Rozic, Jean-Pierre: LIRR to Install Private Space for Breastfeeding Moms at Penn Station

Installation follows a request made by the lawmakers during a tour of the East Side Access project to ensure proper accommodations for nursing mothers and families

New York, NYAssemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) announced today that the LIRR plans to install a private space at Penn Station for nursing mothers. The announcement follows a letter sent by Rozic and Jean-Pierre last year expressing concern over access to breastfeeding stations that were raised during a tour of the East Side Access infrastructure project. The lactation pods are scheduled to be installed by this fall and will be available upon request to the waiting room attendant.

“Designated lactation sites provide working families with the support they need as they re-enter the workforce and navigate the ever-changing dynamics of work-life balance. I am pleased that the MTA has agreed to make these accommodations at Penn Station and will consider expanding access to lactation pods across different stations,” Assemblywoman Rozic said.

“I am thrilled and thankful that President Eng and the Long Island Rail Road are moving forward with this initiative, which will provide families with the peace of mind knowing they will be able to properly cater to their infants’ needs on the go,” Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre said.

In their October 2018 letter, the lawmakers wrote that as they learned of the amenities planned for the new LIRR terminal below Grand Central, they shared concerns over accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. They noted that after returning to work from parental leave, many nursing mothers “will want to continue providing breast milk to their infants, and we are seeing more employers supporting their employees who breastfeed by implementing workplace lactation facilities and policies.”

The lactation pod is made by Mamava, a company based in Vermont specializing in lactation space design and manufacturing. It will be fully accessible to all customers in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will have bench seating, shelves, mirrors, coat hooks, occupancy-activated lighting, and dual-outlet USB ports.

According to the MTA, the upcoming installation will be the latest in a series of customer-friendly initiatives adopted by the LIRR such as LIRR Care – a program allowing customers with special mobility needs to call ahead to receive personalized assistance on trains at terminals. The MTA will also be running a pilot program for Help Points, a kiosk on station platforms with a highly visible strobe light that customers can use to alert crews of an incoming train that a customer needs special attention boarding a train.

The LIRR customer waiting room is near the Seventh Avenue entrance to Penn Station. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the lactation pod proves successful, others could be deployed elsewhere in the MTA network.