the Mamava nursing pod on our campus aligns perfectly with our mission to be an inclusive, collaborative community,” said Stacy McIlduff, Executive Director of Development at the College. “In addition to faculty, staff, and community members, the pod will be available to students enrolled at the College who are nursing mothers working on completing their degrees. The pod will play an important role in our efforts to invest in campus renewal and we are delighted to work with St. Peter’s Health Partners and the Department of Health to increase access for mothers spending time on our campus.”