Fresno City Hall opens new "Mother's Room" for breastfeeding mothers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New changes are on the horizon for nursing mothers. Here in Fresno, a new facility has opened.

Thursday morning, the tape came off the newly created Mother's Room at Fresno City Hall. "Women in our community that visit city hall, and our employees, that they have a space where they can breastfeed their child or that they can pump," said Esmeralda Soria, Fresno City Council member.

Council member Soria stood alongside local leaders and First 5 of Fresno County employees, as they unveiled the room to the public. Local mom Kristina Hernandez and her baby Malcolm got a chance to experience the room first hand. "It's hard sometimes, going back to my car to breastfeed, so this really opens up the opportunity for me to participate and be more involved with what's going on at city hall."

City hall is the latest organization utilizing First 5 grant dollars. In October, Gongs Market in Sanger became the first grocery store in Fresno County to open a breastfeeding room through the breast-feeding-friendly initiative. First 5 executive director Emilia Reyes said it's a trend that's catching on. "We're learning that breastfeeding, and being child-friendly, and supporting our mothers is the best thing for your employees and gives the best outcome for the employer."

She showed Action News inside the breastfeeding and changing room at First 5, which is open to the public.

Also, new this year, under assembly bill 302, schools must provide teenage moms a place to breastfeed or pump. They will also be given adequate time to do so without being penalized in class. A move breastfeeding advocates support. "We know that breastfeeding minimizes postpartum depression, it allows more attachment with the child. We know it's the best thing for the child to give them the healthiest start," said Reyes.

Organizations can apply to First 5 to earn grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to improve their nursing rooms.

Besides a new mother's room at city hall, leaders said they'll also be adding changing tables to men's and women's restrooms throughout the building, making it a more family friendly environment for everyone.
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