ITHACA, N.Y. — Seeing that nursing mothers could use a private space, the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has added a station for breastfeeding.

“We were disturbed to learn that some of our travelers who are nursing mothers and seeking privacy were forced to do so in the women’s restroom,” Mike Hall, director of the airport, said in a news release.

The airport has installed Mamava, a lactation suite. The space has a collapsible table, which provides space for a breast pump and two benches, which can accommodate a mother and additional children, her partner or luggage. There are also AC and USB outlets.

Mike Hall/Provided Photo

The first Mamava unit was launched in 2013 at the Burlington International Airport. There are now more than 150 units across the country. There is also an app associated with the suites that syncs with smart locks and helps mothers locate other suites and nursing friendly locations.

Breastfeeding has always been allowed at the airport and is not discouraged, but officials said in a news release that adding a Mamava suite has been a goal for a long time so mothers have the option to nurse privately if they want.

Mamava was started by two women in 2006 who were frustrated with the lack of privacy available to nurse.

The founders, Christine Dodson and Sascha Mayer, write on their website that their goal is not to hide breastfeeding, but to raise the profile of it.

“We have never wanted to hide breastfeeding — our goal is to do just the opposite by raising the profile of this natural human function, and celebrating the realities of the logistics involved in taking on breastfeeding for the many, many mothers who need to be away from their babies,” they write.

Images provided by Mike Hall.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.