Nursing Moms Have a Place to go at Atlantic Terminal

Eveline Chang-Fritsch and her baby in the pod
Nursing mom checks out the lactation pod

Nursing on-the-go moms at LIRR's Atlantic Terminal have another option for breastfeeding as LIRR has unveiled a lactation suite. The pod, manufactured by Mamava, is the second for the Long Island Rail Road. 

The private, enclosed area has two spacious benches, a fold-down table, an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump, and a door that can be locked for privacy. It is ADA-compatible with a 60” turnaround for moms using wheelchairs and dual grab bars. 

Nursing mothers can contact an agent at the ticket window at Atlantic Terminal daily between 6:10 a.m. and 9:50 p.m. An agent will sign the mother into the pod and key pad her in and the mother will then be able to nurse her baby or use her breast pump. If a mother also requires a changing station for her baby, an agent will help direct her to the restroom.

The lactation pod is the latest in a series of customer-friendly initiatives adopted by the LIRR within the last 18 months, and joins programs like LIRR Care, My LIRR Loyalty, LIRR Summer Saturdays, Help Points, and train finder, as innovative, thoughtful ways the LIRR aims to improve the customer experience.

"This lactation pod is 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 program at Penn Station has been so helpful for mothers who deserve to have a private, clean area to provide food for their babies,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. 

“All mothers deserve safe, accessible, private spaces to express breast milk. I have been proud to support breastfeeding mothers in New York City, sponsoring ground-breaking legislation to require lactation rooms in municipal buildings and supporting initiatives to educate people across the city about the benefits of breastfeeding. We also opened up a lactation room in Borough Hall in 2015, which is open to the public. I applaud the LIRR on their commitment to gender equality," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

"As nursing mothers navigate their re-entry into the workforce, designated lactation sites go a long way to ease their burden and provide much needed support," said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. "I am gratified that the MTA has continued working to expand access to lactation pods, most recently to Atlantic Terminal, and look forward to further expansion."

“The newest lactation pod at Atlantic Terminal will be a terrific resource for commuting mothers to care for their infants on the go. I am thankful to the MTA and the Long Island Rail Road under President Eng’s leadership for prioritizing the needs of our young mothers using our public transit systems,” said Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.

"We've seen, in studies like NYU's Pink Tax on Transportation and LA Metro's recent report, that inaccessible transit imposes health and financial costs on pregnant women and parents with young children. The LIRR's forward-thinking approach to accommodating this important segment of transit ridership will expand transit access and pay long-term dividends for the agency. It is important, especially for a commuter rail, to provide an environment that meets the breast/bottle-feeding and pumping needs of its riders. Pods at Penn Station and now Atlantic Terminal - This is the direction that transit should be moving in!” said UP-STAND Founder & CEO Christine Serdjenian Yearwood.

“We’re thrilled to support breastfeeding mamas at the LIRR Atlantic Terminal,” said Sascha Mayer, Co-founder and CEO of Mamavathe expert in lactation space design who created the pod. “We believe that all mamas deserve a comfortable place to use a breast pump or breastfeed distraction-free—anywhere, anytime. Mamava pods provide flexibility for facilities and easy access for moms.”  

The new lactation pod installation is part of a series of customer-friendly initiatives through the LIRR Forward Plan. 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., 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. 

The first lactation suite was installed in the Penn Station waiting room this past August and since that time 445 visitors have used it.