Creating Solutions to Help Change the World

How often do we have an opportunity to be part of something that can improve thousands of lives globally? Especially something so fundamental as supporting the healthy development of human life. Something vital, yet often overlooked or ignored: Breastfeeding. 

According to the CDC, breastfeeding is ideal for proper growth and development and benefits both babies as well as moms. It also helps protect them against certain illnesses and diseases. In our society however, many people would rather not talk about or promote it for one reason or another. This is particularly true in the workplace.

Based on statistics data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. labor pool is comprised of 46.6% women. This is a decrease from February 2020 as a result of over 1 million women leaving the work force. Medela published their September 2021 study of 3,100 mothers who left work and found that 75% were concerned about balancing work and family. One third of those deciding not to return to work made that decision because they don’t feel adequately supported by their employer to care for their families. Why is this important? Because work doesn’t work for breastfeeding.

As a parent of three, I remember the difficulties my wife had to endure when she needed to feed or pump during normal daily activities, like work. For many women, finding a private space like an empty office, storage closet or bathroom of course, comes with challenges and aren’t the most dignified places to do something so essential like feeding a baby. Enter MAMAVA! Based in Burlington, Vermont, Mamava is the leading expert in lactation space design. Mamava’s mission to create a healthier society through infrastructure and support of breastfeeding to improve the world for mothers and babies.

Mamava manufactures lactation suites that serve as “dedicated spaces purposefully designed for this fundamental activity that helps to sustain human life,” according to the company’s co-founder, Sascha Mayer. Today the company has thousands of suites throughout the U.S. and reports over one million sessions in 2022. The first suite was placed at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont and has expanded to 76 airports. Mayer explains, “I had the personal challenge of having to find a place other than a restroom to use my breast pump when traveling for business, so we knew there was a need and airports were among our first placements because we knew they would make for great pollinators for the idea.” 

Finding the right hardware was key. “Our relationship with DB Roberts was critical to ensure the final build of each unit,” says Mayer. “Our engineers worked with them to specify the best solutions to design challenges down to the rivets that hold the suites together.” With the extensive expertise and commitment to helping clients find solutions, DB Roberts has worked with Mamava to develop a Vendor Managed Inventory program to provide more convenience that support the production of the lactation pods. 

They have also helped to identify the right components that don’t just fit the application, but often improve the form and function of each unit. “DB Roberts is great to partner with,” comments Senior Buyer Amy Balogh. “If we have any questions or changes, they do everything they can to support and communicate with us. They are a nice company to work with.”

One example of finding the right solution occurred with the original lactation suite. The development team had a requirement for the counters to not be in position during shipping but needed to easily be set in place while supporting a high weight capacity. The engineering group looked at a lot of brackets, but one main concern was the complexity to install them on site. To help resolve this challenge, DB Roberts recommended to Mamava engineers the Sugatsune EB-200 stainless steel bracket, which support up to 770 lbs as a pair, and simply folds the counter up into place. These brackets were specified so that on-site assembly would be easier, faster and the quality standard of the installed counters would be best-in-class. 

Another key component from Sugatsune was selected for ease of transport and movement of the units. The units need to be smoothly moved from one location to another yet be completely stable once they are in position. Given this challenge, an adjustable leveling feature was developed that requires a low-profile wheel which is durable enough to support the suites’ design. Sugatsune’s GX-W50GP heavy duty caster was selected as it could be exposed when the levelers were adjusted, allowing the pod to easily roll into its next position, then adjusted to make the unit stationary again. This caster is a heavy-duty twin swivel caster that provides excellent stability with a max load capacity per wheel of 441 lbs and is smooth and quiet. Balogh notes, “Everybody makes casters but not all are created equal. In this case, they must work smoothly every time even though you don’t see it. Can you imagine the impact on someone if the casters failed when they had to move it? This would be a big deal.” 

The human-centric approach doesn’t just go for the company’s product design, but it extends to the corporate culture at the company. Joe Wright, Mamava’s Plant Manager explains, “it’s all about respect for the individual and every associate is encouraged to provide input on any issue.” Senior Buyer Amy Balogh adds, “and everyone is engaged as we have a very collaborative environment. People step out of their workspace to help others in all departments to accomplish this mission.”  

From the research of human needs to the quality details of the final build, Mamava has committed itself to creating a healthier society through infrastructure and support for breastfeeding. This mission has helped to build a common bond and commitment that runs deep with every associate. We had a chance to speak with Jared Warren who shared , “what we do here is so amazing, not just for the mothers but for the children. To build a shelter for the breastfeeding of babies and the safety and comfort of women is just an awesome thing to be a part of.” 

What’s next for Mamava? To keep growing, improve efficiencies and continue to make improvements to their units that make the world a happier, healthier place.

With more than 25% of its global associates dedicated to research and development, Sugatsune continues to develop hardware components that can help connect and facilitate the function of future projects like robots. Inspired by its Motion Design Tech® concept, engineers work together with original equipment manufacturers to develop and customize hardware solutions that can bring your innovations to life. Visit us at or contact our technical experts at (800) 562-5267 to find out how Sugatsune America, Inc. can help.

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