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This is an ingenious addition to the hospital!
Vending machines are being placed in the mother’s rooms throughout the hospital that sell various nursing supplies. Moms have everything at their fingertips including components for their pumps, nursing pads, nipple creams, storage bottles, and more. The vending machine provides everything but mother’s milk and reportedly sells fourteen products in total.
The machines were developed by Meg Stoltzfus, the Lifespan Services Manager for the Office of Work, Life and Engagement in the Johns Hopkins Human Resources Department.
“My idea for putting a vending machine in came as a solution to a problem we had been having, which is nursing moms calling me on a daily basis, stressed out and worried because they’ve forgotten an essential piece of their breast pump,” Stoltzfus told The Baltimore Sun.
She was inspired when she passed through an airport and saw the variety of vending machines that sold basically anything a traveler could want. It made her think that nursing moms need a place to pick up forgotten or misplaced supplies too. “I worked and pumped as well, so I’ve made it sort of a mission to help other moms,” said Stoltzfus.
The machine’s stock is controlled by software, so it will never run out (because a lack of, say, storage bottles would be frustrating). Items can be purchased with a debit/credit card too, which is convenient.
“You can get a vending machine company to build you a vending machine to do just about anything,” said Stoltzfus to ABC News.
The vending machine is part of the hospitals larger program: the Breastfeeding Support Program, which is designed to support moms in nursing when they return to work. The hospital understands that it’s important for moms to breastfeed as long as possible.
The program provides clean breastfeeding rooms throughout the hospital grounds and a dedicated Breastfeeding Coordinator who guides mothers on nursing, pumping, returning to work, and educating mom on pretty much anything.
The program also helps mothers take home hospital-grade pumps that work for a long time and ensures that hospital staff (you can imagine that John Hopkins is a big place) has access to everything they need to breastfeed.
Stoltzfus says that she has been receiving inquiries from other hospitals, universities and companies with large workforces, requesting information about the machine.
Moms have to breastfeed at all hours of the day, which means they have to pump at weird hours too sometimes, especially when they’re working. So it makes sense that these machines should be tested in a pro-breastfeeding environment with lots of night time traffic.
When it comes to supporting breastfeeding moms, many employers are only willing to go as far as they are legally required. Some women have to sit in the bathroom or be willing to pump out in the open.
Truthfully, there are plenty of employers who just don’t bother complying with the law, so breastfeeding moms have to stop pumping or find another job. I’m glad John Hopkins isn’t just supporting moms, they’re leading the charge. Hopefully other companies will follow.
We’re really excited about the ways new technology is helping breastfeeding mothers, if you’d like to include LatchPal in your breastfeeding vending machine please contact us at contact@LatchPal.com.
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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