Most nursing moms have had the panicky conundrum of finding a comfortable spot to feed their baby, or sometimes even more complicated, to pump in public. We’ve resorted to nasty bathroom stalls, closets, cars, and lots of other creative corners in the pursuit of keeping up with our breastfeeding journeys, come work trips or unplanned events.
Mamava, a company that created freestanding nursing and pumping stations, is making their pods feel a little less like a pumping prison, and much more like an oasis moms want to hang out in. In addition, moms are getting creative with personalizing these public spaces.
For example, if you end up pumping or nursing in the Museum of Modern Art, you might find yourself not missing the fun, but staring at your own private art gallery, with personalized images to your stage of life.
While you tune out the “womppppp, wompppp” of your pump, or bond with your baby, you can check out reproductions of artworks by Betye Saar, including Anticipation (1961), which depicts the artist pregnant with her third child and is one of Saar’s few early experiments with screen printing in MoMA’s collection, and In the Sunflower Patch (1963) and Flight (1963), depicting the early years of her daughter’s life. The artist also provided a quote, featured in the pod, in which she reflects on motherhood, birthing, and her printmaking practice.
Other moms are noticing other Mamava lactation stations around the country are getting their own personal touch too. One mom, Myah Tinay, writes on Instagram: “I finally got the chance to use a @mamava_vt nursing pod and omg. These notes on the mirror pulled at my heartstring,” she says, referencing post its other moms had left with words of encouragement for the momming journey.
The notes share amazing and supportive messages like “Your body is INCREDIBLE!” and ‘Milk maker, life giver” and “Look at you, sustaining another human!”
What a beautiful sense of community, huh?
“Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no shame in nursing in public-my hungry baby will get fed by any means,” Tinay shared. “But just the fact that there’s a space for me, created by women, for women. I just love it. It’s also so spacious.”
Other moms echo their simultaneous willingness to nurse wherever necessary without shame, alongside gratitude for a place to do so more privately. “Catching a break from the side-eyes,” one military mom wrote. “I’ve never been one to ‘cover up’ while breastfeeding but I was pretty excited to use this convenient, clean, private area to take my little one.”
As parents and advocates continue to work against the stigma of nursing and pumping in public, lactation stations provide necessary relief from judgment. According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Aeroflow Breastpumps, 1 in 4 people still find public feeding inappropriate, and 61% think it’s unacceptable to pump or nurse in a restaurant. Even though 90% of people think women should be allowed to pump at work, 31% don’t think employers should have to provide a private lactation space. 7% of women and 20% of men don’t think women should be provided a lactation room in public spaces.
Though breastfeeding and pumping parents have made great strides, finally finding themselves staring at art galleries rather than dirty stalls, there’s still progress to be made.