Everyone has the right to breastfeed or chestfeed anywhere at the University of Toronto – and there are numerous locations across the three campuses that offer quiet, comfortable spaces for feeding and pumping.
And then there’s the new lactation pod at U of T Mississauga.
“We have designated several areas around campus for breast and chestfeeding, such as the lounge in the Annex, but they are not always really that private,” says Nythalah Baker, director, equity, diversity and inclusion at U of T Mississauga.
Many of the suggested locations at U of T Mississauga are also tied to office hours.
“Pre-COVID, we had a pressing request to find resources almost immediately for a student because we didn’t have any spaces available in the evening,” says Kaye Francis, manager of the Family Care Office. “We started looking for new options.”
The solution? The Mamava lactation pod: a standalone, wheelchair-accessible, 50 square-foot pod that includes two benches, electrical outlets, a mirror, lighting, shelves, a Bluetooth SmartLock and a charging station. Access is free and is controlled by the Mamava app, available on App Store or Google Play. No appointment is necessary, access is on a first-come, first-served basis and notifications via the app tell you when the unit becomes available.
U of T Mississauga’s pod is located on the main floor of the CCT Building atrium near the MiST Theatre. It is available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and can be used not only by students, staff, librarians and faculty, but also by campus visitors. It’s also on wheels, allowing it to be moved to other locations if needed.
Vermont-based Mamava was co-founded in 2013 by Sascha Mayer and Christine Dodson, who were inspired by their own frustrations having to pump in closets, toilet stalls and cars. The Mamava network now includes thousands of pods across North America – from Walmart stores to military bases to the Statue of Liberty.
In the GTA, pods can also be found at Toronto Pearson International Airport and Humber College.