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Know your rights Breastfeeding

Know your rights

Throughout most of the United States, a mother has the right to breastfeed anywhere she and her child are allowed to be.

When it comes to breastfeeding, know that the law is on your side. Throughout the U.S., there is legislation to protect nursing moms—whether it’s guaranteeing them time to pump or making sure they’re able to feed baby wherever they need. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) reports that 49 states (all except Idaho), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws “that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.”
  • Missouri and North Dakota mention discretion in their breastfeeding laws, though they don’t define what discreet breastfeeding behavior means.
  • If you work outside the home, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to offer mothers a reasonable amount of time (though it doesn’t have to be paid) to express milk for up to one year after birth. They also must provide a place other than a bathroom for you to express milk. One important caveat is companies with fewer than 50 employees may be excused from providing these breaks.
  • Seventeen states and Puerto Rico may exempt breastfeeding moms from jury duty, or let them postpone it.

Find out more details about laws in your state at ncsl.org.

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