Since opening in 1944 as a temporary hospital for those wounded in the war, Madigan Army Medical Center has grown into a world-renowned tertiary care medical center. As the U.S. Army’s second largest medical treatment center (Brooke Army Medical Center being the largest), Madigan performs more than 45 surgeries, fills nearly 4000 prescriptions, and delivers eight babies – daily.
In addition to its patients, Madigan also boasts outstanding Graduate Medical and Nursing Education Programs.
That’s just to reiterate: the hospital has thousands of people coming through on a daily basis. Among them, there are certainly more than a few nursing moms.
Recognizing this reality, Madigan recently installed four Mamava suites to support the nursing mamas who frequent their center. We’d like to congratulate Madigan as the first military medical center to take such an initiative.
And as the first, we can be sure that Madigan won’t be the last. As there should be, there’s been a recent groundswell of support for women in the military. Just this past month we’ve watched all combat jobs open up to women, and for the moms in the military, we’ve seen a flurry of updates made to military maternity leave: the Air Force has just extended its six week maternity leave to 18-weeks, like the Navy and Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard is working hard to follow suit. To keep up on the latest policies for nursing moms in the military, check out Breastfeeding in Combat Boots – they’re an excellent resource dedicated solely to supporting breastfeeding women in the military.
And while maternity leave is one piece of the puzzle, for mamas who wish to continue breastfeeding until the recommended age of one year, the need for nursing support on the job is still imperative. At a time when mothers can no longer breastfeed skin-to-skin with their infant, it’s key to provide the appropriate space and time for working military moms to express milk. As Jessica Shortall mentions in herinterview with Fox News this week, using a breast pump is not a public affair. It’s much more exposing and machine-like than the peaceful act of breastfeeding. Additionally, just today an updatecame in that the U.S. Army has updated their breastfeeding and lactation policy to forbid the use of restrooms as lactation spaces. As such, offering lactation rooms or Mamava suites is both essential and mandatory for these pumping military mamas.
Congratulations to Madigan Army Medical Center for paving the way – we can’t wait to see who will be next! (….perhaps Brooke Army Medical Center?)