Nursing on-the-go moms who travel through Penn Station – one of the busiest transportation hubs in the U.S. – now have their own private space, known as a lactation pod, to breastfeed or pump, located in the LIRR’s Customer Waiting Room on the main LIRR concourse near the 7th Avenue entrance.
It is the first public lactation pod in the MTA system, and was installed this week near the start of 2019’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
This latest customer-facing initiative will make it easier for more mothers to achieve their breastfeeding goals by providing a private, enclosed room with comfortable benches, a fold-down table, an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump, and a door that can be locked for privacy. The pod is available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, upon request by the waiting room attendant.
The lactation pod is the latest in a series of customer-friendly initiatives adopted by the LIRR within the last 14 months, and joins programs like LIRR Care, My LIRR Loyalty, LIRR Summer Saturdays, Help Points, and MyLIRR.org train finder, as innovative, thoughtful ways the LIRR aims to improve the customer experience.
“Our team at the Long Island Rail Road is focused on making our system accessible, modernized, and user-friendly to all — and that means from the train service we provide to the amenities in our stations,” LIRR President Phil Eng said. “This new lactation pod will help countless new moms more seamlessly navigate our transportation network, whether they are returning to work full time, heading to doctor’s appointments or simply out for a day of leisure. We are proud to deliver meaningful initiatives that impact our customers’ everyday lives.”
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre said: “Today is a great day for New York and for breastfeeding mothers who will now have the peace of mind knowing that they will be able to properly cater to their infants’ needs while commuting on our railroad. I applaud and thank President Eng and the LIRR for working with us to champion this cause and ensuring that our public transit systems continue to accommodate the various needs of our commuters.”
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said: “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.”
Erika London, of Mindr, an advocacy group for mothers, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see organizations like the LIRR not only recognize the needs of new moms but invest in them to help modernize the motherhood experience. Innovations like this one are incredibly important to help promote and support breastfeeding within our communities. Small changes like these make such a meaningful impact and we must continue celebrating these necessary changes and the bold companies like LIRR behind them.”
The new lactation pod installation is the latest in a series of customer-friendly initiatives adopted by the LIRR within the last 14 months. Others are:
- LIRR Care, a program allowing those with special mobility needs to call ahead to receive personalized attention on trains, or to find assistance by walking up to our designated areas at terminals.
- LIRR Summer Saturdays, which allows monthly ticketholders to travel with up to four friends and family members at a rate of just $1 per person anywhere the LIRR goes.
- 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.
- org, a web tool optimized for smartphones that allows customers to find the real-time location of approaching trains on a map, refreshed every 3- to 5-seconds.
- My LIRR Loyalty, which gives LIRR monthly ticketholders special deals and discounts from merchants throughout the LIRR’s service region.