The Cedar building’s new addition promises a “private space” for breastfeeding mothers
Mayumi Izumi // Contributor
Mayumi Izumi // Photographer
Sara Nguyen // Art Director
Capilano University (CapU) installed a Mamava Pod in the first floor lobby of Cedar building—the freestanding lactation room is easily accessed by mothers needing a private space to breast-feed their baby or to pump their milk.
To use the room, mothers can easily download the Mamava pod app onto their Smart phone by scanning the QR code. Mothers who don’t have a cell phone or data can take note of the phone number on the outside of the Mamava pod and call ahead of time. The app helps mothers locate not only the pods, but other private, comfortable places throughout the city to breast-feed and pump. It is a supportive community where mothers can leave positive messages to encourage each other.
Inside the pod is an electrical outlet to plug in a breast-pumping machine, a single seat, surrounded by positive signs, instructions, and messages for lactating mamas. Electrical outlets can be difficult to find, especially in a location that is private. Privacy is important to both mothers and their babies being fed.
Campus Planning Manager Sarah Hoskins had several emails in her inbox on the day she started working for CapU two years ago. She recalls that one of the first emails she read said there was a need for a private room for breastfeeding mothers. Jane Fane, Early Childhood Care & Education Instructor, had reached out to her, requesting a place for mothers to be able to breastfeed, pump breast milk, have a diaper changing area and a place for parents to be with their children.
Hoskins immediately pulled on her experience designing healthcare spaces, and invited CapU to consider purchasing a Mamava pod. CapU accepted the proposal and Hoskins ordered the $13,000 pod in January 2020.
Before the pod’s installation, mothers often went to the Arbutus building basement to breastfeed—leaving mothers feeling inconvenienced and uncomfortable. “The pod[s] [are] not a place to hide breast-feeding or pumping mothers,” says Hoskins. “[They are] a private and clean space for breast-feeding or pumping mothers to go to if they choose.”
As a mother herself, the former Mississippi-based healthcare interior designer sympathizes with mothers needing a private space to breastfeed. “I know firsthand how hard it is to be responsible for [my children’s] nutrition,” she says, thinking of her two toddlers who stay at CapU’s Childcare Centre while she is at work.
Mamava pods were created and founded by mothers Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer, with a mission of providing a private place where all mothers could feed their babies regardless of her financial circumstances.
Hoskins assures that they will monitor the use of the pod – how often it is used, if there are busy times that cannot accommodate all the mothers. With enough demand, CapU may purchase more pods for different areas on campus.
Hoskins says that the Mamava pod is just the beginning of CapU’s plans to increase available family space, and she “would like everyone to know about it.”
To read more about Mamava pods and their founders visit their website.