After an idea was pitched at UVU’s Women’s Council, comprised of administrators, faculty and staff, five lactation studios have been installed across campus and will be available for nursing mothers to use within the next few weeks.
“One of our council’s initiatives was to find a solution for students and employees who need access to lactation rooms,” said Alexis Palmer, Dean of Student Life. “We are excited to try out the Mamava Pods.”
These pods are capsules designed to provide a clean, comfortable and private environment for those needing to pump or breastfeed.
According to Choose Health Utah, “Most Utah mothers want to breastfeed. In fact, 90% of mothers begin breastfeeding their baby, however, by 6 months only 63% are still breastfeeding… Most mothers return… to work within the first few months after childbirth.”
“It has been extremely difficult trying to balance being a single mother, working and getting an education,” said Courtney Green, a communication major. “It’s good to see that the university is accommodating mothers more. It’s definitely a big step forward.”
National programs, like The Pregnant Scholar, point out that offering lactation services is essential in helping these students succeed. Failing to provide adequate services for those who breastfeed, they note, is a Title IX issue since these individuals’ education would be negatively affected because of their sex.
“Regardless of your gender, if you are feeding a child, whatever that looks like for you, the more we can normalize that behavior, the more likely that people will feel more comfortable [on campus].”Alexis Palmer
UVU values diversity and attracts a wide variety of students of all ages. UVU’s President Astrid Tuminez told ABC 4 News that 20 percent of UVU students have children.
“We’ve started with five and we are going to see how it goes,” Palmer said. “We can run reports on the usage through the app so we will have a better idea [if more are needed]. Our goal would be to eventually have one in each building.”
These five pods are currently installed in the Clarke Building, Rebecca Lockhart Arena, Student Life and Wellness Center, UCCU Center and the Losee Center.
“We value exceptional care, inclusion and commitment to our women students,” said Tuminez. “The overall message is that we love our student mothers and want them to succeed.”
Brandee Watters, Managing Editor, also contributed to this article.