Mothers can nurse their children at any City Library. For mothers who would like privacy while they nurse or pump, now there is an additional option for their breastfeeding needs. Enter the Mamava Lactation Space that officially opened in the children’s book area at Central Park Library on May 9. County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg recognized the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends for this new addition to the library.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor shared her observations regarding the lack of spaces for mothers to nurse outside the home during her years nursing and breastfeeding her three children.
“I’m almost embarrassed to say that I can’t tell you where I ended up breastfeeding because, naturally, it wasn’t something that [mothers were] really encouraged to do in public,” Gillmor said. “It was also stressful to be out in public trying to find places to nurse your child and especially if you have another toddler with you. From personal experience of three years of breastfeeding and three years of pumping being a working mother, I would’ve loved to have something like this during that time in the late 90s and early 2000s. This is really a game changer for us in the City.”
Dr. Susan Smarr, Physician in Chief and Regional Director of Operational Optimization at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara spoke about the benefits of breastfeeding.
“It’s great for the baby,” Smarr said. “It decreases the risk of infections because the baby is getting the mom’s immunity through the mother’s milk until their immune system kicks in. And it’s great for the mom. It helps prevent breast cancer later in life. You can’t really ask for a better win-win situation.”
Hilary Keith, Director of the Santa Clara City Library, explained how she came up with the idea to install a lactation pod in the library.
“I’ve seen Mamava in the airport and at the Convention Center,” Keith said.“I thought, ‘why don’t we have this in the library?’ So I talked to the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends. I asked if we can use 2019 Kaiser Permanente Health and Wellness funding to fund a lactation space. Kaiser and the foundation said ‘yes’ to this idea right away.”
Keith emphasized that nursing mothers are not required to use the lactation pod. She acknowledged that some mothers might be uncomfortable nursing in public. She also felt that mothers who need to pump shouldn’t have to use the bathroom. So the new lactation space creates a comfortable alternative for breastfeeding mothers.
“Our Mamava Lactation space is also ADA accessible. It has two benches and enough room for a wheelchair or a stroller,” Keith said. “It has ADA approved grab bars and dual outlets and USB ports for pumps or for charging a phone, which adds convenience for moms on the go.
“We want to provide better customer service for our patrons,” Keith continued. “We also want to provide a space for our employees too. It’s the law to provide a private space for employees to nurse or pump outside the bathroom at the workplace. That way, we’re taking care of everything.”