Support for breastfeeding mothers at Princeton Medical Center (PMC), in three steps:
Step 1 — Enact policies to provide breaks for breastfeeding or pumping … ✓
Step 2 — Establish a private room for mothers to use... ✓
Step 3 — When that room is in high demand, repeat Step 2… ✓
The new private space opened recently on the 1st floor of PMC, just off the atrium, in the patient waiting area of the Center for Cardiac & Pulmonary Care.
The converted interview room locks from the inside, offers easy access to a restroom, and features a microwave for sterilizing pumping equipment, soft lighting, artwork, electrical outlets, a USB charging station, and a comfortable chair where one can relax and prop up her feet.
In short, it is almost identical to the original reserved, private space — a room within the Mother-Baby Unit on the 6th floor at PMC — but in a location that is more convenient to visitors and many staff members who work in other parts of the hospital and the campus.
The original space has been in place since the hospital opened in 2012.
Ellen Winkle, MSN, chair of the Great Beginnings Hospital Initiative Committee, said the room receives frequent use. But the location poses some challenges. It is relatively far from staff members who work on lower floors of the hospital or in other buildings on campus, and if it is in use upon arrival, they need to wait or return later. Also, access to Mother-Baby is restricted, so employees from other units and visitors to the hospital need an authorized staff member to allow them inside.
Lactation consultants on staff received feedback on those issues and brought it to the Great Beginnings committee, Winkle said. The committee then recommended adding a second, more accessible location.
Winkle said the committee presented the recommendation to Jennifer L. Hollander, MSN, director, maternal child health, who ushered it through approvals by Sheila Kempf, PhD, vice president, patient care services/chief nursing officer, and the hospital’s space committee.
Milind Khare, director of planning and business development, and Dann Dingle, director of support services, were instrumental in helping to design the new space, Winkle said.
Princeton Health was designated a breastfeeding friendly workplace in December 2019 by the New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition, recognizing its supportive policies and practices that have been shown to help employed mothers increase the duration of breastfeeding. Research shows that breastfeeding provides short-term and lifelong health benefits to mothers and children.
Winkle said Princeton Health takes an active approach to breastfeeding support, offering prenatal, inpatient, and community-based education and support programs, and employing nurses who are board certified lactation consultants and certified breastfeeding counselors. All staff in the maternity care units receive education to support patient breastfeeding goals.
“We are passionate about giving new mothers and babies the best start possible,” she said.