Breastfeeding Promotion Program

Breastfeeding helps both mothers and babies stay healthy. It is so good that the U.S. Surgeon General recommends that babies be fed only breast milk for the first six months of their lives, and continued breast milk for at least the next 6 months.

Why is Breastfeeding So Good?

Human breast milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein that a baby needs and it is much easier for a baby to digest breast milk than infant formula. Breast milk helps protect a baby from infections such as colds. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of allergies, obesity and illnesses such as ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory infections, and helps strengthen the bond between mother and baby.

Breastfeeding also saves money for everyone. Breastfeeding reduces or eliminates the cost of formula for families. Because breastfed babies and their mothers tend to be healthier, families, businesses and health insurers also save money.

For Mothers and Families

Hospital Breastfeeding Rates

Hospitals play an important role in supporting a mother's choice to breastfeed. Since 2009, hospitals publically report their infant feeding information, including feeding infants any breast milk, only breast milk, or formula. Click on the links below to see infant feeding information at hospitals in your areas.

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 you can expect, learn more about your childbirth choices, and plan for your baby's birth.

Breastfeeding Friendly Provider Practices

Physicians and health care providers play an integral role in promoting and supporting a woman's decision to breastfeed. This promotion and support begins during preconception care and continues through prenatal, postpartum and ongoing care of the woman, the infant, and her family. Pediatric, family medicine, and obstetric practices in NYS have the opportunity to pursue the Breastfeeding Friendly Practice designation through the NYSDOH. Designated practices are required to implement the New York State Ten Steps to a Breastfeeding Friendly Practice and create a written policy to define their work. Designated practices are required to create a breastfeeding friendly office, encourage breastfeeding, and support mothers while they breastfeed. Click on the link below to find Breastfeeding Friendly Practices in your area.

Where can I find breastfeeding friendly practices?

Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights

Choosing the way to feed a new baby is one of the important decisions a mother can make in preparing for her infant's arrival. Doctors agree that for most women, breastfeeding is the safest and most healthy choice. The Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights is intended to inform new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and have health care providers and maternal health care facilities encourage and support breastfeeding.

Educational Information about how to Breastfeed Your Baby

WIC Breastfeeding Promotion

The WIC Program in the Division of Nutrition promotes and supports breastfeeding among its clients, through the work of lactation consultants and peer counselors in its centers.

Breastfeeding Media Campaign TV PSAs

These videos describe the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and infants

Medicaid Breastfeeding Promotion and Resources

Mothers Rights to Breastfeed in Public

Mothers have the right to breastfeed their child in any public or private location. (SB 3999)

  • N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 79-e
    § 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of
    law, 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.

Breastfeeding Information for Mothers Returning to Work

The Making It Work Toolkit is an online resource for breastfeeding mothers returning to work or school. The toolkit is designed to provide assistance to breastfeeding mothers as well as tools and information for businesses and families. The online toolkit can be printed, viewed on the website, shared with others, and downloaded onto your mobile device for easy access.

Choosing a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Center

The New York State Department of Health encourages new mothers to breastfeed their infants. The Department's Child and Adult Care Food Program encourages child care centers and family day care homes to support breastfeeding families and recognizes these providers with Breastfeeding Friendly certificates. Child care center/day care home staff complete an assessment that shows they support breastfeeding families.

Additional Breastfeeding Information for Mothers and Families

For Employers

How can you support your breastfeeding employees in the workplace?

For Hospitals and Health Care Providers


Hospital Infant Feeding Rates

Improving Hospital Breastfeeding Policies and Practices

Health Care Providers

New York State Breastfeeding Friendly Practice Designation

Additional Breastfeeding Information