Mayor Chris Beutler today helped cut the ribbon on the Bryan Health Nursing Nook for breastfeeding mothers and their babies at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The free-standing kiosk produced by Mamava of Vermont is the first in the nation to be placed in a public arena. It is sponsored by Bryan Health and the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency (JPA).
"We are very proud that Lincoln and Pinnacle Bank Arena are leading the way in supporting breast-feeding," said Mayor Beutler, Chair of the JPA. "We have set a goal to become the healthiest city in the nation, and one of the ways we can accomplish that is to support nursing mothers. The health benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable. In 2010, the Journal of Pediatrics reported that if 90 percent of U.S. mothers nursed exclusively for the first six months of a child's life, the nation would save 13 billion dollars in medical costs and 900 infant lives every year."
"This project is meaningful to Bryan as it furthers our devotion to families in our community and extends our commitment to Pinnacle Bank Arena by making it even more welcoming and accommodating," said Bob Ravenscroft, Bryan Health Vice President for Advancement. "This is a win-win for everyone involved, and Bryan is pleased to take a leading role."
The suite features seating for two people, a fold-down table and power outlet for a breast pump, space for a stroller, soft lighting and a mirror. Mamava launched its first unit in August 2013 at the Burlington, Vermont airport and has since installed units at a mall, grocer, private offices and colleges. The Bryan Health Nursing Nook is just the eleventh to be installed, and it is the first in Nebraska.
"We are thrilled that Pinnacle Bank Arena will be the very first sports and entertainment center to install a Mamava lactation suite," said Sascha Mayer, Mamava Co-Founder. "Our goal is to transform the culture of breastfeeding so it is a more widely accepted and inviting experience for all mamas. We applaud Lincoln and Pinnacle Bank Arena for recognizing this need for both Arena visitors and employees."
Since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide their employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom location to express breast milk for one year after the child's birth. Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz said the Nursing Nook is an enhancement to the location already provided for Arena employees.
"We are always looking to be more accommodating and sensitive to the needs of our guests," said Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz. "The lactation suite will offer comfort and privacy to nursing mothers."
Arena patrons can access the suite by visiting the Arena Guest Services Station on the main concourse behind Section 112 and asking for the key. The Nursing Nook is in the northwest corner of the main concourse.