Very happy news y’all: Amtrak is putting Mamava lactation pods into 30th Street Station here in Philly — as well as their stations in NYC, D.C., Chicago and Baltimore. And as if that’s not cool enough news on it’s own, we can also tell you that it’s all thanks to a couple of local mamas who were set on making it happen.
You might recall that we wrote not so long ago about Lacey Kohlmoos, a local organizing strategist for the activist social network Care2 (and my neighbor!) who has helped lead a months-long campaign to make Amtrak stations more accessible and friendly to nursing moms. Lacey got involved in this project back in 2016, after she herself had trouble finding a place to pump at Union Station in D.C. She asked an Amtrak rep at the station where she might find a private spot, and was pointed to — wait for it — the bathroom. A desperate Lacey ended up pumping in a Starbucks restroom — and came away from the experience motivated to make some noise.
Long story short, she paired up with another Philly mom and nursing activist, Samantha Matlin (who we’ve also featured here, and who I wrote about for a Philly Mag story here), and the two started Care2 petitions to get Amtrak to accommodate the countless nursing mothers who use Amtrak to get around, many of whom have no choice but to pump while traveling, and who have no private place to do so. (No private place to breastfeed, either, for that matter.) Together, they got 64,000 signatures.
The petitions have, after several months, proven successful: Amtrak just announced that they’re pairing up with Mamava to better serve their customers. (You’ve seen the Mamava lactation pods at the airport, perhaps — PHL has a couple.) What this means for us, mamas, is that there will now be clean, private pods in several of the major Amtrak stations — a relief to anyone who’s ever had to deal with the stress of finding a spot to pump on top of the built-in stress of pumping while traveling in the first place.
And while obviously this is good news for nursing moms, I’d argue that it’s good news for all moms, really, as it takes into consideration the (very basic) needs of a (huge) part of the population — and any consideration for moms where none has existed before is a win, IMO. And also, we’re super proud of our Philly moms who found extra time — you know, outside of raising humans and working and just generally keeping their lives afloat — to bring this issue to the forefront and make something happen. Y’all can read more from them, if you’d like: USA Today and WHYY both did really nice write-ups of the whole thing.
Photo credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC / APPROVED FOR EDITORIAL