432nd MSG opens newest Creech mother’s room

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Omari Bernard
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 432nd Mission Support Group at Creech Air Force Base has finalized the construction of a new mother’s room on the south side of the installation, creating a comfortable and accessible area to support nursing mothers at Creech Air Force Base as of Dec. 30, 2020.

A lactation policy, released in an Air Force Guidance Memorandum dated Aug. 15, 2020, requires units to provide nursing mothers access to a lactation room. The updated policy, which was effective immediately, increased lactation break flexibility, and also mandated access to a refrigerator for the purpose of storing human milk.

“Having an accessible, dedicated and comfortable space to pump empowers Airmen to do something important for their baby and themselves,” said Staff Sgt. Kimberly, 432nd Security Forces Squadron training instructor. “Hopefully with this, more mothers will feel empowered to stay in the military and be a mother at the same time.”

According to Kimberly, the mother’s room on the southside of the installation will give more mothers access to pump in privacy while accommodating lactation breaks. Building a pumping room and accommodating motherhood while serving showcases the support the military has for women.

“We began planning the mother’s room back in September,” said Staff Sgt. Laymisha, 432nd Security Forces Squadron vehicle control officer. “Although there is already a mother’s room on Creech, it’s on the north side of the installation and not easily accessible for mother’s that work on the installation’s south side.”

As a mother herself, Laymisha said the burden of traveling to another unit on the other side of the installation is lifted with this new room, and will mean a lot to her as well as other mothers.

“Being able to breastfeed in a timely manner, in a dedicated space, and without worrying about people rushing you back to work alleviates a lot of stress,” Laymisha said. “We focused a lot on the décor and design of the room to give mothers a relaxing environment.”

The new room meets the mandated Air Force requirements. It features a full-sized refrigerator for storing breast milk, one-way tinted windows for privacy, rocking chair recliners and a cipher lock for 24/7 access. There are also lockers available for mother’s to securely store breast pumps and free cleaning supplies. The room is large enough to fit three mothers while adhering to social distancing policies, and includes closable privacy screens between each recliner.

According to Air Force Instruction 44-102, breastfeeding is the optimal nutrition for the first six months of a baby’s life, and extensive medical research has proven that breastfeeding has notable health, developmental and economic benefits for both mother and child.

“For my first child at a prior installation, my breastfeeding got cut short because I didn’t have the ability to pump,” Kimberly said. “Whenever I was on patrol, it wasn’t like I could just pump anywhere, so a lot of times, I found myself pumping in patrol cars, random buildings, or even outside. That became a lot to handle while working.”

As a result, Kimberly said she was only able to breastfeed for four months instead of the full year she wanted to, but thanks to this policy and supportive leadership, she has been able to continue breastfeeding her child for eight months.

“I feel like the wing has gone above and beyond what the new policy states,” Kimberly said. “Giving us a dedicated and comfortable environment really exceeded my expectation and showed the importance the wing puts on mothers coming back to work from maternity leave.”

The newly finished southside mother’s room is open, ready for use, and is located in Building 69. The code for the cipher lock is available from unit first sergeants, open 24/7 and available to all mothers with installation access.