New Haven Healthy Start and Partners Celebrate Lactation Room at Union Station

New Haven Breast/Chestfeeding Task Force Raises Awareness to Support the Health of Mothers and Babies

Lactation Room
Robert Farrow, Jr. and LaKayla Farrow celebrate the new lactation room at Union Station with daughters Harmony and Heaven. Photo: New Haven Independent

Breastfeeding mothers need safe and clean places to nurse their infants or pump when they are outside the home, whether at work or on the road. Yet there are only 60 breastfeeding-friendly worksites in all of Connecticut.

The New Haven Breast/Chestfeeding Task Force is working to increase this number and educate employers on the need to provide time, spaces and policies to accommodate lactating mothers.

Natasha Ray and Justin Elicker
Natasha Ray and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker at the press conference. Photo: Liz Espinosa

Natasha Ray, Director of New Haven Health Start and co-chair of the Task Force, celebrated a recent success in this effort with the opening of a new lactation and wellness room at Union Station.

The Task Force held a press conference on Aug. 1 to kick off National Breastfeeding Month by introducing the new lactation space at the transit hub. The space provides a private and safe environment for lactating parents to breast/chestfeed or pump.

​“I found it difficult to breastfeed without privacy, which is why it is so important that we have these safe spaces to feed our children,” said LaKayla Farrow, mother of two and member of the Healthy Start program.

Lactation Room
The new lactation and wellness room at Union Station. Photo: Liz Espinosa

Located on the second floor of the train station a new lactation and wellness space designated for those seeking to breastfeed or chestfeed (a gender-inclusive alternative to ​“breastfeed”). The Lactation and Wellness space features two rocking chairs equipped with medical privacy curtains, as well as a sink and locked fridge for employees to store their breast milk.

“When mothers return back to work, it is important that they have a space that is not the bathroom where they can pump, the time to do it and a policy that supports them,” said Ray. “This is a small step that employers can take to support the health of mothers and their babies.”

This is a small step that employers can take to support the health of mothers and their babies.

Natasha Ray / New Haven Healthy Start Executive Director and Co-chair of the New Haven Breast/Chestfeeding Task Force

At the press conference, Ray was joined by New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, New Haven Parking Authority Executive Director Doug Hausladen, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro spokesperson Anthony Afriyie and members of the task force.

Press Conference
The task force and local officials celebrate the new lactation space and the kickoff to National Breastfeeding Month. Photo: Liz Espinosa

“Over four million passengers traveled through Union Station last year, many of whom are parents, so we want to make the experience as comfortable as possible for them starting with this room,” said Hausladen.