Four graduate students at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service took home the gold in the third annual National Invitational Public Policy Challenge for their proposal to ensure that there are safe, sanitary, plentiful and accessible community spaces in New York City where moms can breastfeed. The four winners – Grace Boone, Ruchi Hazaray, Jose Renato Navarrete Perez, and Ran Qin – beat out teams from 11 other U.S. public policy schools with their public breastfeeding campaign. This project is a great idea considering how few mothers breastfeed in this country. According to the team’s project proposal, ‘Latch’ “Targets one of the most common reasons why more than 50% of new mothers in NYC abandon breastfeeding within eight weeks despite its innumerable benefits: they feel uncomfortable nursing in public. By increasing access to safe, sanitary places for moms to breastfeed away from home, Latch will help moms breastfeed for longer durations, providing babies with an important nutritional start and creating a healthier community.” NYU Wagner’s team won a $10,000 check on March 23. As part of the winner’s package, Latch is being featured on the Governing website.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “Latch, which is initially targeting Manhattan neighborhoods with a large number of children, has signed up eight businesses, mostly restaurants and cafes in Greenwich Village and Tribeca. By March 2015, Latch proponents seek to expand to 150 spaces, including public library branches, nail salons and laundromats.” In the same vein restaurant grades are displayed in the front window of an establishment, the Latch logo will be placed in storefront windows to alert nursing moms that they are welcome to breastfeed in public there. No word yet on how exactly breastfeeding moms can access the list of establishments that boast the Latch logo, but we hope the idea catches on in NYC and across the country. They have also set up a Twitter account: @latchnow. In the meantime, if you need breastfeeding support ideas, click here.

RELATED | Do Public Nurse-ins Raise Awareness About Breastfeeding Rights?

+ NYU Wagner Team Wins 1st Prize in National Invitational Public Policy Challenge

+ A Plan to Take the Stigma Out of Breastfeeding

Image © Latch via Bloomberg