FORT SMITH – A “wellness room” for nursing mothers is now available on the second floor on the west wing of Sparks Regional Medical Center.

The room was refurbished by volunteers from a local nonprofit, Heaven’s Babies, and the Sparks Pastoral Care Department. Sparks Health System provided fresh paint and new flooring to the former patient suite.

The idea is to give nursing mothers, whether they are employees or guests, a quiet and private place to pump breastmilk if needed. The room could also be utilized by mothers of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), according to Whitney Padgett, who along with her husband started the Heaven’s Babies support group.

In addition to a sink, bathroom and changing table for infants, the room also has WiFi access, a television and fans. Soft lighting, comfortable seating and rustic décor add to the ambiance of the wellness room. The room is locked, but an access code can be provided by staff on the Labor & Delivery Unit to those in need.

Following the death of their infant son Connor in 2011, Padgett and her husband Josh joined Shirley Harrod, manager of Sparks Pastoral Care Department, to form Heaven’s Babies, a local chapter of the Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group.

Heaven’s Babies hosts regular fundraisers throughout the year to support expenses such as the wellness room, new gliders in the NICU at Sparks and keepsake boxes for new members of the support group.

The support group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House, 3324 S. M St. Those who have experienced the loss of a child and wish to join the group or have questions about the memorial walk may contact Harrod at (479) 441-5452 or email her at Shirley.Harrod@sparkshealth.com.

Sparks Health System includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Medical Center – Van Buren, Sparks Clinic, Sparks PremierCare and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center.  For more information about Sparks Health System, visit www.SparksHealth.com.


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