Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer founded Mamava to help parents breastfeed or pump milk on the go. Now, Walmart is partnering with them.
Walmart has announced plans to add 100 Mamava lactation pods to its stores across the United States in order to give parents with young babies a safe space to breastfeed their children. A Mamava pod, for those unaware, is a "lactation suite." Founded by Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer, these pods were inspired by their lived experiences of breastfeeding at trade shows, airports, corporate retreats, baseball games, and even the back seat of a client’s car as working parents. Similarly, Walmart's partnership with Mamava was motivated by associate Tennille Webb's personal story. She discovered a Mamava pod when she was traveling. The experience persuaded her to advocate for the use of these pods in Walmart stores, CNN reports.
"When I discovered and used the Mamava pod that first time, it was a game-changer for me, and I knew it would be a great option that gives my fellow Walmart associates and our customers another choice in their breastfeeding journey," Webb shared in an interview with CNN. "I'm honored to see that my idea has come to reality in our stores. It's teaching my son how one person can make a big difference." At present, Walmart has "Mother's Rooms" in several hundred stores for members of staff and customers to use for breastfeeding or pumping. Therefore, the Mamava pods will be set up in those stores where Mother's Rooms are presently not available.
Mamava pods, which are free to use and can be found through the Mamava app, give users access to a pod while allowing them to customize certain settings to their personal liking. These settings include lighting, airflow, and even the option to listen to soothing sounds. The pods also encourage parents to support each other; users can leave motivational digital notes for other parents who use the pod after them. Mamava CEO Mayer stated, "We started Mamava to ensure that every breastfeeding mother could choose whether or not to breastfeed, so we set out to remove all barriers to making that choice."
The lactation suites were tested at three different Walmart locations last year. By the end of this year, employees and customers can expect to see Mamava pods in at least 100 more locations. The retail giant said of the move to partner with Mamava, "Walmart's commitment to supporting breastfeeding associates and community members with Mamava pods is a huge leap forward for inclusivity and normalizing breastfeeding culture." The pods will have to comply with local state laws regarding breastfeeding as the practice is not federally regulated.