Moms breastfeed their babies aboard subway train to stand up for their rights

Source: NY Daily News

By Reza Moreno / Jillian Jorgensen

Breastfeeding moms and their supporters took to the subways Friday to reaffirm their rights as part of the Breastfeeding Subway Caravan.

“It’s always very exciting to see the moms join us and (be) brave enough to actually have a breastfeeding experience on the subway,” said Nicole Feleciano, 30, who was taking part in her third caravan.

The event, part of Annual World Breastfeeding Week, was launched in 2004 after a woman was issued a citation for indecent exposure for breastfeeding on the subway — despite a 1994 state law guaranteeing the right to breast feed in public.

“Breastfeeding has always been very important to me ever since I had my first child at 16, and I had problems breastfeeding in the hospital and very little support,” said Lisa Maloney, Breastfeeding World’s volunteer organizer said.

The caravan honored two local pols, State Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D- Valley Stream), for their work ensuring Medicaid will cover donor breast milk for mothers unable to breastfeed or who have premature or fragile infants.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for my work. It really solidifies what I am doing and making sure we advocate for young mothers and infants and promote breastfeeding,” Solages said.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, last year’s honoree, recalled that it was not always easy for new moms — saying “they used to arrest” women for breastfeeding public.

“Breastfeeding is an important human right,” she said.

About 30 women rode the A train — many with hungry babies along for the ride — to a Breastfeeding Week fair at Restoration Plaza in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit awkward when you get the stares,” Feleciano said. “But I know it’s the best for my son when he was younger. So I just did it.”