Some airports are getting more breast-feeding friendly. The first ever lactation station kiosk was introduced to a U.S. airport on Thursday.
The pod-like modular lactation station is slightly larger than a photo booth and allows for a mother to breast-feed her baby os use a a breast pump in a private spot. The kiosk has Corian surfaces, soft lighting, a fold-down table and even a power supply for a pumping machine to make nursing easier for mothers while they're traveling, CNN reports.
The first lactation station was unveiled at Burlington International Airport in Vermont. The Burlington company behind it, Mamava, hopes that more airports will adopt the kiosk.
"We definitely see it for any public space where a mom might need some privacy or might want to use a breast pump," company co-founder Sascha Mayer said according to CNN.
Nursing mothers often face challenges while trying to breast feed in public as they have to cover themselves with shawls or go to a corner or bathroom stall to do it. Mother who need to pump their milk have an even more difficult time trying to find a public spot. Bathrooms are the main options, but sitting on a toilet while pumping isn't the most desirable option.
Mayer recognized these problems after her own daughter was born seven years ago and she had to travel for work. She had trouble finding ways to pump while at trade shows, airports, corporate retreats, baseball games and rafting trips, so she started to think of a products that might make the process easier for women.
"We wanted it to be comfortable," she said, but at the same time, "we're not about hiding moms away. We're about giving them an alternative to pumping in public, and an alternative to using a bathroom."
Mayer started working with designers and the company came up with the first prototype earlier this year. Gene Richards, Burlington's airport director, liked the idea and decided to place the kiosk in the second floor of the terminal after the security checkpoints.
"Breast-feeding is welcome anywhere at the airport, but the Mamava unit will provide a comfortable place for nursing mothers who might want more privacy (or for babies who might need fewer distractions)," the company told CNN.
The lactation stations are free of charge and a lock on the door turns red when it is in use.
Mamava is hoping to put the pods in other airports and public places like conference centers and malls. They're also currently working on a foldable design that could be used in small workplaces and put away when not in use.
"What's been really, really fun for us is the cultural challenge," Mayer said. "We really just want to make it a legitimate choice for women, because really in a lot of cases it just isn't. There are so many challenges, so why not make it as positive and optimistic and comforting as possible?"