The Hannibal YMCA opened its new Mothers Room on Wednesday to meet a growing need as more staff and members welcomed babies into their lives and the Y entered a busy season.
Executive Director Eric Abts said the Hannibal YMCA's latest addition began when the Pike County Health Department awarded the Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite silver honor in June. At first, a room in the Activity Center was set aside for staff members to perform feeding, pumping and other care for their babies. That room was also set aside for preschool activities and summer activities, and Abts said, “we felt the time was right” to create a more private space available to staff and members.
“We have so many members with little ones,” he said. “We want to make sure we provide everybody with a spot that they feel very private and very comfortable, a door that they can shut — and have that time with their babies,” Abts said.
Abts credited Youth and Family Director Summer Page with the idea for the new space — Page recently had a baby, along with two Physical Trainers at the Y.
“It was her brainchild from the get-go, and we just took some of our break room and made it into a very private spot,” he said.
The room was constructed during the past month, and it is equipped with dimming lights, a changing table, a glider rocking chair and ottoman, a microwave and a refrigerator — many of the items were donated by Y members. With fall and winter around the corner, Abts said the room was ready as more moms and babies will be coming in for various activities out of the cold.
Stephanie Clark and her six-month-old daughter Harper experienced the room during Clark's first day as a Y member.
Inside the Mothers Room, Harper smiled and stood up in her mother's lap. Clark stressed how important the refrigerator was for preserving milk.
“I think it will be great because it has all the essentials,” she said.
Aquatics and Marketing Director Kayla Williams agreed.
“I do feel that this will be a great addition,” she said. “At the Y, we are here for everyone, and I think this is the next step to showing our members and our staff that we care about their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their infants.”