The Mamava Nursing Pod installed at the Coliseum has been a long time coming.
It all started in 2002, when Women’s Resource Center Director Leslie Tower came to the university while nursing her own babies. “There was no place to express milk except my office,” she says. “I still often had to do so in a bathroom.”
This lack of usable space led to Tower’s 2006 partnership with the Council for Women’s Concerns—now the Council for Gender Equity—and creation of the WVU Lactation Network. It started out as an informal collection of employees across campus who were willing to give up their space for working mothers to nurse in a safe and private location. Now, the network has grown into a list of dedicated lactation rooms and private spaces available to the public.
One question that arose from these measures was how it could reach more difficult—and often highly populated—areas, such as Milan Puskar Stadium and the Coliseum. “Women were asking for places to go during football games and being pointed to family bathrooms,” says Tower. But she had a better idea: Mamava Nursing Pods.
“The goal is just to make it easier for mothers to maintain a breastfeeding relationship with their children,” she says. And these pods are doing just that. Moms can download the free Mamava app on their smartphones to find dedicated nursing spaces, including the nursing pod. From the app, they can check the vacancy of the pod, use keyless entry, and control the lighting and air. The pod—the very first one in West Virginia—is also ADA-accessible with enough space for strollers and bags. Benches and counters give Mom plenty of space, complete with outlets and USB ports. A hospital-grade, multiuser Medela pump is available in the pod, though bringing your own personal pumping equipment is required to operate it.
“I had seen them in airports and other places where dedicated rooms couldn’t be done,” Tower says. And how could your attention not be drawn to these sleek and modern spaces?—WVU’s specially designed pod is a perfect mix of motherhood and WVU pride. “It has the most beautiful design. It makes me so proud when I see it.”
The nursing pod is currently located at the Coliseum by the Mountaineer Gate. Once football season hits Morgantown again, the pod will be relocated to Milan Puskar Stadium near the Diversified Energy Terrace, inside the North Gate. Find maps, instructions, and numbers for assistance on the Women’s Resource Center website.