“I had my son in 2017, and I returned to work early 2018 and I was really committed to maintaining my breastfeeding relationship with my child even though the job I was doing at the time required me to travel probably once a month for three to four days at a time,” Tennille Webb, a senior business relationship manager at Walmart, said. “I knew to keep that relationship I was going to have to pump and that meant pumping while I was traveling.”
Then one day while at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, Tennille saw a Mamava lactation pod and decided to try it out.
“It was a pretty serene and peaceful experience,” she recalled. “I thought it was awesome and I thought this is something that we could do at Walmart, specifically in our stores.”
Tennille shared her idea with a Walmart executive, and now the retailer has pushed out a Mamava pod pilot program in three stores across the country — including one in Gilbert, Arizona.
Mamava is the “leading expert” in lactation pod design, offering moms a 21st-century, on-the-go space that allows nursing moms to breastfeed or pump in a clean, private space as well as control the pod’s lights, music, and other amenities through a mobile app.
“We’re always looking for ways to better serve our associates and our customers,” Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart, said. “It’s such a cool thing.”
According to Tennille, breastfeeding is not only physical by also mental. Providing another option for women who are breastfeeding or pumping shows Walmart cares about its employees and customers.
“The fact that our number one customer is the momager, the mom. I think it’s important to provide options,” she said. “I think it’s really awesome… that at Walmart we try to be on the forefront of things and the trendsetters in a lot of ways.”
Walmart is the first retailer to implement pods within its stores and depending on feedback, the company might roll it out to more locations across the country.
“I think it is a really good option, a really good choice for moms,” Anne said. “My hope is we get some really good feedback… [because] as feedback comes in then we’ll decide when we have enough feedback and at that point, we’ll decide whether we want to expand the test or roll it out.”
The Gilbert pilot store is located at 5290 S Power Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295. The other two are located in Williston, Vermont, and Bentonville, Arkansas.
Photo courtesy of Walmart