Local Public Establishments Installing Mamava Suites for Breastfeeding Mothers
they are in public places like airports, the fargodome and red river zoo
FARGO, ND — Bathrooms aren’t the only private places mothers can breastfeed anymore.
“We don’t want moms to feel like if they want privacy, that they have to go to the bathroom,” said Jackee Haak, president-elect for the North Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition. “Who wants to eat their lunch in the bathroom? Nobody.”
It’s all thanks to Mamava suites.
They’re pods installed in public places to allow mothers a private place to nurse.
“That’s awesome. It’s about time,” said Katie Karn, who is a mother of an 8-month-old.
The one at Fargo’s Hector International Airport has air conditioning and it’s ADA accessible.
“A couple folks thought it looked like a fish house, which makes sense for the area we’re in, but I’ve received a number of comments from people like ‘oh that’s great. That’s neat,'” said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director at Hector International Airport.
Hector Airport was the first place in Fargo to get one of these pods and North Dakota is the first state in the U.S. to have one at every airport.
“It’s great that we have an opportunity to be pioneers in this area and to show that we’re supportive of women,” Karn said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
The NDBC made it all possible through a grant they received from the North Dakota Department of Health.
One reason the breastfeeding coalition wanted to get Mamava in the state is because some moms are asked to cover up or to move to a different spot when they breastfeed in public.
“That’s really against the law for one,” Haak said. “Moms are able to breastfeed wherever they’re allowed to be but they’re not always made to feel very comfortable about it.”
Haak said people need to continue to fight the stigma for moms who would rather breastfeed in public.
“This is how moms are feeding the babies and so the baby truly is just eating,” Haak said. “It shouldn’t be something that’s sexualized. It’s just the baby needs to eat. I think we need to normalize it.”
Dobberstein said they have plans in the works to get another Mamava suite for their baggage claim area.