Raising kids in New York City isn't for the faint of heart. City parents have plenty of worries to contend with that our suburban counterparts don't, from car seats in cabs to finding the right stroller for your lifestyle, and how, exactly, to navigate the subway with a baby in tow.
But one thing city mamas shouldn't have to worry about is where to feed their babies, specifically where to breastfeed or pump when you're on the go. While state law protects a mother's right to breastfeed in public, saying "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be," not all mothers are particularly comfortable baring it all, and certainly pumping isn't easy on a city bench. When mama's not comfortable, neither is baby.
To help ease the stress of breastfeeding or pumping on-the-go, we've rounded up some private or semi-private spots for you to feed your wee one while you're out-and-about checking things off our NYC baby bucket list.
Besides the places on this list, don't be afraid to just ask for a private spot, too. One of our editors found a nursing room at Neergaard Pharmacy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, while she waited on line for a prescription with a squalling newborn. Dressing rooms, or retailers in general, are another favorite nursing find. Many department stores, including Bloomingdale's and Saks, have comfy lounges outside of the restrooms to nurse. Maternity stores are always a sure bet. A commuting friend popped into a hotel restroom to pump, and another ducked into a West Elm store bathroom to pump between meetings. A bathroom isn't our favorite spot, of course, but sometimes you just need a locked door, an electrical outlet, and a sink to tidy up!
Don’t forget to peruse our Baby and Pregnancy Guide for more NYC resources.
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Look for these plush Mamava Pods at various locations throughout NYC.
Mamava Pods – Various locations
You may have seen these space-age looking pods dotted about town. Though they come in various sizes, the original Mamava is the most common and has a comfortable seat, a folding table where mom can set up a breast pump, as well as an outlet to power up. There's room for mom, baby, a stroller, and even a big sibling or dad to sit while you feed your baby. Mamava Pods are common in airports, including at JFK, but there are also locations at area hospitals, museums, the Bronx Zoo, and even Citi Field. For ease in locating, download the FREE app. It uses your phone's location services to pinpoint not only Mamava pods nearby, but also user-submitted breastfeeding-friendly spots, too.
Government Agencies – Various locations
Back in 2016, we told you about the DeBlasio administration's strides to make NYC more nursing-mom friendly and the city has put out a PDF listing many lactation rooms in city buildings belonging to the Human Resources Administration, Administration for Children's Services, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. You can also find a lactation room or pod at the Bronx Zoo, Queens Hospital, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and Brooklyn Borough Hall.
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This mom- and baby-friendly store will make you feel right at home. Photo courtesy of the store
Yummy Mummy – Upper East Side
An emporium for all things postpartum, Yummy Mummy carries a wide selection of breast- and bottle-feeding supplies, as well as apparel for breastfeeding moms. You'll find on-site classes for pre- and post-natal women and a comfy couch in the back, away from the hustle and bustle, where you can sink in and offer your baby some snuggles and a meal. They also have water for you to re-hydrate and a clean bathroom available.
Buy Buy Baby – Manhattan and Brooklyn
Buy Buy Baby stocks all your newborn essentials, as well as mothers' rooms with comfortable seating and changing tables for all your feeding and baby-care needs.
Ikea – Red Hook, Brooklyn
This home-furnishing store has a pair of baby-care rooms; one near the entrance and one near the restaurant. Each is stocked with a comfy chair and changing table. If you prefer to offer baby a bottle, the restaurant will even warm it for you. Family-friendly amenities abound at the Swedish retailer; as your kids grow, drop them off at the on-site Småland Play Area so they can play while you shop.
Javits Center – Midtown West
Nursing moms are welcome to stop by the Javits Center, even if they aren't checking out the latest exhibition. There is a First Aid Station on Level 1 where moms can feed their little ones.
Queens Center Mall – Elmhurst, Queens
We love the fact that this mall offers special nursing rooms with rocking chairs in all of their family bathrooms.
Books of Wonder – Chelsea
While this spot doesn't offer a private room, it is usually filled with nursing mamas on benches throughout the store. Bonus: You'll never run out of reading material.
Another helpful resource is the website and app Moms Pump Here, which allows you to search crowd-sourced nursing- and pump-friendly locations throughout the five boroughs and beyond. A word to the wise: some listings are dated, so call before you venture out, nursing kid in tow.
A version of this article was published in 2018; it has been updated. Katie Nave Freeman contributed additional reporting.