Nursing mothers who attend sporting events around Nashville no longer have to go to the ladies bathroom to nurse their babies. Last week, prior to the first pitch of the Sounds game,a mobile Mamava pod was unveiled at First Tennessee Park. The Mamava pod is a mobile lactation unit that provides a quiet, clean and private environment that is exclusive to breastfeeding.
The purchase of two Mamava pods was made possible through a Public Investment Plan (PIP) between Metro Health, Parks and Public Works departments, the Sounds and Titans. Nashville Breastfeeding Coalition (NBC) was the driving for this to become reality. Funding for the pods was included in the Fiscal-Year 2017 PIP program detailed under A Mother’s Place: Infra- structure for Breastfeeding Support. NBC encourages moms to breastfeed anywhere they like.
The pods will be used at Sounds’ games, Titans games, and other Metro events. The second pod will be at Nissan Stadium later this year; during sports off-season both will be moved to some community events.
The idea for Mamava was born when Mamava cofounders Sascha Mayer and Christine Dodson faced the challenges of breastfeeding while away from home. Women who work away from their babies need to use a breast pump every few hours, and for many women, the only private place to do that is in a restroom or car — neither of which are particularly private or sanitary. Mayer and Dodson believed women deserve better.
As the mothers of five kids between them, Mayer and Dodson know a thing or two about being working, nursing moms. Based in Burlington, Vermont, Mamava is inspired by their personal experiences, and the stories and frustrations that friends, colleagues and thousands of women continue to share.
The Affordable Care Act (2010) has stronger language where employers are required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
The 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card by the National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion contends that breastfeeding, with its many known health benefits for infants, children, and mothers, is a key strategy to improve public health. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first six months with continued breastfeeding alongside introduction of complementary foods for at least one year.
Within that report, one of the Healthy People 2020 Objectives is to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed to a target rate of 81.9 percent. More than 29 states have met that objective. At 71.1 percent, Tennessee has yet to meet that objective.