Queens assemblywoman kicks off World Breastfeeding Week and urges support for bill

Photo courtesy of the office of Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas along with Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, founder of UP-STAND, hosted a July 31 “Latch-On” event at Astoria’s Columbus Triangle, where a group of mothers breastfed their babies to show support, raise awareness and normalize breastfeeding.

“As a mom who experienced this joy with my own daughter, I know firsthand how critical this nurturing time is to families. But there is much more we, as a society, need to do to promote breastfeeding and even to make this choice possible,” Simotas said.

World Breastfeeding Week is an annual event from Aug. 1 to 7, which marks the anniversary of the Innocenti Declaration, which was produced by WHO/UNICEF policymakers at the “Breastfeeding in the 1990s A Global Initiative” meeting.

Others in attendance at Tuesday’s event included Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Donovan Richards and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

The event was also an opportunity for Simotas, who was unable to attend, to urge support for her bill The Family Accommodation in Entertainment Act. If approved, the bill would require entertainment venues, such as stadiums, arenas, convention centers, theaters and gardens, to provide accommodations — if readily achievable — for parents of small children.

“This is a practical way to ease the burden on parents and babysitters who want to enjoy entertainment outside their homes,” Simotas said in a statement. “If we’re going to claim the moniker of ‘family-friendly’ let’s really help moms and dads who have to grapple with diapers, strollers, feeding and keeping babies safe just to attend an event.”

Such amenities include high chairs and booster seats, changing tables in all public restrooms, stroller parking and a private, hygienic location for nursing or pumping breast milk.

“These accommodations enable parents, caregivers and children to safely and fully participate in public life and our economy. We applaud Assembly member Simotas for recognizing the need to improve accessibility for this large portion of our society and for introducing this bill,” Yearwood said.  

According to the New York State Senate website, Simotas’ bill is currently in the Assembly Committee stage.

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