The Minnesota Vikings announced that they are about to become the first NFL team to install breastfeeding suites in their stadium. This is a major move forward for female fans, and we at HealthyWomen hope other sports arenas will follow suit.
Breastfeeding or breast pumping in public can be challenging due to a lack of proper facilities (I've personally had to breast pump in public bathrooms, and it is no fun). Breastfeeding pods like the two to be installed in TCF Bank Stadium, where the Vikings are playing while their new stadium is built, will give nursing mothers a quiet, clean space to breastfeed or pump before going back out to enjoy the game. The new stadium will also have a lactation suite, and breastfeeding pods will be installed at the Viking's corporate offices and training facility.
The 4-by-8-foot breastfeeding pods were created by Mamava. The Mamava pods, which can also be found in a number of airports and businesses, are lockable freestanding rooms that each feature two benches, a table, and an outlet for plugging in a breast pump.
In a press release, Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren explained, "While we certainly encourage breastfeeding mothers to nurse where they feel comfortable, we have become increasingly aware of the need many moms have for the privacy and comfort that these Mamava lactation suites provide. In addition, we are always striving to create the most positive workplace environment within our organizations, and the pods at our two headquarters will benefit many of our female employees."
Right now, the Vikings are in the company of only a few other professional teams: The Washington Nationals and the Cincinnati Reds have breastfeeding lounges in their stadiums, and there is a Mamava pod at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
Check out this video to see a Mamava pod in action: