Breastfeeding Rights

New York State and Federal Breastfeeding RightsBreastfeeding! It rocks!

In New York State, women have these rights:

In the Hospital, you have the right to:

  • Breastfeed your baby right after birth.
  • Keep your baby with you in your room.
  • Receive help and information from a person trained in breastfeeding.
  • Ask that no bottles of formula or water be given to your baby.
  • Refuse a pacifier.
  • Turn down discharge bags that contain infant formula.

NYS CRR Title 10 Regulations, 405.21 Perinatal Services
New York State Public Health Law, Chapter 292, Section 2505-a

(If you have a concern, problem, or complaint about your care in the hospital, tell your doctor or the hospital staff.

You can also contact the New York State Department of Health at 1-800-804-5447 or write to
New York State Department of Health
Centralized Hospital Intake Program
433 River Street, Suite 303
Troy, New York 12180

In Public Places, you have the right to:
Breastfeed any place you have a legal right to be.
NYS Civil Rights Law, Section 79-e

In the Workplace, you have the right to:
A private place to express or pump your breast milk that is not a bathroom.
The use of your break time or meal time to express or pump.

NYS Labor Law, Section 206-c
Under U.S. Federal Law, breastfeeding women are guaranteed these rights:

Public Breastfeeding Law
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.

Workplace Pumping Law
Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision
Effective March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the FLSA to require employers to provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child. The amendment also requires that employers provide a place for an employee to express breast milk.
Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(1)An employer shall provide—
a 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; and
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 breast milk.

(2)An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.

(3)An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.

(4)Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.

Informational pamphlets outlining your breastfeeding rights are available through the WIC Program (ask at your local agency or call 1-800-522-5006), from the NYCDOHMH by calling 311 and also from the NYC ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website. If you feel your rights have been violated in some way, call 1-800-804-5447 for hospital-based complaints or the NYC ACLU at 1-212-607-3339 for information and assistance with other types of complaints.