What to Know
- The new pods are part of the city's ongoing efforts to promote and support breastfeeding in communities with the lowest rates of nursing
- There are now 5 public pods in the city, one in each borough; there are also more than two dozen public lactation rooms available
- Breastfed babies are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory problems, health officials say
The city's Health Department has officially opened five public "lactation pods" -- one in each borough -- for nursing moms.
Each pod is 4 by 8 feet and a self-contained mobile unit equipped with comfortable benches, a table, an electrical outlet for plugging in breast pumps and a door that can be locked for privacy.
The lactation pods are now available to the public at Health + Hospitals’ Queens Hospital Center and Harlem Hospital Center; the Bronx Zoo; the Staten Island Children’s Museum; and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
The new pods are part of the city's ongoing efforts to promote and support breastfeeding in communities with the lowest rates of nursing, and to ensure that mothers feel comfortable pumping and breastfeeding in whichever setting they choose.
In August 2016, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation requiring the Administration for Children’s Services, New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish lactation rooms in select locations where social services are offered to the public. There are now more than two dozen locations open, and authorities say they plan to open additional ones as well. Here's a complete list of the public lactation room and pod locations in the city.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life until one year of age or longer. Breastfed babies are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory problems, health officials say. When done in partnership with safe sleep practices, breastfed babies are also at lower risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, breast milk may help build a baby’s immune system to fight SIDS-related infections. Mothers who breastfeed for 12 months or more have a lower risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“Breastfeeding is the most complete and natural form of nutrition for babies, and it also provides health benefits for new mothers,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “We are fortunate to live in a city that protects a mother’s right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime. We’re happy to provide a comfortable option for women who prefer to breastfeed or pump in a private space.”