Legislative Women's Caucus, Legislative Leaders Unveil Innovative, Family Friendly Nursing and Baby Changing Facilities
Newly-Adapted Restrooms Offer Parents Creative Options With State of the Art Facilities
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Legislative Women's Caucus Chair Assemblymember Patricia Eddington held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the installation of nursing and baby changing facilities throughout the Legislative Office Building (LOB).
Inspired by a request from a constituent who needed to nurse her child during a visit to Assembly Labor Committee Chair Susan John, Silver said the facilities were intended to make it easier for the thousands of parents who work and visit the Capitol to meet their families' needs.
"Each year thousands of advocates come to the L.O.B. and to the Capitol, to meet with their legislators and to experience the legislative process. While I believe that we have done a good job of opening up the People's House to all New Yorkers -- government leaders must be ever vigilant and always sensitive to the changing needs of the citizens we serve. These nursing and baby-changing facilities will make the Legislature more user-friendly to the parents and the families who come here to participate in their government," said Silver.
"It is vitally important that the bathrooms in public buildings fit the needs of all New Yorkers. These newly redesigned facilities mark an important step along that path. I am confident these improvements will encourage more people to enter the L.O.B. and become participants in government. I'd like to thank the Legislative Women's Caucus for taking the lead on this issue and working to get these changes made," said Bruno.
"Research clearly demonstrates the tremendous health benefits gained by breast feeding babies. It is a natural process that helps build the antibodies that boost and improve the baby's immune system. Unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder for mothers to breast feed. Many women work outside the home and it can be difficult to continue the breast feeding process. Others face challenges when out in public. It can be difficult to find a safe, clean environment in which to care for a child. I am pleased that the Senate and the Assembly recognized the importance of this issue and made rooms available for women to have the opportunity to breast feed their infants. I want to thank Speaker Silver and Senator Bruno for their progressive insight into this very important project," said Eddington (D-Suffolk).
"This is a very exciting day for the families of New York State," said John (D-Rochester). "The issue of the lack of breastfeeding facilities came to my attention when a constituent came to Albany with her baby. When it was feeding time there was no place for the mother to feed her child. I offered her the use of my office, but I knew there had to be a better way for this mother to care for her child. I applaud the Speaker for his leadership on this issue, and I know that today's action by the Assembly will encourage employers across New York to do what is right for our children and families."
"Personally speaking, as a mother who nursed four infants, I can attest to the barrier that existed years ago. Finally a greater understanding of the benefits of nursing has brought the Legislature, and society generally, to create a more supportive environment. I applaud and thank our legislative leaders," said Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Westchester).
"Accommodating new mothers and their young children in this very important way is something of which we can all be proud," said Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury). "I commend Assemblywoman John for bringing this concern to the attention of the Women's Caucus and applaud our legislative leaders, Bruno and Silver, for responding so quickly. Few things could better affirm our commitment to 'family values' than providing these facilities for mothers to care for their babies."
Each floor of the LOB contains one Nursing and Baby changing facility. In addition, baby changing equipment is available in the men's restrooms on each floor. Additional amenities of the newly renovated Nursing Centers include a large, comfortable lounge chair constructed from an antimicrobial vinyl material; a footstool and a "Boppy" pillow, to provide additional support for the nursing mother.
The rooms are equipped with a wall divider for privacy, a ground fault interrupter for safety, hand sanitizers and baby wipes. In addition, refrigerators exclusively for breast milk storage will be available in the nurse's offices in the LOB and the Capitol to allow those mothers who need to express milk and those fathers who may need to store food for their children.
"I commend the Legislative Women's Caucus and their Chair, Assembly Member Patricia Eddington for their leadership in establishing this nursing and baby changing facility and ensuring that similar facilities will be available throughout the Legislative Office Building," said Silver.