The initiative began earlier this year after Humber nursing professor Sylwia Wojtalik came across a student breastfeeding in Humber’s bathroom showers.
“people don’t eat in the bathroom so they shouldn’t be breastfeeding or expressing milk in the bathroom.”
She said she’s encountered one or two students each semester that have had to leave class to express milk, some students would express milk in the bathroom then discard it because it’s not very hygienic.
Wojtalik worked with Jason Powell, dean of the School of Health Sciences, Jacqueline Anderson Associate Director of Wellness and Development, and former IGNITE president Maja Jocson in an effort to make Humber more accessible.
Mamava is a U.S. based company that creates small freestanding and mobile pods for breastfeeding parents. The Mamava pods can be found in airports and businesses around North America.
Humber’s Mamava pod is located by the entrance of the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre, and it will be open on week days from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
To access the pod students must go to the SWAC and ask an attendant for a code, inside there are charging stations and two benches so it is available to more than one student at once.
Jacqueline Anderson said that while it effects a
“small group it was a big challenge”
and thought the Mamava was a “big investment” it was important for mothers to “feel welcomed and not have to use the bathroom.”
Over 31, 000 full time students attend Humber College, with only 5-6 students using the Mamava daily since its opened.
Guelph-Humber student Marya Alam said “even if it’s just 5-6 students, they’re still students at Humber and we should take into account how they feel.”
Wojtalik encourages discussion, saying “not everybody feels comfortable breastfeeding in public, but I think it creates more conversation, just the reaction, students looking at outside the Wellness Centre.”