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Public Breastfeeding 'Pods' Now Open to Moms Across 5 Boroughs

 Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, left, welcomes new mom Chana Dawkins-Mason, right, and her one-month-old-baby Brielle into the city's new public lactation pod installed at the Brooklyn Children's Museum on Wednesday.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, left, welcomes new mom Chana Dawkins-Mason, right, and her one-month-old-baby Brielle into the city's new public lactation pod installed at the Brooklyn Children's Museum on Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — Welcome to the mom pods.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, city officials unveiled five “lactation pods” installed in five public buildings on Wednesday, offering new mothers a comfortable place to nurse in every borough.

The four-by-eight foot stations include a bench for sitting, a changing table, electrical outlet for breast pumps and a locked door for privacy.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett revealed one the five pods, located just inside the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, and used for the first time by new mom Chana Dawkins-Mason and her 1-month-old baby girl, Brielle.

“It was comfortable. It was cozy,” Dawkins-Mason said outside the pod on Wednesday. “There were also images of breastfeeding mothers, which was encouraging. If you feel a little nervous you look around and the idea’s reinforced: Breastfeed the baby, it’s OK.”

The city placed the five new pods — which cost approximately $20,000 each, Bassett said — in neighborhoods where rates of breastfeeding are lowest to encourage and make it easier for mothers to have a place to nurse. In addition to the Crown Heights location, pods are also open to the public as of Wednesday at the Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, Harlem Hospital Center, the Bronx Zoo and the Staten Island Children’s Museum.

The installations are part of a citywide effort to promote breastfeeding, including the creation of 30 lactation rooms in public buildings and the signing of legislation last year that requires certain social service-oriented centers to have space for breastfeeding.

“This is World Breastfeeding Week and it’s a chance for all of us to remember how important breastfeeding is to babies. There is no more complete or natural form of nutrition for babies — and how good it is for moms,” said Bassett before the lactation pod’s ribbon-cutting.

The pods are open to any new mother, even if they are not attending the museum, zoo or hospital where they are located; at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, staff said mothers need only to ask the front desk for the lock code for the pod, and walk right in.

And for those who don’t live close to one of the pods or a public lactation room, Bassett and other Department of Health officials reminded New Yorkers that, by law, women have the right to breastfeed in public.

To find a lactation pod or public breastfeeding room, visit the DOH’s website.