Sunday, May 1, 2011

Know your rights! Breastfeeding and the Law.

So you want to know...

Is it legal to breastfeed in public?
Currently it is legal to breastfeed in public in 44 states. Breastfeeding is allowed in any public or private place as long as the mother and her child have a right to be there. There is an exception for private residences. Someone can tell you not to breastfeed in their home.2
  • Tennessee law protects breastfeeding in public only of a child 1 year old or younger.1

  • Virginia law states a right to breastfeed on state-owned property only. 1
Do I have to cover my breasts while breastfeeding in public?
You don't have to cover, but most people choose to.

How is breastfeeding in public different from indecent exposure?
Indecent exposure has a different purpose. Breastfeeding is not about exposing yourself; it's about feeding your baby.

Does my boss have to allow me to breastfeed at work?
Employers are required to provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk" for 1 year.3 Breastfeeding at work, however
depends mostly on whether your employer allows children at work.

Where can I breastfeed in public?
Anywhere the mother and child are allowed to be. We suggest calling restaurants a head of time to request a booth or quiet area. See how accommodating the place is willing to be before you go. For Moms new to breastfeeding we suggest looking for "family areas" in malls and certain stores until you feel more confident breastfeeding in public. Most Nordstroms have a dedicated nursing lounge in the women's restroom away from the changing tables, often called the Mother's Room.

What locations should I avoid while breastfeeding in public?
It's best to find a place where you feel comfortable breastfeeding and avoid smoky places. Also avoid breastfeeding in a moving car. Both Mom and baby need to be strapped in properly while a car is moving.

Can I breastfeed on an airplane?
Yes, and babies need to nurse during take off and landing. It helps equalize pressure in their ears to reduce ear-aches.

Do I have to go to a room designated for nursing?
No, breastfeeding mothers can feed their little ones anywhere that the mother and child can legally be.

Watch Our: "Public Breastfeeding And The Law" video with Corky and Wendy for more information and to hear their personal experiences and stories.

1Jake Aryeh Marcus. "Breastfeeding in Public: Are You Protected - Map of state laws governing public breastfeeding." Mothering. 16 March 2010. Web. 25 April 2010.

2Jake Aryeh Marcus. "Lactation and the Law" Mothering. July/August 2007. Web. 25 April 2010.

3US Department Labor Wage and Hour Division "Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA" Us Department of Labor. revised December 2010. Web. 25 April 2011.

National Conference of State Legislatures "Breastfeeding Laws" Sept 2010. Web. 25 April 2011


Wendy said...

I always wondered about this! Great article!

Canada said...

I have a little stack of breastfeeding books that I started accumulating when I was pregnant with my now-4-month-old, and this book is by far the most helpful one among them. It has different information than a lot of the other books out there and is very encouraging and empowering.