New addition for lactating moms
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces new lactation station at courthouse in Islip Town

SCN/Perrota

New addition for lactating moms

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
8/9/2018


SUFFOLK COUNTY—On Friday, Aug. 3, officials announced the county’s commitment to install a state-of-the-art ADA compliant mobile lactation station pod that will be located in the Suffolk County Family Court building in Central Islip. 

Last year, Suffolk County installed the first two municipal lactation stations in the county. One is at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge, while the other is at the Riverhead Court Complex. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during a press conference last week that nursing mothers need a place that provides privacy and dignity to breastfeed their children. The family courthouse is important, Bellone added, because of the amount of mothers that pass through with small children.  

The station’s installation, which costs between $16,000-19,000, came during World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration that is held the first week in August. 

WBW, organized by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life due to the numerous health benefits for both the baby and mother. The campaign, which began in 1991, is currently recognized in more than 120 countries. 

Bellone also highlighted more than a dozen Global Big Latch On events taking place throughout the county, the highest concentration of events in New York State, according to the administration. 

Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where participants gather to breastfeed and offer support to one another. 

The mobile breastfeeding station’s installation also comes a few weeks after reports that the Trump administration attempted to alter language in an international resolution promoting breastfeeding. Critics have pointed out these proposed changes parallel talking points made by baby formula manufacturers.

Earlier this spring, United States delegates at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva sought to remove text that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding,” along with another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have harmful effects on young children. 

When attempts to amend the text didn’t work, U.S. officials suggested they would implement punishing trade measures and withdraw military aid from Ecuador, which planned to introduce the measure. The South American nation complied, according to reports. Numerous other countries, particularly poor African and Latin American countries, also withdrew their support from the resolution, reportedly due to fears of retaliation. 

However, attempts by the United States to water down the resolution ultimately failed after Russian officials reintroduced it using a modified text. Numerous baby formula manufacturers, including Nestle, and a coalition of dairy interest groups have since voiced their frustrations with the resolution. 

When asked if the move was in response to the Trump administration’s recent attempts, deputy chief clerk of Suffolk County Family Court Dawn Meletta said the courthouse’s latest installation is simply part of an “ongoing push throughout the country” for similar stations. She cited installations at airports and a 2016 law signed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that requires city agencies to make lactation rooms available to the public as part of the push. 

It was also recently reported that several Amtrak train stations would be installing nursing rooms due to online petitions.