Large events like conferences and conventions require significant time commitments from both planners and attendees. For new mothers at these events, it can be tough to find clean, private rooms to pump milk or breastfeed.

Mamava is trying to change that, raising awareness about the realities of nursing mothers returning to work.

Planners can use the company's permanent or inflatable nursing pods—pop-up lactation rooms—to support nursing mothers at their next event.

Why Providing Adequate Lactation Spaces is Important

In 2018, breastfeeding in public became legal in all 50 states, and a 2017 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with reasonable break time and a private lactation space—meaning shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public—that’s not a bathroom.

The Mamava pods are both helping workplaces and public spaces comply with these laws while also providing mothers with an area they can feel comfortable in.

Original Office Mamava Pod, Credit: Mamava
Original Office Mamava Pod, Credit: Mamava

For moms who choose breastfeeding, pumping at work can be the most challenging part of the transition after maternity leave ends. And if you've ever pumped or nursed in a public bathroom, you know it's not hygienic or comfortable for you or the baby.

“Let’s say a convention center does not have a pod,” Margaret Miller, sales executive at Mamava, explained. “The convention center will often rent out a room and a lot of times it’s just an open conference room with a lot of chairs, but it doesn’t totally feel like an intentional, dedicated, private space for moms. We then see moms start to scramble for space.”

Types of Mobile Lactation Rooms for Events

Mamava offers both permanent pods and inflatable pods that can be purchased for events.

For organizers who are planning their events at offsite venues or a convention center that does not have a pod or suitable lactation room, Miller said the new inflatable product is an easy fix.

“Our solutions are everywhere because moms are everywhere, so the inflatable unit is really great because it can be used at any event like a road show or outdoor setting,” Miller said. “It’s a really flexible solution, and it’s our only unit that we rent.”

Renting the inflatable pod is simple. The pod is shipped to your venue a day or two before your event and inflates in one minute. It deflates in one minute, too, and comes with a shipping label so returning the pod is easy. Renting an inflatable pod costs $250 per day (renting period is a minimum four days) and can be rented for up to two weeks.

[Recommended Read: 3 Workplace Privacy Pods You'll Want to Use]

Miller said some companies that have recently rented inflatable pods for their events include big ones like Facebook, Cole Hahn and Northwestern Mutual.

The most popular pod, the “Mamava Original” is an all-in-one turnkey lactation room. It’s meant to be a permanent solution for offices and public spaces like convention centers and airports, according to Miller.

“Tons of convention centers have purchased the hard-bodied pods,” she said. According to Miller, “There are three pods in Chicago’s McCormick Place and other big city convention centers have them too, like Atlanta and Boston.”

Overall, Mamava has over 800 permanent pods placed throughout the country.

Mamava Pod at JFK Airport, Credit: Valerie Craven
Mamava Pod at JFK Airport, Credit: Valerie Craven

Each pod comes with:

  • Two benches, fold-down table and mirror
  • Dual outlet and USB port
  • Ceiling vents and exhaust fans

Fridge-ready units are also available.

More Benefits of Pods for Planners and Attendees

Miller explained that Mamava has a free mobile app that houses all the permanent pods’ locations. Your attendees can look up pod locations ahead of travel to events to schedule pumping breaks between sessions.

In addition, they can view whether the pod is occupied and reserve a time to use it.

Planners can use this app too, when planning events at convention centers, to let their attendees know that pods are available to use.

The exterior of the permanent pods can be customized with logos and graphics, a welcome feature for event coordinators purchasing pods for their venue.

Positive Feedback from Nursing Attendees

Thanks to the privacy and clean environment the pods provide to nursing mothers on the go, Miller continued by saying that since Mamava introduced their lactation pods, the response from users has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We constantly get tags from women on social media thanking the venue as well as us for supporting them in this space,” Miller said. “Our mom community keeps us going.”

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