Imagine you’re sitting on an airport floor breastfeeding your 2 month-old baby. People pass by, some staring as they walk from one gate to the next or maybe you’re pumping, standing in a heavily trafficked train station restroom and a woman continues to knock on your stall door. Oh! Wait! You don’t have to.
New York moms have been dealing with problems like these for decades but now, with the 28 updated Mamava Lactation Suites spread throughout New York City’s Port Authority, you won’t have to.
These newly-installed suites, Mamava’s ADA-compatible pods, offer a “safe and sanitary” place for lactating mothers on the go. Now 50 verses 26 square feet and wheelchair accessible, these upgraded pods provide moms with the privacy they deserve in order to nurse or pump while traveling from one place to the next.
“Providing suitable facilities for nursing mothers, as well as providing other facilities for families with young children, is an important step in our commitment to improve the experiences of travelers who use our facilities,” says Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton. “We want our customers to know that we are not only listening, but making improvements that meet their needs and offer an enhanced customer experience.”
The Maternal Justice Campaign for MomsRising, United States Breastfeeding Committee, and La Leche League International commend the NY/NJ Port Authority for recognizing the needs of their travelers.
Interim executive director of the United States Breastfeeding Committee Amelia Psmythe says, “As the national breastfeeding coalition in the United States, we believe that it is imperative that all lactating people who need or prefer a private space to nurse or pump have access to a clean and safe space, and we are glad to see the New York airports have answered that call.”
It is never fun to be separated from your baby but, it can also be “demoralizing” when you have to use your breast pump in a place like a restroom, Sascha Mayer says, Mamava founder, CEO, and mother.
Though the Port Authority is taking a step towards normalizing breastfeeding and pumping by helping 21st-century mothers, this work does not end by just placing Mamava pods in terminals but, continues with regular upkeep of cleanliness.
“Our units are designed to be low-maintenance but, you know, [they need] a quick wipe down to make sure everything is clean,” Mayer says.
Mothers can find and access Mamava’s pods for free through the downloadable app, Mamava. Though the majority of Mamava’s customers are smartphone users, Mamava knows there are some mom’s out there who aren’t. Instead, Mamava provides pod access via their customer care.
“The unit has a punch code so [moms] could even call our offices and give them the proper access code per unit,” Mayser says. “That has not been an issue, generally we have found most everybody these days in the demographic has a smartphone. It works for apple and android and its free.”
All moms deserve a “clean, comfortable and dignified” place to breastfeed or pump and with the installation and upgrade of the Port Authority’s Mamava Suites, you’ll have one.