Dunne and King Sweeney Call for Change in Town Code to Eliminate "Breastfeeding in Designated Areas Only" in Pool Regulations

Published On: 2018-07-30 16:57:53

Issued by: Council Member Dennis Dunne and Council Member Erin King Sweeney

Councilman Dennis Dunne and Councilwoman Erin King were deeply concerned when it was brought to their attention that a Hempstead Town Code still stated that breastfeeding was only allowed in designated areas. They have asked that the Town Code be revised to eliminate that subsection of the code. A public hearing on the matter will be called on August 7th and the hearing is anticipated to be held on September 4, 2018.

“I was not happy to hear that this antiquated code is still on our books in the Town of Hempstead,” said Dunne. “As soon as I found out about this I contacted our Parks Department and immediate steps were taken to remove that section from the Pool Rules that are given to patrons. While that was an important first step, I also feel it is extremely important that we codify this change by updating our Town Code.”

“As a mother who breastfed my two children, I cannot stress enough how important it is to me that we change our code to reflect a woman’s right to feed her child in public,” said King Sweeney. “Breastfeeding is one of the most natural functions of a woman and to imply in any way that it is shameful or should be hidden goes against my belief system.” 

Historically, many businesses, governments, schools, etc., felt that having a designated breast-feeding area was appropriate but oftentimes those areas were inside a restroom which was not the best accommodation for a nursing mother.

“I had a career in the medical profession as a registered dietician for decades and I nursed both my daughters, so I know the benefits of a mother breastfeeding and believe that women should be able to choose if, when and where they want to breastfeed their child,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby. “Updating this code is very important so we ensure that there is no question as to where our board stands on this issue.”

This summer, a Levittown resident contacted Councilman Dunne’s office after receiving a copy of the antiquated rules with their pool pass. The Councilman had the Parks Department immediately edit the rules that are distributed in the Levittown Joint District Pools where the issue was discovered. The board has also directed the Parks Department to ensure that no other pools are distributing rules that include a stipulation where mothers can nurse. Removing the wording in Town Code that stipulates that mothers must only breastfeed in designated areas removes any confusion on this subject that may exist or occur in the future.

“I think this change in the code is vitally important for our Township,” concluded Councilman Dunne. “It certainly does not preclude a mother who wants some privacy from finding a quiet area to nurse but it ensures that a mother who is breastfeeding one child while watching her older child in the pool is able to do so.”