In New York State, legally, you can nurse in public anywhere you want, but knowing you’re protected under the law doesn't always make it easy. The great thing about breastfeeding is that you don't need much, but a comfy chair, a quiet spot, maybe even a little privacy certainly make nursing on the go a little more pleasant.
Finding a good place to breastfeed your baby in New York City can be a challenge. We asked moms from all over the city for their secret nursing spots and got the goods on where to go and tips on which places have extra benefits, like some toys on hand for older children to play with while they wait.
[A big shout out of thanks to all the API moms in my group who helped contribute!
Where to breastfeed your baby in NYC:
Most mama’s know that Stores That Specialize In Nursing Clothes Or Breastfeeding Supplies
(as opposed to maternity clothes or straightforward baby-&-kid gear stores
) will be happy to accommodate a nursing mama either in a fitting room or with seating in the store when available. Click the link above for those locations. Below is a list of less obvious places
that are nursing-friendly for when we’re out and about and have no plans to head to our favorite mama-friendly specialty store.
Lord & Taylor
offers comfy couches
in the lounge area next to their Ladies’ Rooms
baby clothing department usually has at least once comfy rocking chair
set up with cushions and suitable for nursing (even if it is for sale)
Babies R Us
in Union Square and Buy Buy Baby
in Chelsea both have convenient “Mother’s Rooms” for nursing. Caveat:
some in the know say these rooms are frequently filthy but upon request employees will gladly (and apologetically) clean for you. Buy Buy Baby also has display gliders
that some moms find handy.
(various). Many moms like to nurse in the cheerful, enclosed play areas
that most Ikeas have in their cafeterias because it’s somewhere where your other child can play while you nurse. A few moms gave thumbs up to the “big” family bathrooms with either a separate side room or separate area
for changing babies, some with an arm chair or bench suitable for nursing and at least one (Red Hook, Brooklyn) with a kiddie table and chairs inside.
Caveat: This past year there were a couple unfortunate incidents at the Red Hook, Brooklyn location where uninformed employees asked nursing moms to move to the bathroom. Many moms have nursed there without incident (moi, included) so we are hopeful that store management has fully rectified the situation. (This Swedish company is indeed pro-nursing even though the Brooklyn team clearly messed up.)
closed it's Upper West Side location, but patrons might head to its Tribeca spot to see if the same “nursing room”
is available there.
Pottery Barn Kids
at 69th And 2nd
carries rockers and gliders on display that do double duty at nursing time. Moreover, Laura Alber, President of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., which owns Pottery Barn
, West Elm
and all Williams Sonoma stores including sofa-equipped Williams Sonoma Home
(local branch in Time-Warner Center) nursed all three of her children until age two and officially welcomes breastfeeding mothers to nurse in ALL of her stores anywhere in the country
. With the exception of the seat-less Williams-Sonoma gourmet cooking chain, all other W.S. businesses have comfy arm chairs or couches
. There are 3 Pottery Barn stores in NYC and 3 West Elms (one in Dumbo) plus the above two specialty shops (Pottery Barn Kids and WIlliams Sonoma Home).
You’ll be all set in green-savvy Patagonia
(Upper West Side
/ Columbus and 81st St) where there's a “super comfy” leather armchair
in the corner, near a window, and (get this), right next to a Lego table so while one child nurses the other one can build a townhouse!
Street in the upstairs men’s department
where there’s no lack for cozy couches (or trendy teenage boys, I hear!)
(craft supply) on Columbus Square (Upper West Side) has a bench in the framing section
(in the front). Not perfect but good to know cuz if you don’t find it ya gotta hunker down in the pom pom aisle.
(If your little one will wait, head two doors down to the Whole Foods’
dining area for a real chair.)
The comfy couches in the upstairs eating area at Whole Foods
branch received raves. Add that to the rotating sushi bar (kid magnet whether they order or not!) and you’re gold. Though not quite as cushy, dining areas at the Columbus Square
(Upper West Side) location and the Greenwich Street
(Tribeca) location also got nods from nursing moms in the know.
This mall offers special “nursing rooms” with rocking chairs in each and all of their “Family Restroom” areas (plus child-sized potties in the actual restrooms). Their enclosed food court (affording some privacy for those who wish it) has benches for grownups who can nurse facing the children’s play area.
Bookstores and Libraries
Outside of special “toddler time” or kids activity events, most libraries require silence, but thankfully there are a few very kid-friendly areas in some of our local library branches that are far more flexible when it comes to noisy nursers and their slightly silly siblings.
