Empowering motherhood, the 548th ISRG’s sanctuary for nursing mothers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Juliana Londono
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Although Airmen are the face of the force, it is families that give them the support needed to continue. The Air Force continuously strives to create a culture supportive of Airmen and their families, and the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) supports this effort.

The 548th ISRG went the extra mile to support mothers and families. Air Force standards require a lactation room in every building with some basic requirements needed in each room. However, the 548th ISRG worked diligently to create a mother’s room that is both comfortable and available to all.

“When I came back from maternity leave I was still nursing, and my baby would not take a bottle, which was very stressful," said Lt. Col. Sarah Avila, M.D., 548th ISRG group physician. “My husband would drive her to me to feed her, and we needed a space to do that comfortably, so the room provided a huge stress relief for us.”

The room was designed with comfort in mind whilst providing a work space for mothers who would like to continue working. It’s located in an unclassified area of the intelligence campus with a fridge for storage purposes, materials for pumping mothers to use, space to hold belongings, and books to read.

“I am so thankful to have this room because a lot of times moms think it's hard to balance military life with mom life,” said Staff Sgt. Morgan Hasty, 553rd Intelligence Squadron intelligence analyst. “Being able to have the time and a safe, clean space to pump and continue to work on my goals as a mom is amazing to me.”

Since its creation, both active duty mothers and dependents have benefited from this area.

“The time and effort put into creating this space encapsulates the value we have for our nursing mothers," said Col. Shawn Ayers, 548th ISRG commander. “ By going well above minimum requirements, it sends a message to our Airmen and their families that supporting our mothers is a top priority, that parenthood does not have to be a barrier to service, and regular breaks to use the lactation rooms are allowed and encouraged.”

The ISRG designed this room with their Airmen in mind, however it also serves as an example of what other Department of the Air Force Instruction 36-3031 compliant lactation rooms could look like. Providing an above-standard lactation room may not seem all that important, yet it allows for new mothers to have the time and space to take care of their families and the mission.