We Design: People. Practice. Progress.
Sascha Mayer & Christine Dodson
Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer launched Mamava with the help of their graphic design studio, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, in the hopes of transforming the culture of breastfeeding.
Photos courtesy of Mamava
As pressure to breastfeed increases, a two-class system is emerging for working mothers. For those with autonomy in their jobs—generally, well-paid professionals—breastfeeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice… But for lower-income mothers—including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers, and the military—pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breastfeed at all, and others to quit after a short time.
Inspired by their own experiences coupled with the startling realities of a 2006 New York Times article by Jodi Kantor that found “pumping at work at work is close to impossible,” Dodson and Mayer started Mamava with the creation of a freestanding lactation suite. Mamava lactation pods provide privacy, cleanliness, and anything necessary to use a breast pump or nurse an infant. Simultaneously, the suites remind anyone passing by that breastfeeding and pumping should be supported and celebrated in support of babies, families, moms, and women.
The original Mamava suite is approximately 26 square feet and is outfitted with dual benches, outlets, USB ports, a mirror, a fold-down table, as well as motion-activated ventilation, lights, and a small refrigerator. Dodson and Mayer have also launched an accompanying app to the Mamava suites that locates public Mamava pods, unlocks pods, and has additional features like tracking breastfeeding and pumping goals and storing baby photos. After the success and necessity of the first Mamava suites, the company has expanded to other models for spatial flexibility and pods for pop-up events.
Driven by their own frustrations, and the difficulties they saw other women face, Dodson and Mayer have brought new creativity to innovation and design that is specifically for women and mothers. Challenging detrimental social and workplace stigmas about breastfeeding, Mamava brings new awareness to both the joys and challenges of motherhood.