City officials have unveiled five "lactation pods," small mobile rooms to give new mothers private areas to nurse their babies in public places around the five boroughs. NY1's Gene Apodaca explains.
Breastfeeding moms now have a reason to be just as happy as their kids at the Brooklyn Children's Museum; a new mobile room is making it more convenient for them to nurse their babies in private.
"When I went inside, it's very comfortable, it's very soothing, there's air on," new mom Jane Xia said. "It's a great little space."
The health department cut the ribbon on the first of five breast-feeding rooms being located around the city.
City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the goal is to encourage and promote breastfeeding, especially in communities with low breastfeeding rates.
"Part of making mothers comfortable is giving them more opportunities to have safe space to breastfeed," Bassett told the media. "Part of it is letting people know that they are entitled to breastfeed."
The units complement a city law passed last year requiring certain city offices and service centers to provide a designated room for nursing mothers.
It was co-sponsored by Brooklyn City Councilman Robert Cornegy, who said he witnessed the struggles that his wife had with the births of their six kids.
"My colleagues always joke about a lot of my legislation and policy being formed at my kitchen table," Cornegy said. This is a clear example of that: Watching my wife being stressed and aggravated."
The health department calls the new units "lactation pods" — not exactly a warm and embracing name. But the rooms, which are four feet by eight feet, are equipped with comfortable benches, a table, an electrical outlet for a breast pump, and a door that can be locked.
Health officials said such options are needed to expand nursing rates. They said many moms stop exclusively breastfeeding their children within a few weeks after birth, even though experts recommend nursing a child for at least six months.
"It's really complete and perfect food for the baby, and it's convenient," Bassett said about breastfeeding. "There is no better nutrition for a baby."
The city plans to open other breastfeeding pods at the Bronx Zoo, the Staten Island Children's Museum, and hospitals in Queens and Harlem.