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Breastfeeding Laws by State

Although the advent of infant formula has given mothers more options, breastfeeding continues to be crucial for the health of most newborns. And, as nursing mothers will tell you, babies need to eat whenever (and wherever) they're hungry. What's more, women who pump milk throughout the day experience extreme discomfort if their pumping schedule is delayed. Fortunately, breastfeeding in public is protected through statute in nearly every state, with Idaho as the lone standout. See FindLaw's Parental Rights and Liability section for related articles.

Also, keep in mind that federal law requires employers to provide reasonable, unpaid break time for nursing mothers to express (pump) milk for up to one year following the child's birth. Employers also are required to provide nursing mothers with a private location, other than a bathroom, in which to do so.

State Breastfeeding Laws at a Glance

Below is a state-specific guide to basic breastfeeding laws, such as protections for breastfeeding in public and exemption from jury duty. Most states laws offer a statutory right to public breastfeeding and/or an exemption to indecency laws for nursing mothers.

  Laws Specifically Allowing Public / Private Breastfeeding Exemption from Indecency Laws? Exemption / Postponement of Jury Duty?
Alabama § 22-1-13: A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.

-

-
Alaska § 29.25.080: A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a woman breastfeeding a child in a public or private location where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be.

Yes

-
Arizona § 41-1443: A mother is entitled to breastfeed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present. Yes -
Arkansas § 20-27-2001: A woman may breastfeed a child in a public place or any place where other individuals are present.

Yes

-
California

Civ Code § 43.3: A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.

-

Yes
Colorado

§ 25-6-301: A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

-

-
Connecticut

§ 53-34b: No person may restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.

-

-
Delaware

Tit. 31 § 310: A mother shall be entitled to breast-feed her child in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted.

- -

District of Columbia

Gov. Code § 2-1402.81: A woman shall have the right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where she has the right to be with her child, without respect to whether the mother's breast or any part of it is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding of her child.

Yes

-
Florida

§ 383.015: A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Yes -
Georgia § 31-1-9: A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.

-

-
Hawaii § 489-21: It is a discriminatory practice to deny, or attempt to deny, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodations to a woman because she is breastfeeding a child. - -
Idaho No affirmative right to breast feed in public.

-

Yes
Illinois

§ 137/10: A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding; however, a mother considering whether to breastfeed her baby in a place of worship shall comport her behavior with the norms appropriate in that place of worship.

Yes

Yes
Indiana Section 16-35-6-1: Notwithstanding any other law, a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be.

-

-
Iowa § 135.30A: A woman may breastfeed the woman's own child in any public place where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized. - Yes
Kansas § 65-1,248: A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be. - Yes
Kentucky § 211-755: A mother may breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Yes Yes
Louisiana § 51.2247.1: It is a discriminatory practice for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, on the grounds of race, creed, color, religion, sex [including nursing mothers], age, disability, or national origin.

Yes

-
Maine Tit. 5, § 4634: A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. - -
Maryland

Health-General § 20-801: A mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be. A person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child.

-

-
Massachusetts 111 § 221: A mother may breastfeed her child in any public place or establishment or place which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public and where the mother and her child may otherwise lawfully be present. No person or entity, including a governmental entity, shall, with the intent to violate a mother's right, restrict, harass or penalize a mother who is breastfeeding her child.

Yes

-
Michigan

§ 41.181: Public nudity does not include ... a woman's breastfeeding of a baby whether or not the nipple or areola is exposed during or incidental to the feeding.

Yes

Yes
Minnesota

§ 145.905: A mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast-feeding.

Yes

-
Mississippi § 17-25-7/9: A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, without respect to whether the mother's breast or any part of it is covered during or incidental to the breast-feeding.

Yes

Yes
Missouri § 191.918: A mother may, with discretion, breastfeed her child or express breast milk in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Yes

Yes
Montana § 50-19-501: A mother has a right to breastfeed the mother's child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present, irrespective of whether or not the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breastfeeding. Yes Yes
Nebraska

LB 197: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may
breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother is
otherwise authorized to be.

- Yes
Nevada § 201.232: A mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding. Yes -
New Hampshire Section 132:10-d: Breastfeeding a child does not constitute an act of indecent exposure and to restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child is discriminatory. Yes -
New Jersey § 26:4B-4/5: A mother shall be entitled to breast feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement wherein the mother is otherwise permitted.

-

-
New Mexico § 28-20-1: A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present. - -
New York

Civil Rights Law § 79-e: A mother may breast feed 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.

Correction Law § 611: If any woman, committed to any such correctional institution at the time of such commitment is the mother of a nursing child in her care under one year of age, such child may accompany her to such institution if she is physically fit to have the care of such child.

Yes

-
North Carolina

§ 14-190.9: A woman may breastfeed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Yes

-
North Dakota § 23-12-16: If the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner, a woman may breastfeed her child in
any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be.
Yes -
Ohio § 3781.55: A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted. - -
Oklahoma Tit. 63, § 1-234: A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Yes Yes
Oregon § 109.001: A woman may breastfeed her child in a public place. - Yes
Pennsylvania

Tit. 35 § 636.1 et seq: A mother shall be permitted to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present, irrespective of whether or not the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Yes -
Rhode Island

§ 23-13.5-1: A woman may feed her child by bottle or breast in any place open to the public.

In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

  1. Afford injunctive relief against any person, entity or public accommodation that commits or proposes to commit a violation of this chapter; and
  2. Award compensatory damages and reasonable attorney's fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiff.

Yes

-
South Carolina § 63-5-40: A woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother and her child are authorized to be.

Yes

-
South Dakota § 22-24A-2: The term "nudity" ... does not include a mother's breastfeeding of her baby irrespective of whether or not the nipple is covered during or incidental to feeding.

Yes

Yes
Tennessee § 68-58-101 et seq: A mother has a right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present.

Yes

-
Texas Health and Safety Code § 165.002: A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.

-

-
Utah § 17-15-25: The county legislative body may not prohibit a woman's breast feeding in any location where she otherwise may rightfully be, irrespective of whether the breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

Yes

Yes
Vermont Tit. 9, § 4502 (j): A mother may breastfeed her child in any place of public accommodation in which the mother and child would otherwise have a legal right to be.

-

-
Virginia § 2.2-1147.1: A woman may breastfeed her child at any location where that woman would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the Commonwealth.

Yes

Yes
Washington

§ 49.60.30(g): The right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement [is recognized as and declared to be a civil right].

Yes -
West Virginia §16-1-19: A mother may breastfeed a child in any location open to the public.

-

-
Wisconsin § 253.165: A mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In such a location, no person may prohibit a mother from breastfeeding her child, direct a mother to move to a different location to breastfeed her child, direct a mother to cover her child or breast while breast-feeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding her child as provided in this section. Yes -
Wyoming § 6-4-201: The act of breastfeeding an infant child, including breastfeeding in any place where the woman may legally be, does not constitute public indecency. Yes -

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new legislation but also through court decisions and other means. Contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Consider Getting Legal Help with Your Breastfeeding Issue

Nursing mothers almost always have an affirmative right to breastfeed their child wherever they so choose, as long as it's a place they otherwise would be allowed. But there are some slight differences in state laws, both in how they're worded and enforced. If you have a legal dispute that involves breastfeeding, consider speaking with a civil rights attorney in your area.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified family law attorney to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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