LITTLE ROCK – Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) recognized the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport for their newly created “Mother’s Room” for mothers who need to breastfeed their children or pump while visiting the airport.
This is the second breastfeeding space at the Clinton National Airport. The first was a room for nursing airport employees, according to an HAA news release.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
“Mothers who breastfeed their baby face unique challenges when traveling, but they will now have a quiet, comfortable space to breastfeed or pump. The airport’s nursing room features a comfortable chair, sink, table, power outlets, calming music and artwork, and a departure screen so mothers can monitor airline schedules while using the room. This room, and the breastfeeding-friendly environment of the airport, helps support mothers and families in their breastfeeding goals,” according to the release.
HAA Board member and Arkansas Minority Health Commission Director ShaRhonda Love and Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission Chairwoman Stacy Hurst spoke at the unveiling event followed by a tour of the space.
“It was important for us to provide nursing moms with a comfortable space in the concourse, near the gate areas,” Hurst said. “We asked moms how they wanted the room to be furnished and completed it based on their feedback.”
The event comes after the release of the CDC’s 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card, which showed improvement across the board for breastfeeding in Arkansas.
“Arkansas’ exclusive breastfeeding rates through three months rose significantly from 32.2 percent in 2016 to 39 percent in 2017,” according to the release.
“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to support mothers in Arkansas, Love said. “We are thrilled when we see visible progress like what the airport has committed to. This helps normalize and support a practice that is better for both mom and baby. As a mom who breastfed, I appreciate knowing that Arkansas traveling mothers and mothers traveling through our state will have access to the Mother’s Room to support expressing milk.”
Mothers who receive support to breastfeed are more likely to continue exclusively breastfeeding for the recommended six months’ timeframe, according to the release.
“Breastfeeding has been linked to fewer incidences of ear and upper respiratory infections in infants, sudden infant death syndrome and obesity over the lifespan. In addition, breastfeeding benefits mothers by reducing their risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and aids in losing weight gained during pregnancy,” according to the release.
The Arkansas Department of Health promotes breastfeeding in various ways, including by providing breastfeed peer counselors through the Arkansas Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
To learn more about supporting breastfeeding, visit the Arkansas Breastfeeding Coalition at www.arbfc.org, HAA at www.healthyactivie.org, Arkansas WIC at www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/wic or contact the Community Healthy Lifestyle Employee program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Expressly for You breastfeeding helpline, 501-202-7378, is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to mothers who have questions or need advice.
Healthy Active Arkansas is a 10-year framework to increase the number of Arkansans at a healthy weight. There are nine priority areas, including Breastfeeding, that include evidence-based strategies that impact the health of the state, according to the release.