Guest Blog: Breastfeeding on the Go with Mamava
It has been almost eight years since my daughter was born. Breastfeeding came easier the second time around with a baby who happily transitioned between breast and bottle. When I went back to work I could pump in my private office, but when I hit the road I was forced to pump in restrooms in airports, convention centers, and restaurants, or you’d find me slinking away from meetings to use my pump (which my colleagues nicknamed “Darth Vader”) in storage closets and even once in the backseat of a trusted client’s car –while he drove!
Since that time other moms have shared countless stories about their own challenges finding a place to use a breast pump or nurse in private, from the cashier who was forced to quit breastfeeding because the logistics were too hard, to the teacher who had to wedge her foot against the administrators un-lockable door, to the nurse who had to walk ten minutes to get to a designated room on the other side of the hospital.
We started Mamava with the mission to change the broader cultural view of breastfeeding by providing design solutions for nursing mamas on the go. We aim to be optimistic, comforting, progressive, and inclusive, not clinical or apologetic, and to show that there is a powerful movement behind our mission. To this end we have launched a crowdfunding campaign at mamava.inlu.com. Inlu, the crowdfunding platform, is a mom owned, eco-driven business.
The money raised via our crowdfunding effort is being used to build a prototype “lactation station” which is going to be installed and beta tested by moms in the Burlington International Airport in Burlington, Vermont in August (National Breastfeeding Month). This is just the first step in our broader vision to install lactation stations, nursing mothers’ lounges, and pop-up nursing nooks wherever a woman might need one, from schools, to convention centers, to malls, etc.
Breastfeeding is a natural, efficient, elegant way to nurture a child. Mamava is about eliminating what some have called the “boobie traps”, by creating easy to access accommodations for women who need to use a breast pump or want to nurse in privacy.
Thankfully, in the years since I was a breastfeeding mom, major strides have been made to support women with their choice to breastfeed. In 2010 the passage of the Health Care Reform Act made it a requirement for employers with more than 50 employees to allow for breaks and to provide a private room other than a bathroom to use a breast pump or nurse a child. This year a regulation in the Health Care Reform Act went in to effect that requires insurers to cover the costs for breast pumps and lactation support services.
More women are initiating breastfeeding, more women are working outside the home, and there is more support in the form of legal mandates and regulations. We need to prove the value of this initiative to the HR directors, facilities managers, and businesses who would be making the investment to purchase these solutions by using crowdfunding to get support and bring Mamava to the next level.
We want to rally the movement of motivated mamas and their supporters! Visit Mamava.com to find out more and lend your support to creating comforting, private spaces for mamas to pump and nurse on-the-go. And be in touch! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org share your thoughts; we would love to hear what you think of our idea.
Sascha Mayer is the Brand Strategy Director at JDK Design in Burlington, VT and Co-founder of Mamava – design solutions for nursing mamas on the go, and maker of the first of its kind Mamava lactation station. We’d love for you to share your thoughts on Mamava and to provide feedback on their lactation station prototypes (featured below)! To do so, please email Sascha at email@example.com.