Laws and Legislation
Breastfeeding in Public (NYS)
New York State was the first state in the nation to pass a law protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. It is a civil rights law, NY CLS Civ R 79-e (Article 7 Miscellaneous Provisions).
1994 NY ALS 98; 1994 NY LAWS 98; 1994 NYSN 3999 79-e Right to Breast Fed. Not with standing any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
Breastfeeding and the Workplace (NYS)
In 2007, New York State passed a legislation that protects nursing mothers who return to the workplace. The law requires employers to provide uncompensated breaks for women to express milk or nurse their children fpr up to a peroid of three yers. This law also bars an employer from discriminating against an employee exercising this right. In addition, the new law also requires employers to make 'reasonable efforts' to provid a room or other location where the employee can express breast milk privately. Labor Law, Article 7, Section 206-c, as enacted by A.B 1060, L. 2007.
For more information regarding NYS Nursing Mothers Accommodation Law:
Workplace Protection from Federal Legislation
The Federal Labor Standards Act has been amended to require employers to provide reasonable breaktime and a place for nursing mothers to express milk.
The break time requirement is found in section 4207 of the Patient Protection and affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148. The provision requires employers to provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk." Employers are slao required to provide 'a place other than a bathroom that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breat milk.' The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. The Department of Labor has issued FAQs and Wage and Labor Fact Sheet #73 to help employers comply with the new law. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.pdf.
More information can be found at http://dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers
Affordable Care Act Expands Access to Preventive Services for Women
As of August 1, 2011, The Department of Health and Human Services adopted additonal Guidelines for Women's Preventive Services including support for breastfeeding equipment.
Breastfeeding Support, Supplies, and Counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women have access to comprehansive lactation support and counseling from trained provider, as well as breastfeeding equipment. More can be found at www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/
Breastfeeding Bill of Right (NYS)
NYS has a Breastfeeding Bill of Rights that provides women with greater access to breasfeeding information and support. The law supports new mothers by providing them information about beastfeeding before they give birth and after and free of commercial interest.
- Before You Deliver: The right to information free from commercial interests, good information on the nutritional, medical and psychological benefits of beastfeeding; an explanation of some of the problems a mother may encounter, and how to avoid or solve them.
- In the Maternal Healthcare Facility: The mother’s right for her baby to stay with her after delivery to facilitate beginning breastfeeding immediately; to insist the baby not receive bottle feeding; to be informed about and refuse any drugs that may dry up breast milk; 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at nay time.
- When You Leave the Maternal Healthcare Facility: The right to refuse any gifts or take-home packets from the care facility that contain formula advertising or product samples; access to breastfeeding resources in one’s community.
The Mother’s Breastfeeding Bill of Rights are found on this link:
If you think your rights are vilolated contact the New York Civil Liberties Union, if you have been harassed while breastfeeding in a public establishment. You are encouraged to contact the owner or manager of the business to notify them of your legal rights and to demand an apology and other measures to rectify the situation. In order to aid you, the NYCLU has developed a model letter which you can edit for your own needs.
Should you need further assistance, or if you have experienced problems with breastfeeding in any other context, contact the project at (dd212) 697-3339.
For information regarding other states: