SCHENECTADY — Nursing mothers now have a place of their own at Proctors and the Palace Theatre.
The two performing arts centers on Monday announced the addition of lactation lounges — private spaces to pump breast milk or nurse babies — in conjunction with St. Peter’s Health Partners, which sponsored their creation.
The Palace Theatre Lactation Lounge is located near the women’s room on the mezzanine level of the downtown Albany theater.
The Proctors Lactation Lounge is located in a former vanity area in the 1926 Ladies Lounge, a sitting room on the downtown Schenectady theater’s second-floor mezzanine.
Proctors CEO Philip Morris said it’s a small, comfortable place for two people. They found an old door and a skilled carpenter to install it in such a way that it looks like it’s been there for decades. With a little furniture and electric wiring, it’s all set.
Nursing babies generally aren’t in the audience for a live show, but Morris said the room will still have plenty of potential users.
“Not all of my patrons are for a performance,” he said. Women who work at Proctors or are attending a conference there are more likely to have babies in tow than women going to shows. But even mothers who don’t bring their babies to Proctors may want to maintain their schedule of pumping breast milk for their babies, he said.
The new lounge gives them a place to do this.
SPHP sponsored the lounges as investments in community health, said Katherine Derosa, vice president of mission services and spiritual care. “By encouraging and supporting breastfeeding mothers, this program will make a positive impact on the long-term health of our community.”
Babies who are breastfed are shown to be at lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, diabetes and obesity, SPHP said.