Lactation pods offer solution for nursing mothers

The SU-Quad is now housing a quiet, user-friendly space for student mothers and employees to breastfeed.

The POD, developed by the company Mamava, was created in the interest of providing a cleaner space as opposed to using public spaces, such as restrooms. There are two PODs available, one on the San Marcos Campus and the other on the Escondido Campus, across from the Teaching and Learning Center.

Judy Harris, Director of the Student Health Center, explained the first initiative as to how the project came about.

“We were trying to develop a lactation room, and HR was the only place where a lactation room was available for both students and employees,” Harris said, and added that a Lactation Room needed to be in a new area, easier for access. “A picture of the Mamava POD was presented to the college president, so I researched it and the information was provided to the Executive Cabinet who decided that the POD should be purchased with a majority of the funding from the Student Health Fee Budget.”

Harris added that the Mamava Company customized the inside and outside of the PODs with Palomar College scenes and logos, and that both PODs, located in the SU-Building on the San Marcos Campus and at the Escondido Center, next to the Teaching and Learning Center, are operational, and ready to use.

“The PODs were delivered to both locations and assembled last week,” Harris said. They are now open to use. “This is brand new,” she added, hoping that students will see it in its new location and be more apt to use it over public spaces.

“If people are interested in using the room for pumping and breastfeeding, they can contact the Student Health Center office, San Marcos Campus or Escondido Center, or the office of Student Affairs,” Harris added, “and if it’s employees who want to use it, they need to contact HR to get the access code to enter the room. The room locks from the inside. Once they leave the room, the door will lock automatically.”

The access code is also available on Mamava’s app, which has a variety of features.

Palomar College's new "Lactation Pod" in the cafeteria to allow for more accessible privacy when breastfeeding or pumping. Wed, Nov 1. Raffaele Reade/The Telescope

Palomar College’s new “Lactation Pod” in the cafeteria to allow for more accessible privacy when breastfeeding or pumping. Wed, Nov 1. Raffaele Reade/The Telescope

The Mamava app can also be downloaded to any phone and the door access code typed into the app to unlock the POD door, using the Mamava SmartLock feature. The app also provides a map of other Mamava unit locations around the area, as well as other resources for breastfeeding, such as tips and guidance from other mothers in the community.

The access code can also be obtained by sending a request to the following e-mail address: lactationsupport@palomar.edu.

Sherry Titus, Director of Student Affairs, explained Palomar as moving towards being a breastfeeding-friendly campus.

“We have had many students and staff request a private space to pump their breast milk and/or a private space to breastfeed while on campus,” Titus said, and added that their hope is to see additional locations for the PODS across the District.

Chelsea Kott, Supervisor of Student Affairs, agreed that the addition of the PODs will be a big help to those who need it. “As technology and space are available, and as the funding is available, we want to do what we can to increase that access.” Kott said.

The funding of the pods comes primarily from the student health fee budget, and a small portion comes from the District. For now, there are two open and ready for use, but there is hope of adding an additional POD to the south campus in Rancho Bernardo.

“We’re looking at possibly purchasing more in the future, but we’ll see how these go first, and then we’ll go from there,” Harris stated, adding that there are other options.

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For now, the PODs serve as a friendly reminder of cleanliness and privacy for mothers in need.

Author: Lexington Howe

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