A Nottinghamshire hospital has become the first in the UK to provide a specialist pod to support visitors and staff to nurse their young children.
The purpose-built pod has been installed inside the main entrance of King’s Mill Hospital, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, to provide a private and comfortable place for parents to feed infants and express milk.
The MyPodtm at SFH, provided by a company called MumPod®, is the first of its kind to be installed anywhere in the UK.
The lockable room, which is available 24 hours a day, contains a comfortable chair with footrest, a place to plug in a breast pump and charge a phone, dimmable lights, a bag storage area and baby changing facilities.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, provided the pod following feedback from a member of staff and results of a staff survey, which confirmed there was a lack of suitable locations to express milk while at work.
The location of the pod, beside the Community Involvement Hub, means it can be used by all hospital visitors – not just staff. In addition to the pod, there are also baby feeding rooms near the main entrance of King’s Mill and on the maternity ward. Parents are also welcome to feed their child anywhere on site if they feel comfortable.
The trust holds Level 3 UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation, meaning it demonstrates high standards of care to support families with feeding and help parents build a close and loving relationship with their baby.
The World Health Organisation recommends parents continue nursing until the age of two years and beyond, as human milk is a valuable source of nutrition, protection and comfort for as long as feeding continues.
In the UK, 81% of babies receive breast milk after birth. Locally, this figure is 66.4%, reducing to 33% once babies have been discharged by the Health Visitor at six weeks.
As well as providing the pod, the trust has implemented a policy for SFH employees who are breastfeeding or nursing upon returning to work, and guidance that enables managers to better support parents and their children.
Research shows that flexibility and support from employers, plus access to a private room can assist parents to continue expressing milk or feeding their child. Parents who are supported to feed their baby when they return to work have increased morale, lower stress levels and increased productivity and are less likely to need to take time off to care for a sick baby or child.
Former SFH Medicines Management Technician, Victoria Cooke, who first raised the issue of a lack of comfortable, private space, attended the official opening of the pod on Thursday 10 November 2022.
Victoria, 32, of Chesterfield, who has a two-year-old son Joshua, said: “I’m so glad that a proactive change has been made to facilitate people in the future, on the back of my own personal experience. Having the MyPod available to both staff and visitors is going to be really helpful and will relieve any anxieties that they may have about feeding or expressing in public places.”
Infant feeding Specialist Midwife Natalie Boxall said: “Women and parents can feed their baby in public anywhere in the UK, including within SFH buildings when they are here to visit or work. However, the SFH pod is provided for anyone coming to King’s Mill Hospital who wants a quiet and private space to express their milk, breastfeed or chestfeed their child. The pod will be open access and is lockable from the inside.”
Also present at the launch were members of the trust’s Lime Green Infant Feeding Team, which provides postnatal feeding support in the community, midwives and healthcare support workers, and members of BABES breastfeeding peer support groups.
For infant feeding support, please contact:
- Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife – Natalie Boxall – 01623 622 515 ext 6575
- Lime Green Team: 01623 676170
- Midwives Advice Line: 01623 676170
- Out of Hours: 01623 655722