By Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox, 152nd Airlift Wing
/ Published October 14, 2021
A Mamava lactation suite sits in the entryway of the maintenance building at the Nevada Air National Guard Base, Reno, Nev., October 13, 2021. The pod is the first of its kind in Reno and aims to provide a private, secure and safe place for nursing members and dependents to breastfeed or pump breastmilk. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Cox)
On Sept. 23, the 152nd Airlift Wing took delivery of two mobile lactation pods, aiming to provide a private, secure and safe place for nursing members and dependents to breastfeed or pump breastmilk.
“These pods are the first of their kind to be stood up in the city of Reno,” said Maj. Tiffany Jordan, 192nd Airlift Squadron Senior Combat Systems Officer, mother of two and certified pre- and post-natal yoga instructor. “The procurement of the lactation suites falls directly in line with the adjutant general’s priorities of unit and member readiness as well as taking care of our Airmen and families.”
Already built and ready to be put to use, the first pod is located near the main entrance to Building 9, with the second pod currently scheduled to be located inside of the Operations Building in the near future.
The pods can be located and opened using either a member’s or dependent’s cell phone with the Mamava application or with a code that can be given to any nursing mothers base wide.
Funding for the pods came from the Squadron Innovation Fund Program, a U.S. Air Force program that allows squadron commanders and their Airmen to design and kick-start new projects in order to boost lethality and readiness across the force.
Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Harrell, mother and 152nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, said that she has received full support from her entire chain of command after starting the conversation about the need for the pods last year after witnessing a member pumping breastmilk in the women’s restroom.
“Senior Master Sgt. Harrell knocked it out of the park on her initiative for procuring these suites,” said Jordan. “Her efforts exhibit equity and promote inclusion which impacts the recruiting and retention of the Nevada Air National Guard, she is absolutely leading the way for those who come after her.”
Air Force Instruction (AFI) 44-102, Medical Care Management, states that supervisors should allow 15-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for mothers to pump breastmilk in a room or an area that provides adequate privacy and cleanliness.
“When a member returns from maternity leave, she no longer has to scramble on a daily basis to find adequate space to pump,” said Jordan. “These lactation suites promote the mental, physical and emotional health of our organization’s mothers and their families.”
Any members or dependents in need of any assistance with the pods or those interested in the process of obtaining one can contact Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Harrell, the current point of contact for the lactation suites.