Moms have a new spot to feed their little ones when they go to a Durham Bulls game.
A specially designed pod that provides a quiet and private space for moms to breastfeed or pump breastmilk now sits in the third base concourse of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The space - the first for a minor league ball park - should see its inaugural occupants on Monday when the team kicks off a homestand against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Until now, women have been directed to the ball park’s one-room family bathroom if they wanted to nurse in private or pump. But the bathroom isn’t the most sanitary place for a baby to have a meal.
In fact, one nursing mom complained about the restroom option, said George Habel, vice president of the sports group for Capitol Broadcasting Co. (which owns the Durham Bulls, WRAL-TV and Go Ask Mom, among other properties).
"We were compelled to find a solution because our brand is 'family friendly,'" Habel said. "Unlike most sports, half of the Bulls' fan base is female, so the issue deserved some attention."
To bring in the pod, the Bulls teamed up with Seventh Generation, who paid for the space. John Replogle, the company’s CEO, lives in Durham. Seventh Generation is known for its plant-based cleaning products and other items, including diapers and wipes.
The pod is made by Mamava, which has installed similar nursing suites in airports, stadiums, convention centers, hospitals and schools across the United States. The Durham Bulls is the first minor league baseball team to have a Mamava nursing pod at their facility. Seventh Generation has sponsored Mamava nursing pods in other locations.
“It just makes sense,” said Morgan Weber, the Bulls' manager of corporate partnerships, of the collaboration with Seventh Generation. “Seventh Generation is a phenomenal organization, and we feel privileged to have developed such a strategic partnership."
Moms, of course, are welcome to continue to nurse in the stands or elsewhere at the park. The pod is designed for breastfeeding moms who are hoping for a little more privacy or need a space for pumping.
The pod includes a power outlet to charge your phone or plug in a breast pump. There also are two benches, along with a fan and ventilation to keep it cool.
“We have been looking for options to accommodate nursing mothers at the ballpark,” Weber said. “Being one of the most family-friendly entertainment venues in the Triangle, we are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to support each member of the family."