Laws and Legislation

permission from NYSDOH


New York State (NYS) Laws


NYS Paid Family Leave 


In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy. Today, working families no longer have to choose between caring for their loved ones and risking their economic security.

Paid Family Leave provides eligible employees job-protected, paid time off to:

Bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child,

Care for a family member with a serious health condition, or

Assist loved ones when a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is deployed abroad on active military service.

Paid Family Leave also provides:

  • Job Protection
  • Continued Health Insurance

NYS Breastfeeding in Public

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 Feed. 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.


NYS Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights

This NYS law 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 any 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 Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights can be found at this link:


NYS Medicaid Reimbursement for Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM)

The July 2017 Medicaid Update advised providers that in accordance with the 2017-2018 state budget, pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) is a covered Medicaid benefit for inpatient use. New York State (NYS) Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) and Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) will begin reimbursing for PDHM, outside of the inpatient bundled payment, effective December 1, 2017 for FFS and February 15, 2018 for the MMC plans.

PDHM is covered for infants who:

  • Have a documented birth weight of less than 1500 grams (3.3 pounds); or
  • Have a congenital or acquired condition that places the infant at a high risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and/or infection.

Coverage of PDHM is for infants who meet the criteria outlined above and one or more of the following conditions:

  • Are medically or physically unable to receive maternal breast milk or participate in breast feeding; or
  • Are unable to participate in breast feeding despite optimal lactation support; or
  • Are born to mothers whose breast milk isn't suitable for consumption due to the presence of certain substances or disease; or
  • In cases where the mother is medically or physically unable to produce maternal breast milk at all or in sufficient quantities.

NYS Hospital Maternity Practices

New York State's Maternity Information Law requires each hospital to provide information about its childbirth practices and procedures. This information can help you to better understand what to expect, learn more about childbirth choices, and plan for baby's birth.

Maternity Information: Childbirth Services - The Maternity Information Leaflet is available in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Federal Laws

Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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 comprehensive lactation support and counseling from a trained provider, as well as breastfeeding equipment.

More can be found at


For other existing federal laws, see The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) website at for more details.


  • Fairness of Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019: The Act requires public buildings that contain a public restroom also provide a lactation room, other than a restroom to employees and visitors to federal facilities.
  • Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act: All large- and medium-sized airports are required to provide a clean, private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for the expression of breast milk.  A baby-changing table is required in one men's and one women's restroom in each terminal building.
  • Safe Medications for Moms and Babies Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act: This Act establishes a taskforce of federal and medical experts to advance research and information sharing on medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 
  • TRICARE Moms Improvement Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act: This Act provides coverage for breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling as preventive services for military families under TRICARE.
  • Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening (BABES) Act: The TSA is required to provide ongoing training to ensure its officers enforce TSSA Special Procedures related to breast milk, formual and infant feeding equipment across all airport security checkpoints.


Summary of State Paid Family Leave Policies


As of September 2020: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released an issue brief titled "Summary of paid family leave laws in the states."  The publication includes key information on state paid family leave legislation including funding, benefits, and qualifications.


Get Help


If you think your rights are vilolate or if you have been harassed while breastfeeding in a public establishment, contact the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). 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. 


Should you need further assistance, or if you have experienced problems with breastfeeding in any other context, phone  (212) 607-3300.


See: for information on The Reproductive Rights Project.


For information regarding breastfeeding laws in other states, see:

Contact Us

NYS Breastfeeding Coalition

PO Box 61

Delmar, NY 12054



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© NYS Breastfeeding Coalition, 2018 Update by Courtney Durfee