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LIRR opens lactation pod at Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn

The LIRR opened its second private space for nursing mothers at its Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, officials announced Monday. The enclosed area, called a lactation suite, features two benches, a fold-down table and an electrical outlet for a breast pump. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

The LIRR opened its second private space for nursing mothers at its Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, officials announced Monday.

The enclosed area, called a lactation suite, features two benches, a fold-down table and an electrical outlet for a breast pump, LIRR officials said in a statement. The space is also compliant with federal disability laws and offers dual grab bars and a large turning radius for moms using wheelchairs, officials said.

Mothers who want to access the space must contact an agent at the ticket window between 6:10 a.m. and 9:50 p.m. The agent will then open the lactation pod using a key pad, officials said. If a mother requires a changing station, an agent will point her to a restroom, officials said.

In July, the LIRR announced its first lactation pod inside its Penn Station waiting rooms.

LIRR officials said they installed the pod at Penn Station at the suggestion of state Assembs. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) and Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows).

"The newest lactation pod at Atlantic Terminal will be a terrific resource for commuting mothers to care for their infants on the go," Jean-Pierre said in the statement.

Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, founder and CEO of Up-Stand, an advocacy group for pregnant women and families, said in a release that studies show "inaccessible transit imposes health and financial costs on pregnant women and parents with young children." She said "It is important, especially for a commuter rail, to provide an environment that meets the breast/bottle-feeding and pumping needs of its riders."

LIRR president Phillip Eng called the pod  "a great addition for nursing moms who start or end their trips through Brooklyn or need to make connections to other parts of the city and Long Island.”

The lactation pods at both the Atlantic and Penn Station terminals are designed and manufactured by Mamava of Burlington, Vermont, officials said. About 445 visitors have used the lactation pod at Penn Station since it opened in August.

Such pods are already in use across the country at some airports, Amtrak stations, athletic facilities, universities and municipal facilities such as libraries, officials said.

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