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Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 90


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About the Cougar
 

'Station' offers mothers privacy

Optometry facility caters to the needs of breast-feeding mothers

By Audrey Warren
Daily Cougar Staff

New mothers now have a place where they can safely and privately breast-feed and store milk for their newborn babies.

The Lactation Station, developed by UH College of Optometry Dean Jerald Strickland, serves women students from all over the University as well as staff members of the college.

The station was developed in order to accommodate the increasing number of women entering optometry who are new mothers and who may need to use the station. 

Of the Fall 1998 entering class, 60 percent consisted of women of which more than 250 were eligible to use the station.

The station allows mothers to pump breast milk and store it while away from their babies. Nursing mothers are constantly producing milk, so the station provides a convenient and private facility to save and store that milk.


Chris Galloway/The Daily Cougar


Mothers with newly born infants can breast-feed and store milk privately at the Lactation Station located in the College of Optometry.

"Doctors recommend breast feeding and we're promoting it in our own little way," Strickland said.

The American Pediatric Association suggests having breast milk readily available to increase the baby's immunity and provide nourishment that store-bought formula does not offer.

As a good health policy, Strickland said it is important for babies to have their mothers' milk because they deserve to be breast-fed. "The 'babies' asked me to do this," he said.

Located on the second floor of the J. Davis Armistead Building, the station is a locked facility only accessible to mothers with a key.

Kia Eldred, visiting assistant optometry professor, uses the station and said Strickland was aware of the need for such a facility because he has had younger children of his own.

"I think it is a very thoughtful thing," she said.

Eldred was on maternity leave for seven months last year when she had triplets and returned to find the station constructed.

She said that her babies, born 11 weeks premature, have benefited greatly from having their mother's milk. "They haven't had one cold or ear infection," Eldred said.

Inside the station there is a bulletin board displaying baby pictures, a large private rest room and a blue armchair.

The breast pump sits on top of a small refrigerator for storage and is locked for privacy issues. Women bring their own breast pump kits to hook up to the unit for use.

Before the station was available, women had to borrow the offices of female staff members, Strickland said.
 

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