At the top is Hudson Park Library
on Leroy St. has toys, blocks, puzzles, an outside playground and even a place to eat snacks! Feel free to do your thing, no nursing worries here. Others that are reputedly less uptight about the sounds of small fry include children’s areas at Brooklyn’s Pacific Library
Ave.) and Kensington Library
(on Ditmas Ave)as well as Manhattan’s nursing-group host locale, Ottendorfer
, the relatively new Mulberry Street
location, and the tried and true Jefferson Market
Books of Wonder
street is a wonderful place to nurse, too. Mid-morning you’ll find company among breastfeeding mommas aplenty on benches throughout the store. Other children-in-tow will have no trouble pouring over books. Bonus points for the sturdy wooden changing table by the ladies room
Barnes & Noble Stores:
Some branches like Union Square and Tribeca
(Warren St) have play stages
on site. Moms can sit on the steps to nurse (not incredibly comfy but doable) while keeping an eye on their other kids who can enjoy the play area (and toys—even riding toys in some stores!) as well as the children’s books.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
in Soho has many cushy reading chairs ideal for nursing, plus it’s near the Mulberry Street Public Library
(see above) if you’re feeling even more bookish.
nursing mom knows about Starbucks
whether it’s their cuppa joe or not. For many, it’s about the couches
(SO much easier to nurse on a couch) and the fact that they have outposts everywhere (convenience). I personally have a heart-warming Starbucks nursing story involving a super-helpful employee at the Starbucks on 7th
who insisted on carrying my decaf to the table and then went back twice for cream and then napkins, so I gotta give credit where it’s due, but here are some great locally-owned cafe's that area also good nursing havens:
Roebling Tea Room
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn gets points for having convenient sofa seating in the back
in addition to getting props overall for being a nice place to hang out..
Unfortunately, Tea Lounge closed in December 2014.
Fans of Tea Lounge
on Union St. in Park Slope, Brooklyn say it has lots of couches
, is very kid friendly, and hosts MANY nursing “mommy groups” so you’ll be right at home in lactating land. (If this were the Guide Michelin
for nursing they’d win the much-coveted 4 stars.)
Unfortunately, Perch Cafe has closed.
Uber child-friendly Perch Café
in Park Slope (Brooklyn) has some sweet little love seats in the back
that are perfect for nursing except “when the area is jam packed for one of their sing-a-longs!” Accompanying kinder who are not “eating at moms” might also enjoy snacks like a Nutella and Banana sandwich off the children’s menu.
Word has it that at the Ciao for Now Cafe
in the East Village the owner sometimes nurses while serving
customers (you go girl!). Described as “super kid-friendly,” they have a children’s menu and other toothsome offerings. This tip was for the 12th
Street location but they do have two other downtown locations under same ownership.
Unfortunately, Bonobos Real Food has closed. Bonobos Real Food Restaurant
, right across from Madison Square Park, has long been on our favorites list of yummy and super-healthy places to have a snack but I just learned that the owner is very pro-nursing and will even let patrons nurse in the quieter back room
if the front dining area is too noisy or distracting.
At the New Museum of Contemporary Art make a nursing pit-stop and possibly nab a kid-friendly cupcake or some “cheesy puffs” (healthier fare too), in the museum’s New Food café on the first floor. No admission required. The cute hard backed chairs will do in a pinch.
More great places to nurse
Unfortunately, Real Birth has closed. Real Birth
(Hells Kitchen location) has a big round couch
in the middle of their store / space. Everyone breastfeeds there before classes. You’re welcome to stop by if you’re in the area and in need of a warm and comfy place to nurse
and Amsterdam) has a nice lounge in the lobby
with cushioned seating (you can enter with ID, no membership or fees needed to do so). On Saturdays (through mid-March) they have free kids programs including performances right in the lobby—so one child can be entertained while the other one eats!
Don’t forget Churches and other Places of Worship from Synagogues to Buddhist Temples. Our city is filled with some incredibly beautiful religious spaces, many of which are open during the day and welcome “walk ins.” Some even offer free classical music (good for setting the mood for wee nurslings). If you’re looking for a serene atmosphere look no further, whether you’ve come to worship or just to find a quiet place to nourish your little one.
Public atriums and outdoor public spaces
all over the city offer a place to sit in a generally pleasant environment. Check out our list of the best indoor public gardens in NYC
, perfect nursing spots. My own favorite public space is the pleasant Paley Park
across the street and catty corner to MoMA as it has a fountain (soothing sounds), deep Bertoia chairs (just like in the MoMA sculpture garden—plus you can pull one up for your feet if it helps), and little tables so your other kids can snack (vendor carts line the block) or explore the fountain within your field of view.
Sports fans might be pleased to hear that the staff at Yankee Stadium
bent over backwards to help out one nursing mom who wanted privacy away from the boisterous bleachers. They unlocked a private (bigger, nicer, not gross) bathroom for her and carried in a chair. (A home run!) If they did it for her you too can probably request the same.
Do you know of a great place to nurse? Share it in the comments.