The Babypalooza HQ is in Innovation Depot, a thriving entrepreneur center in Birmingham, Alabama. Once a Sears and Roebuck distribution center, Innovation Depot, sits on three city blocks and is home to almost 100 companies, with up to 500 employees in the building.
It has everything from an onsite restaurant, workout room, showers, and rooftop patio, but it did not have accommodations for breast pumping moms returning to work after maternity leave. Moms were pumping in the restrooms and their cars.
Because we are Babypalooza, and it’s what we do, we wanted to help these moms. I approached the CEO of Innovation Depot, Drew Honeycutt, about creating a lactation lounge. Drew offered a vacant office near the atrium to support Depot moms and add another great Depot amenity. The central location makes it also available to moms visiting the Depot for the many conferences and events hosted here.
The plan was to paint and put in a couple of gliders and a mini-fridge offering a simple upgrade from the restroom but then thought if we are going to do this, let’s do it.
I called Brian Roberson and Dan Taylor with bDot Architecture, located just a block over. They are known for their innovative architectural designs. We needed something innovative to be compatible with the startup culture of the Depot. Brian and Dan were excited about the project and offered to donate their time to design a beautiful and functional space for working moms. A donation of over $10,000.
The design exceeded my expectations. I’m not sure what I expected, but I’m sure it didn’t include kinetic partition arms that bDot designed and built to allow moms the choice of open community or privacy when there was more than one mom in the room at a time. Or for new flooring, lighting, and a floating coffee, tea and snack bar. Wow!
All inspired by the tree of life #brelfie trend where moms create a photo that overlays a tree connecting her and her baby as she is breastfeeding. Highlighting the special bond moms have with their babies through breastfeeding. Selected paint colors and furniture reinforced this natural nature theme.
bDot built a wall where wood was weathered and the tree of life etched onto the wood as the focal point. The first thing moms see as they enter the room. The wall is functional creating a safety buffer so someone could not walk in undetected. Or ever be able to fully see into the room from the hallway.
Mickey Davis at Carpet Specialties to do the flooring and Mickey offered to donate his services to help transform this room for moms. We got another big surprise when Mickey called to say that Shaw Contract was donating all of the flooring materials.
Anita Watford with Lydels Design was the seamstress for the drapes for the partition arms. Also, donating her time for the project.
The room includes the basics that any breast pump room should have; comfortable chairs and workstations so moms can bring laptops to keep working and a storage cabinet for pumps. The harsh fluorescent lights were replaced with six hanging bamboo pendants from Etsy to provide a soft, warm atmosphere.
The first mom to use the room was Wendy Morell, Director of Operations at MainStreet Family Care. Her daughter 5-month-old daughter Louise Wilkinson was born in August.
Wendy shared, “it’s very stressful to transition from maternity leave to work. In addition to juggling home life, work-life, and care of a new baby life, there are the logistics of breastfeeding and pumping. Sanitizing pump parts, making sure you are eating and drinking enough, worrying about your milk supply. Only getting two or three hours of sleep because I’m staying up longer to be with my baby since I don’t get to see her all day.”
She said, “Knowing there is a pumping room reduces some of the mental load.”
bDot Architecture, Inc.
1201 2nd Ave North, Suite A
Birmingham, AL 35203
4401 First Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35222
Donated the LVT Flooring
Donated the Rubber Base
Upholstery, Drapes, and Pillows
Lights from Etsy
No longer Available