All breastfeeding moms have been there — screaming baby, no place to go to feed screaming baby, glares from strangers when you sit on a park bench because you must feed screaming baby, now. The experience gives new meaning to the expression “feeding frenzy.”
For women, and especially for working mothers, finding a clean, safe and quiet place to breastfeed your child or pump for them has been notoriously challenging. Women who need to do either while they’re away from home are often stuck in unsanitary, uncomfortable and precarious situations, like in a public bathroom or their car.
But, thanks to The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill that was passed in Massachusetts in 2017, which requires employers to provide space for new mothers to pump and breastfeed in the workplace, things have changed and women are beginning to see results.
Public spaces are getting on board with the help of pods like Mamava, a woman-run business that provides clean, private spaces for new moms to handle lactation. Most recently the Derby Street Shops became the first shopping center on the South Shore to offer one of these pods. You can also spot these breastfeeding-friendly units in private workplaces and in public buildings like the Cambridge Public Library.
4 Pumping Pit-stops
As for other options around Boston, we’ve found a few.
Boston City Hall: Conveniently located in the bustling city center, Boston City Hall announced the city’s first-ever public lactation booth earlier this year. The booth is located in the main lobby on the third floor of City Hall during regular business hours and has an electrical outlet, a bench and a fold-down table. While women are welcome to breastfeed anywhere in City Hall, the lactation room is an additional option for further privacy.
Hynes Convention Center: Whether you’re attending a conference or shopping at the Prudential Center, Hynes Convention Center offers several different spaces for nursing mothers, throughout its complex. Mamava pods are open to the public are located in the south and main lobbies, near the Hynes’ main entrance. Pods contain seating, a table and an electrical outlet for pumping machines.
Fenway Park: Sporty moms rejoice! Nursing doesn’t have to keep you away from fun diversions like an evening at Fenway Park. Last year, the historic ballpark partnered with Medela to install a nursing pod, providing a safe space for women to feed and pump. Located in the Kids’ Concourse under the grandstand, the pod offers typical amenities, including a space for a stroller, and they are available during games and special events.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: If any group appreciates the glory of the female body, it’s artists. Visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts — maybe to see some stellar female artists — can feel at ease feeding their babies in a private nursing room. Located off the Hemicycle Gallery on the first floor, this clean, private space is designed for the comfort of nursing and pumping mothers. Any support staff can direct you to the room.