Finding a place to pump while out in public, or at work, is something Sascha Mayer, co-founder and CEO of Mamava, doesn’t want moms to have to worry about.
Since 2013, Sascha and her co-founder Christine Dodson have equipped stadiums, airports, schools, government buildings and other workplaces all over the United States with private pods for breastfeeding mothers.
You can see for yourself by downloading the Mamava mobile app to find nearby locations, as well as other public mothers’ rooms vetted by user ratings and reviews. (From a quick search in my neighborhood, I found more than a handful of options within a 5-mile radius. I see more outings in my breastfeeding future!)
While building their own families, the two mompreneurs incubated Mamava at a design agency in Burlington, Vt. At the time, they traveled for work frequently, which meant “pumping in restrooms, closets and even the backseats of clients’ cars.”
From the beginning, Mamava has focused on sustainability as a certified B-corporation. It’s demonstrated both in the way they design and manufacture their American-made products, as well as their outlook on the role breastfeeding plays in a cleaner planet.
“Sustainability to us means empowering every woman with the opportunity to breastfeed if she desires to do so,” says Sascha.
“In addition to its health benefits, breastfeeding eliminates any need for packaging and shipping that formula requires. It’s a zero-waste solution, and one that can help reduce the prevalence of many illnesses and health conditions, which results in lower health care costs.”
Women Helping Women Succeed
Inspired by this New York Times article, Sascha and Christine are working hard to remove any barriers to breastfeeding in the workplace by taking to the halls of the Nation’s Capitol, the tech-spotting Consumer Electronics Show, and everywhere in between.
“We are really focused on our mission which is about changing the culture of breastfeeding by helping make it an accessible choice for all mothers,” says Sascha.
The pop culture shift is is starting to show, with recent photos of breastfeeding celebrities and political candidates going viral.
“A major milestone for us would be to have breastfeeding rates increase from 81% of new mothers to 90% by the end of this decade,” she says.
“In the months and years ahead we are bringing other tools and products to market that will make it easier for moms to reach their breastfeeding goals, and for facilities and employees to support them,” she says.
Just last week, they officially launched the Mamava Mini, designed for workplaces that need a compact solution that retains the privacy of their original suite and adds additional productivity features, like a laptop desk.
“We also hope to be able to bring the brand and our solutions to international markets in the near future.”
How This Mompreneur Makes it Work
“My mantra is that perfection is the enemy of progress – whether at work or at home,” says Sascha. “Sometimes good enough, is good enough.”
“I have a wonderful supportive husband who takes on more than half of the childrearing, and believes in my company’s mission as much as I do,” she says.
Now that Sascha’s kids are getting older, she values their growing independence and recommends other moms “encourage their children to take on responsibility.”
“It can be painful when they make mistakes, but eventually they learn and are empowered by their accomplishments,” she says.
It’s something to look forward to for those of us still in the infant to toddler stages!
Speaking of which, if you’re a mom-to-be trying to solve the problem of where to pump in the office when you return from maternity leave, Mamava’s team offers the following tips:
- Create a transition plan with your employer before you head out for maternity leave
- In the transition plan, include your plans to pump at work and that you will need access to pumping accommodations upon your return
- Check the laws and make sure your employer knows how to comply with them
- Rally with other women in your workplace to request a Mamava lounge, as many other moms have done!
For help choosing a pump and other accessories, check out another “Mama Maker” with similar goals for making breastfeeding more accessible: Jennifer Jordan from Aeroflow Healthcare.