Two weeks ago I took my first business trip post second baby. My son was just about three months old (thanks, US maternity leave!) and I was still nursing.
I was only going to be gone about 36 hours, so I had planned on storing any milk that I express and bringing it home with me for the little guy. So I packed my Medela Pump In Style® Advanced Electric Breast Pump, storage container, plenty of storage bags, and the convenient icepack for the storage cooler, and off I went!
My hotel room had a fridge so I knew I would be good there. When I checked in at the front desk, I asked the receptionist if they could keep the ice pack in the cooler for me until the morning, because the ice holds only for about 8 hours, so I wanted to make sure the clock starts ticking in the morning, and not the evening of my arrival. They happily satisfied my request, and I felt relieved.
I knew I would have to pump when I got to the airport. This was already giving me anxiety, because when I travelled after having my daughter a couple of years ago, finding a place to pump was a challenge. Majority of family restrooms I peeked my head in did not have an electrical outlet, and I had to get pretty creative (waiting until the handicapped stall was available as it was closest to the outlet, then sliding the chord under the door, all the while making sure nothing touches the floor because I am in a public restroom, at the airport, producing food for my child – nothing about this seemed sanitary!) but we are moms, and we are superheros, and we do what we have to do. So, I am sitting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, enjoying a pulled pork sandwich from Salt Lick BBQ (so delicious!) dreading what’s about to come. I had noticed an “all gender restroom” near the food court, so that was going to be my first try, and if that didn’t work, I was going to do my ninja maneuvering at the restroom, as described above.
Just as I am about to get up and check out the accommodations at the all gender restroom, from the corner of my eye I spot the mother holding a baby sign. I assumed this was signaling that this is where the changing station was, but I figured – let me go take a look. Imagine my PLEASANT surprise when found myself standing in front of a Mamava breastfeeding pod! I had never even heard of such thing! Room, 4 feet by 8 feet in size, was soft lighted with two bench seats, small fold down table, electrical and USB outlets and a mirror. It was big enough to fit both myself, my luggage, and easily a stroller, a child and another adult (I was travelling alone so I didn’t test this theory, but I’m pretty sure we would all have been comfortable). The room was quiet but it didn’t make you feel disconnected, clean, and spacious. I was so grateful for this little slice of privacy, I was actually able to relax.
Created by Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer, Mamava is a women owned company, whose motto is “nursing should be a right and not a privilege”. Their nifty app (which I immediately downloaded and now use regularly) showcases locations of not only Mamava nursing pods around the country, but user submitted information on other breastfeeding friendly locations – such as malls with dedicated suites, ballparks, etc. The goal of the company is not to hide breastfeeding – in fact, it is just the opposite – to raise awareness and “profile of this natural human function, and celebrating the realities of the logistics involved in taking on breastfeeding for the many, many mothers who need to be away from their babies”. Pods are available at airports, arenas, schools, government facilities, hospitals, malls, zoos, museums, and private organizations. The pod can be customized inside and out – and with so much negative attention breastfeeding receives today, I see no better way an organization can show support to the working nursing mom than by investing in one of these awesome inventions!
Author: Sanja H