Commissioner Lesley Briones Celebrates Enhanced Support for Mothers with Installation of Lactation Pods Donated by Houston Bar Association

10 May, 24

Harris County Commissioner Lesley Briones, in collaboration with the Houston Bar Association (HBA), the Harris County State District Courts, and the Office of the County Engineer held a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to commemorate a new lactation pod at the Harris County Civil Courthouse.
The private, standalone space will provide a welcoming and comfortable area for all individuals who may require lactation facilities, whether they are employees, jurors, litigants, or visitors to the courthouse.
This is the first of three Mamava XL lactation pods donated by the HBA. A grant from the Houston Bar Foundation (HBF), HBA’s charitable arm, covered the $99,000 cost.

The first pod was installed on the first floor of the Harris County Civil Courthouse on May 3. The lactation pod at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center opened on May 10. The third pod will be installed at the Harris County Jury Assembly on May 17. HBA intends to donate a fourth pod for installation at the Harris County Robert W. Hainsworth Law Library – funded by grant from the Texas Bar Foundation.

Commissioner Briones, a lawyer, former Harris County civil court judge, and mother of three daughters, has long advocated for dedicated spaces for mothers to pump or breastfeed.
“As a working mother, I know what it is like to need a private, clean, safe space to pump or nurse and not find one. I remember the pain and stress when there were none,” said Commissioner Briones. “I am thrilled that through our partnership with the HBA we are providing this resource to Harris County Courthouses, and I am deeply grateful for the HBA’s generosity. These lactation pods will serve as vital support for nursing mothers and represent Harris County’s commitment to advancing gender equity."
Breastfeeding has been shown to improve the health of both mother and child by lowering the chance of certain long-term illnesses, making public nursing paces even more critical.   
"I'm proud to have been part of the team driving the initiative for lactation pods in the courthouse complex here in Harris County. It's gratifying to contribute to a movement that fosters equity and equality, ensuring everyone involved in the court system can access essential resources for nurturing and caregiving,” said Judge Ravi K. Sandill of the 127th Civil State District Court and Chair of the State District Courts' Big Board Facilities Committee.
The Mamava XL lactation pods are wheelchair accessible and include outlets and USB ports, ventilation fans, a mirror, and a shelf. Users can access the pods via the Mamava mobile app, which provides a code to unlock the door.
The HBA’s fundraising efforts to purchase multiple lactation pods for the Harris County Court Complex were spearheaded by the HBA’s Gender Fairness Committee.
HBA President Diana Gomez said this is a crucial access to justice initiative that will make a material difference in the daily lives of many young mothers in the legal profession and greater Houston community.
“As a mother, an attorney, and president of the Houston Bar Association, I am incredibly proud to join our partners in unveiling the very first lactation pod at the Harris County Civil Courthouse,” said Gomez. “These lactation pods underscore the importance of women in the legal profession and send the message that women are welcome and belong in the courthouse.”
HBA obtained funding for the three lactation pods grant from various donors — including Vinson & Elkins LLP; Beck Redden LLP; Haynes & Boone LLP; Mindy and Joshua Davidson; and all of the current and former women HBA presidents and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. The HBF also donated $30,000 to the initiative. 
“The Houston Bar Foundation is proud to support such an important access to justice initiative,” said HBF Chair Linda Hester. “We are thrilled to support this lactation pod with funds from the Foundation’s new annual grant program, established to broaden the Foundation’s impact, which is dedicated to the Houston community.”
The HBA accepted a $24,500 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to purchase the fourth lactation pod. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $27 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
In February, Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved updates to Harris County policies and procedures, requiring county buildings to provide access to a designated private place for employees to pump. The new rules require the area to have a space to work, a sink, and a refrigerated place to store breast milk.

The updated policies and procedures go above and beyond current federal guidelines for nursing employees set by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. The changes also qualify Harris County to be designated a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“We will continue building on this progress within Harris County buildings, and we encourage all Harris County-based employers to join us by making their workplaces friendly to working parents,' said Commissioner Briones.
For more information and to learn how to partner with Harris County Precinct 4 and the Houston Bar Association to support additional maternal health initiatives, please visit and