Little Lions Make Big Investment in Families
August is National Breastfeeding Month, and what better way to kick off the start
of the semester than by sharing how the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is investing
in families at the UAFS Little Lions Child Development Center with the opening of a new place to nurse?
The Arkansas Department of Human Services awarded UAFS Little Lions Child Development Center funding through the ARPA Child Care Supply Building Grant. With financing allocated to nutrition, Dr. Shelli Henehan, director of Early Childhood Education, and Annette Lauver, director of UAFS Little Lions Child Development Center, purchased a state-of-the-art Mamava Lactation Pod.
“Helping new families with breastfeeding is a big deal,” Lauver explained. “The pod also meets part of our sharing nutrition goals in early childhood. Breastfeeding is the best way for a newborn to receive nutrition up through those early infant years.”
The lactation pod will be open and available to all UAFS students, faculty, staff, and mothers of children in the program during center hours, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pod provides a sanitized, well-lit, air-conditioned space for moms to nurse or express breast milk throughout the day.
“We wanted our center to have no hindrances to families of these young infants,” Lauver said. “Parenting is stressful enough. If we can alleviate any type of stress and support them in those decisions that are healthy decisions for their child, that’s the goal. We’re here to partner with families.”
The Mamava Lactation Pod provides a private place where moms can come between classes, meetings, or on breaks and bond with their infant through feeding. Moms can take their child out of care while never having to leave the center. The pod is first-come-first-serve, but users can download the Mamava app to check its availability and reserve a time to use it. Mothers using the pod to express can also safely store their milk in a center refrigerator or freezer. Users do not have to have a child in the center to take advantage of the pod as part of the continued effort to reduce barriers for moms.
According to Lauver, the pod “adds to enhancing our already high standards,” as the UAFS Little Lions Child Development Center provides the highest quality of care possible and the highest level of support for parenting families.
According to Mamava, the lactation pod at UAFS becomes the first in Fort Smith and the first to be housed in an educational institution in Arkansas.
- College of Health Education and Human Sciences
- Little Lions Child Development Center
- Early Childhood Development