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Long Island Rail Road mothers on the go get their own private nursing space

LIRR president Phillip Eng, lawmakers, advocates and moms on Thursday gathered at Penn Station to celebrate the arrival of the railroad’s first lactation pod for nursing mothers on the go. (Credit: Newsday / Alfonso Castillo)

The littlest of Long Island Rail Road riders have a new place to refuel at Penn Station.

The LIRR on Thursday unveiled its first "lactation pod" — a 50-square-foot private space for nursing mothers on the go.

The unit, designed and manufactured by Mamava Inc. of Burlington, Vermont, is at the rear of the LIRR's Penn Station waiting room, where an attendant can provide access to users around the clock.

"These nursing moms no longer have to wonder where they can find space that can accommodate their needs," LIRR president Phillip Eng said at a news conference attended by several elected officials, breastfeeding advocates and mothers. "Right here in Penn Station — one of the busiest transportation hubs in the nation — they will have a bright, new, clean, personal, and completely private space to breastfeed or pump while going about their daily travels."

The pod, which cost the LIRR $24,500, includes bench seating, shelves, mirrors and dual-outlet USB ports. Eng said the LIRR will consider installing the units at other stations in the future. 

Erika London, a member of the mothers' advocacy group Mindr, said she and her 4-month-old daughter Misha were "pumped" about the new addition to Penn Station.

"It's just incredibly, incredibly exciting to see an organization as large as the LIRR put in the time and energy, and invest in new moms," London said. "We're hoping that many other organizations will follow. It's really about time."

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