It Takes a Village to Make a Mamava

A personal thank you from Sascha, Mamava cofounder on the eve of the Mamava launch at Burlington International Airport.


It was Labor Day 2006. The New York Times featured an article written by Jodi Kantor that outlined the challenges certain mothers faced trying to continue breastfeeding after returning to work.


Ms. Kantor wrote:


As pressure to breastfeed increases, a two-class system is emerging for working mothers. For those with autonomy in their jobs—generally, well-paid professionals—breastfeeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice…. But for lower-income mothers—including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers, and the military—pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breastfeed at all, and others to quit after a short time.

At the time, I was a breastfeeding mom who worked outside of the home. The seed was planted and, if you have been following our blog or our Facebook page, you know the story. What you may not know is how many people and organizations have shown their support for our project along the way. I have found that it truly takes a village, and I want to use this post to thank those who have provided so much guidance and support over the years.




  • My husband, Aron Merrill, who never lets me give up, whether it’s nursing or solving a problem in the world, and with whom I am raising two fabulous kids.
  • My mother, Judy Mayer, who sat beside me reading the original NYT piece and instilled a sense of social justice in me from the very beginning. She also nursed three children ahead of the curve and advised on and supported the breastfeeding of five grandchildren.
  • My father, Edward Mayer, who knows when something is broken and tries to fix it. He has contributed his many talents to Mamava—helping with everything from design to copywriting.
  • Rachel Stanton, who cared for my daughter and her daughter at the same time, providing friendship on two fronts and enabling me to do what I love. She is also the most facile breastfeeder I have ever seen.
  • Christine Dodson, my cofounder and voice of reason, who was the first pregnant woman/working mama I wanted to emulate, because she did it with such grace and calm, and because she has three amazing kids.
  • Michael Jager, who believes that individuals working together can change the world—because he is one of those individuals and he has seen it.
  • Gene Richards, our fairy godfather, who didn’t know much about breastfeeding but still understood that pumping in a bathroom wasn’t right. He put himself out there to help realize our dream and bring it to the world.
  • Courtlandt Pennell, John Abrahamsen, and specifically David Jaacks, who saw an idea and took it to the next level.
  • Zutano, for making us look good, and for supporting breastfeeding mamas from the get-go.
  • Monica Ostby and Inlu, for inspiring me to embrace my inner entrepreneur and never give up.
  • Jodi Kantor, Hope Reeves, and NYT Motherlode, for telling it like it is and bringing this issue the attention it deserves.
  • Owen Milne and Red Thread, who helped us create the first Nursing Mothers’ Lounge at BTV and can seamlessly combine business and social responsibility.
  • The Women of Champlain College’s Emergent Media Center class of 2012, especially Christina Rosalie and Hilary Hess.
  • Burlington International Airport
  • Jed Crystal
  • HFS Communications
  • Steve Horrocks
  • Giovanna Jager
  • The women of JDK
  • David Kemp
  • Alex Mayer
  • Nikki Mayer
  • Lauren Merrill
  • Kevin Murakami
  • Ann Pechaver
  • Danielle Rinsler
  • John Siddle
  • Seventh Generation
  • Superconductor Co.
  • Miya Teraki
  • Brian Werneke
  • All the folks who contributed via Inlu and everyone else who has provided the moral or tangible support that a project like needs to get off the ground.


In the words of my daughter - Welcome, Mamava!