The Courier

A sign for the new lactation room inside the Col J.J. Parr Sports Centre at 4 Wing Cold Lake – Photo by Mike Marshall

More lactation rooms for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to pump are being introduced at 4 Wing.

A number of new lactation rooms are either being completed or planned around CFB Cold Lake. 4 Wing Personnel Support Programs (PSP) Health Promotion Manager Lisa Fisher says the expansion of the lactation room program started with one being built in the Military Family Resource Centre Society (MFRCS) Annex building in early 2021.

“It was found that there was no real place for individuals to pump when they were returning to work or on the base, and members brought it up to the 4 Wing Defence Women’s Advisory Organization.”

“A CANFORGEN [Canadian Forces General Message] was released just this last year, which stated that a certain amount of lactation rooms needed to be created on the bases, based on the amount of personnel. With our base, it was determined that we’d have a minimum of five rooms.”

Counting the location inside the MFRCS building, five more rooms will be located in buildings including the Col J.J. Parr Sports Centre and Building 170.

“There is also going to be one at 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron,” explains Fisher. “That’s fantastic, having it inside a fighter squadron. There is also one for 417 Combat Support Squadron, which is currently being painted. There’s also one planned to be in Hangar 1.”

All the rooms will have amenities such as a couch, lamp, small refrigerator for storing milk and fan/heater to allow for comfort. Fisher says she worked with members at the Wing Comptroller’s office to hash out what the standards for furniture would look like in each space.

“All of the rooms lock so a person using one has their privacy. At ours, we have small occupied – in use sign to let people know that someone is using it. Each one features some different décor as well, depending on their location.”

The room inside the Col J.J. Parr Sports Centre is available for use during the regular hours of the building, but others are based on where they are located.

“We’re currently working on getting information online. The plan is that on the 4 Wing military website, we’ll have a link that will give locations, some photos and more information as well.”

“This is a fantastic step forward and something that was needed. It’s also something I’m not sure was on a lot of people’s radar,” adds Fisher. “We need to be more inclusive in our workspaces and this shows that inclusivity is important.”

“Having a lactation room at your workplace can help make a decision on if a person is going to breastfeed or not. The choice should be up to the person on their decision, and not based on the access to facilities.”

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