A close friend of Mamava’s who works in the aviation space was pivotal in getting a lactation room built at San Francisco International airport. It is now a reference for the best possible accommodations, and a motivating factor for new legislation which will mandate California’s largest airports to provide a place to pump or breastfeed other than a restroom.
We were thrilled to read about bill 1787. As nursing working moms we had firsthand experience with the challenges of nursing while traveling through airports or working outside the home. There is nothing more demoralizing than using a breast pump in a bathroom, or trying without success to nurse a distracted baby in a hectic public place. It was our personal experience that inspired us to develop Mamava.
Unfortunately there is one feature of this bill that we feel does not make sense, and that is the requirement for these rooms to have a sink. In the many months we have worked to develop the Mamava solution we have recognized that plumbing was a major hurdle for facilities, requiring expensive infrastructure and construction, and limiting optimum placement. The locating of these rooms could be influenced more by what works for airport infrastructure verses what works for moms.
Our concern with the legislation as it is currently written is as follows: 1) Moms need this solution now, and shouldn’t have to wait until 2016, our solution is available now. 2) By mandating a sink, it places a greater burden and expense on the airport which might limit the ideal placement of these spaces and undermine the very convenience and support the bill is trying to achieve. 3) By mandating a sink, it potentially limits the number of lactation stations an airport could afford to install, making it more difficult for both travelers and employees of the airports and their concessioners to use their breast pumps.
We see Mamava not only as a solution for nursing mothers, but as a more visible billboard for the cause and celebration of nursing mothers and the communities, companies, and facilities who support them. Our hope is that states like California, and those that will surely follow will consider outside the box thinking when working on this important issue.