Officials hope a new nursing suite at Springfield Branson National Airport will make traveling more pleasant for mothers.
The airport will host a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new facility on Tuesday, December 5, at 10:30 a.m. It’s something the airport has been considering for years, according to Public Information Officer Kent Boyd.
“We’ve seen an uptick of inquiries about having such facilities in the past few years, and it’s the right thing to do so we’re going to go ahead and do it.”
The stand-alone suite, where moms can nurse, or pump breast milk, is the first of its kind it southwest Missouri. It’s part of a recent and growing trend at airports across the country, says Boyd.
He notes that officials expect legislation will soon require airports to have nursing suites, as federal law requires in workplaces, but Boyd stated that “we think we need to go beyond that.”
“It’s a stand-alone pod, if you will, sort of looks like a mini travel trailer…most importantly I think is that it’s private, and it’s comfortable.”
According to Boyd, the new suite comes with USB and electrical outlets, counters, bench seating, and a mirror. It was designed so that a mom and baby, a stroller, luggage, plus another adult, or children, can fit comfortably within the suite.
Springfield Branson National Airport has offered family bathrooms for several years. Though they are large and private, Boyd says mothers have pointed out that a bathroom is not an appropriate place for feeding and expressing.
“The bottom line is that it’s still a bathroom, and it doesn’t really seem like an appropriate place to do that sort of thing,” acknowledged Boyd.
The facility has the support of the Greater Ozarks Regional Breastfeeding Coalition, which will attend Tuesday’s ribbon cutting, along with staff from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Both organizations will talk about the importance of breastfeeding, along with the need for nursing suites in public buildings.