Breast-feeding moms will now have a designated place to pump milk or nurse their babies when working in or visiting Suffolk County’s government headquarters in Hauppauge.
The Lactation Station opened yesterday on the third floor of the H. Lee Dennison Building. A former storage room has been transformed, with two comfortable chairs, a microwave, a refrigerator, a wall-mounted baby changing station and a pump.
“This is a major step for a government to embrace the concept of having a lactation station to be used by both the public and female employees,” said Grace Ioannidis, director of the county’s Office of Women’s Services, which spearheaded the effort in conjunction with the county executive’s office.
Employees and women visiting the building for services won’t have to pump or breast-feed in their car or in a bathroom, Ioannidis said. Even members of the public are welcome to stop in and use the room, she said. The room was outfitted with donations from county employees and other individuals, Ioannidis said.
The county is also looking into establishing lactation stations in other county-owned buildings, and hopes other municipalities will follow their lead, County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference and ribbon cutting yesterday. “It’s the right thing to do,” Bellone said. “It’s good for us, it’s a good thing for the working mothers and the kids.”
Marissa Condit, 30, of Centereach, a caseworker in the county Office for the Aging, said she’s been pumping milk for her 5-month-old son, Tommy, in the office of her mother, Anne Marie Orlowski, who works for the county as a nutritionist for the Women, Infants, and Children program. Condit sits at a cubicle and has to express milk twice a day.
“Last time pumping in mom’s office,” Condit said before the ribbon cutting. “It encourages me to keep breast-feeding and not stop.” Condit is one of about seven women working in the building who are currently breast-feeding, said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, county communications director.