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Walmart testing in-store mother’s room pods

Walmart wants to remove a big challenge for its employees and shoppers who are new moms.

The discounter is testing freestanding lactation pods with a high-tech edge for use by its employees and customers in three stores: Williston, Vermont; Gilbert, Arizona; and Bentonville, Arkansas. The pods, from Mamava, are also installed in six Walmart distribution centers across the U.S.

The pods are designed to provide breastfeeding women with a private and comfortable space to nurse or pump while at work or on the go. They are connected to a smartphone app that allows moms to find the pod, opt into vacancy alerts and unlock the pod.

The app also allows users to adjust the pod’s airflow and lighting, play a selection of relaxing sounds, and even leave a few words of support for the next mom who visits the pod. Walmart is the first U.S. retailer to install Mamava pods, which can be found at a variety of venues, including sports stadiums and universities, across the nation.

Walmart first heard about pods from one of its associates, Tennille Webb, who upon returning from maternity leave, quickly realized how complicated it was going to be to maintain her breastfeeding routine. Webb, who was on the chain’s real estate team at the time, first came across a Mamava pod in an airport. She wondered it could be a new option for use in Walmart stores.

Tennille shared her discovery with her team at Walmart, and helped kick off Mamava’s first venture into retail space.

“This is an exciting new option that I hope will give other working moms the best possible experience as they transition back into the workplace,” Tennille said. "All nursing mothers have a different comfort level with when and where they breastfeed, and Mamava is another option for support.”
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