The end of 2022 was an exciting milestone for MumPod Company Limited, a culmination of two years of work. From its concept in a meeting pod to the fully functioning, all bells and whistles lactation pod that is now in pride of place outside the maternity unit at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield part of Sherwood FOrest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (SFHT)
Mum, Victoria (pictured centre) found the common problem when returning to work after maternity leave that there was nowhere suitable for her to express her breast milk. When I say a suitable space: with a lock, not shared, comfortable and relaxing with electrical points for breast pumps. A place that elicits the flow of oxytocin and prolactin the hormones vital to enable optimal pumping.
This is what Victoria had to say,
” When I first returned to work from maternity leave I was already quite anxious so I had been emailing my manager before I came back to explain that I would need somewhere to express milk. He had told me about a room I could use but when I went to the room not only was it a converted toilet it didn’t have a plug, a table and had a rubbish chair, which wasn’t very useful as my pump had to be plugged in and I couldn’t face sitting next to all the other toilets. I went to my seniors and most of them just gave a blank look until one offered to find me an office to sit in. Unfortunately most of the offices in my department either didn’t have a lock or had a huge window in the door with no blind. I spent the next few weeks having to ask people if I could use their offices then putting paper up to cover the door window and holding my foot against the door to keep it from anyone coming in. I was interrupted frequently and my milk supply suffered because of it. Expressing milk was never easy for me and the added pressure and anxiety of not knowing when I would be interrupted was horrible. “
This account breaks my heart when I hear it, but it does not surprise me as this is the driver behind my design. Victoria took this predicament to her CEO who contacted their Infant Feeding Lead Midwife, Natalie (pictured right) to find a solution. A role I held in my local NHS Trust and was challenged with the same problems, having to offer my office (well, converted cupboard with a window) that I shared with the postnatal ward sister.
King’s Mill hospital maternity unit is accredited with the Baby Friendly Initiative award but this doesn’t specify that staff should be included in the provision of breastfeeding friendly policy or provision. Natalie could see this flaw too and found that I had designed the MumPod, through a colleague at another Baby Friendly Accredited NHS Trust who had purchased two for their staff and visitors.
So here it is in pride of place outside the Maternity Unit in the main atrium of SFHT thanks to Natalie and the project team.
If you have an employee returning to work do you know where they can access a suitable space? If not we can help. Book in a discovery call and check out our other services and Maternity Leave Gift box range, so much better than a bunch of flowers and booties.
Look out for news of our next installations across the Atlantic in an airport’s passenger lounges.
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