Edited by: Chris Dong
& Keri Stooksbury
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When it comes to breastfeeding an infant when you’re away from home, there have been, until recently, few options for privacy. While a restroom or scarf to cover your baby (and yourself) while nursing works in a pinch, it’s not ideal. Add to that the unfortunate reality of some people’s experience with TSA throwing breast milk in the trash and you could feel a lot of anxiety around nursing or pumping while traveling.
But that doesn’t have to be the case everywhere, thanks in part to lactation pods and nursing rooms.
You can find space to nurse or pump at airports across the country and even at sports and music venues and universities. Here’s everything you need to know about how to find a lactation pod or nursing room before your next flight.
In 2018, Congress passed the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Improvement Act which requires all small, medium, and large hub airports to provide a private space in each terminal for people to nurse. The act also requires that airports provide at least 1 men’s and women’s restroom with a baby changing table in each terminal.
Many airports have chosen to install Mamava lactation pods, which we detail further below. However, you can also find spaces in terminals designated as nursing rooms, mother’s rooms, baby rooms, or lactation areas at a significant number of airports.
If your airport has a Minute Suites location, you can reserve a 30-minute stay in one of its suites to nurse or pump at no cost.Hot Tip:
Our airport terminal guides have dedicated coverage of nursing areas, including where to specifically find the Mamava lactation pod or nursing room closest to your gate. You can also check the Mamava app for pod locations, a nursing room locator such as Moms Pump Here, the airport’s website, or ask the airport information desk for assistance.
A Mamava lactation pod is exactly what it sounds like — a free pod or space designed for people who are nursing or need to pump breast milk on the go or away from home.
While the company also designs custom room solutions for employers, the pods traditionally come in 3 sizes. Each size comes with the option to unlock the pod with the free Mamava app on your phone.
Mamava Solo is the most compact version of the lactation pods. The website describes this smallest pod as designed for parents who need to pump while at work. Mamava Original is large enough to accommodate a pumping or nursing parent, meaning that it’s large enough for you and your baby. And lastly, Mamava XL is large enough to accommodate wheelchair users and even strollers.
Depending on the pod, it may have a sink or a smartphone booking capability. Each pod has an outlet and a lock for privacy. Once you’ve flipped the deadbolt, the lights and fans should turn on and stay on for as long as you are in the pod.
Mamava lactation pods are located all over the U.S. and internationally. There are Mamava lactation pods at over 75 airports such as Orlando International Airport (MCO), New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
The type of Mamava lactation pod available differs by location. However, you can see which pod type is available when searching locations on the Mamava app and opening the pin to see more details.
While it’s true that Mamava pods that are available for public use are most likely to be found at airports, they can also be found elsewhere. Universities, convention centers, shopping centers, and even military bases have Mamava pods for pumping and breastfeeding parents.
At this time, Mamava seems to be the most popular lactation pod option on the market.
The Mamava app is available to both iOS and Android users. Once you download the app, you’ll need to create an account or log in if you already have one. From there, you can choose to give the app access to your location to find pods near you. You could alternatively just search for pods by location or on the map.
When searching your location on the map, you can zoom in and out and click Search This Area to see where there is a Mamava pod near you.
Once you’ve found a pod near you, select that pod on the app to see what features it offers.
When you give the app Bluetooth access, you can remotely unlock Mamava Pod doors. You can also access the pod with the code provided by the app.
Mamava lactation pods are located at many airports now, with some even before you go through the security checkpoint. If you elect to pump milk before heading through security, you’ll need to be aware of the TSA rules concerning breast milk.
For starters, breast milk is not subjected to the same quantity requirements as other liquids in your carry-on. You can carry on more than 3.4 ounces, or 100 milliliters, of breast milk because is a medically-necessary liquid.
Ice packs, gel packs, and other items you need to keep your breast milk cool are also considered medically necessary.
You’ll need to let the TSA officer know that you’re carrying breast milk in your carry-on and then remove the liquid from your bag for screening. They may need to test the liquid to make sure that it doesn’t contain anything prohibited.
TSA recommends storing your breastmilk in clear bottles instead of plastic bags or pouches (like you might use for freezer storage) to expedite the screening process.
Hot Tip: Check out our guide to flying with breast milk for more details.
You have 3 options for storing your breast milk depending on when you’ll need it. You can either store fresh milk in or out of the refrigerator or freeze it. If you freeze it, you’ll need to know how to dethaw it for consumption. Each stage of storage has slightly different things to consider.
After expressing fresh milk, you can either keep it at room temperature, refrigerate it, or freeze it.
If kept at room temperature, or up to 77 degrees, your milk will be good for up to 4 hours. It will last up to 4 days when stored in the refrigerator.
Hot Tip: Place a piece of tape on your storage bottles and write the date and time that the milk was collected. This way you’ll know when how old the breast milk is. Alternatively, breast milk storage bags have a place for you to write this information on the front of the bag.
Breast milk can last for 6 to 12 months when properly stored in the freezer shortly after pumping.
For best results, freeze in small quantities — only 2 to 4 ounces per container. Leave about an inch of space at the top of the container for the milk to expand while freezing. Milk can be frozen in plastic containers or milk bags. You should write the date and time that the milk was expressed on the container.
And lastly, it’s recommended that you keep the milk as far back in your freezer as you can to ensure that it does not thaw.
When it’s time to thaw your frozen breast milk, use the oldest breast milk first.
Place the container or bag in the refrigerator overnight to be used the next day. You can serve your breast milk cold or you can warm it by running the container under warm water or placing the container in warm water. It should be used within 2 hours of being warmed up.
If not warming your recently thawed breast milk, it can sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours after it has been thawed. Do not re-freeze already thawed breast milk.
Lactation pods and nursing rooms give lactating parents the privacy they need to breastfeed or pump milk for their babies when on the go. They’re conveniently located at airports across the U.S. as well as at places like convention centers and hospitals.
All information and content provided by Upgraded Points is intended as general information and for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as medical advice or legal advice. For more information, see our Medical & Legal Disclaimers.
No. While employers are required to provide time (breaks) and space for lactating parents at their place of employment, rooms dedicated solely to lactation may not be found everywhere.
Yes. A lot of airports do provide spaces, like Mamava lactation pods, for lactating people to either pump or express their milk or nurse their babies in private.
It depends on the lactation room. But there should be a comfortable chair and table. If it is a lactation room at work, it may also have a separate refrigerator. Some lactation rooms also come with a sink.
Yes, they can enter lactation rooms.
There is no charge to use a Mamava pod and the Mamava app is also available free of charge.
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