It’s no secret that traveling through the airport with kids in tow can be somewhat nightmarish for all involved. But traveling through the airport with kids while needing to pump and/or breastfeed?
My hat is off to you.
Thankfully, there are people out there doing the good work to make things a little easier in that department: An innovative new company called Mamava has been creating “breastfeeding pods” for moms who need a private space to pump or nurse while in transit, and they may just be coming to an airport near you.
Peek inside one of these pods and you’ll find a fold-down table, two roomy benches, and plenty of space to fit any additional luggage, baby gear, or kids inside. It even has an AC and USB power outlet, so you can charge your phone, power your breast pump, or plug in your iPad while you comfortably surf the Interwebs. And yes, there’s a lock on the door, so you can pump or breastfeed in total privacy. In short, it’s the perfect alternative to those cramped (and let’s be honest, stinky) airport bathroom stalls, or having to hide your baby under a nursing blanket in the waiting area of your airport gate.
“It’s very cozy, it’s lighted, it’s clean, and spacious,” Keonnis Taylor told KCBS San Francisco of the pods. Taylor is a spokesperson for the Oakland International Airport, which added several Mamavas just this week.
Yep, these not-so-little pods are pretty awesome.
It may come as no surprise then that the Vermont-based company was founded by two moms — Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer — who share on the company website that they were inspired to create Mamava back in 2006, after reading a piece by Jodi Kantor in The New York Times about the challenges of breastfeeding after returning to work.
“This article struck a cord and the seed was planted,” Dodson and Mayer write. “After having pumped at trade shows, airports, corporate retreats, baseball games, and even the back seat of a male client’s car, we decided enough was enough. This project was motivated by our personal experiences as working, nursing moms, and by all the friends and colleagues and the thousands of women who have shared their experiences and frustrations with us.”
And so far, so good.
A quick skim of Mamava’s Instagram page offers a glimpse into the many places these pods have traveled so far — from California to New Jersey. They also reveal just how much moms are loving them.
Take this mom, who was traveling through Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, this week when she happened upon a pod. She loved it so much, she wrote a heartwarming note to the next mom who stopped in:
These pods don’t come cheap, though — a Mamava can run you anywhere from $11,250 to $15,500 for the original design (with those on the higher end being specially built for high-traffic, high-impact locales), or $18,000 for an ADA-compatible suite. But for many large businesses and organizations throughout the U.S., the pricey pods may seem justified over the cost of construction to create brand-new lactation rooms, as the Affordable Care Act now mandates.
And if you ask the millions of moms out there who are currently breastfeeding or pumping while trying to simply make their way through the world, that’s more than worth it.
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly priced the Mamava pods at $18,000 each. There are two different grades of Mamava pods — the smaller original design, which ranges from $11,250 to $15,500, and the larger ADA-compatible suite.)