Rights to Breast/chestfeed or Express Milk

New York State (NYS) has laws to protect and support breast/chestfeeding. While DOH remains committed to gender inclusive language, some of the affiliated links may contain gendered language.

Learn more about existing federal and state laws in NYS.

Rights to Breast/chestfeed in Any Public or Private Location

NYS Civil Rights law provides a parent the right to breast/chestfeed their baby in any location, public or private, where the parent is otherwise allowed to be, whether or not the nipple of the breast/chest is covered during breast/chestfeeding.

How to file a civil rights complaint through the Office of the Attorney General:

  • Attorney General New York complaint number: 1-800-771-7755
  • Submit a complaint using their Online Form

Rights of Lactating Employees Returning to Work

NYS Breast Milk Expression in the Workplace law provides parents the right to nurse or pump at their workplace up to three years following the birth of their baby. Beginning June 19, 2024, Labor Law Section 206-c provides all employees with the right to paid break time to express breast milk in the workplace regardless of the size of their employer or the industry they work in.

Learn about Paid Family Leave and Other Benefits

Rights of Pregnant and Postpartum People in Hospitals and Clinics

The Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights requires health care providers and hospitals providing maternity care services to inform expectant and new parents of their rights in support of breast/chestfeeding.

Maternity Information: Childbirth Services: NYS Public Health Law requires each hospital to provide information about its childbirth practices and procedures. This information can help you better understand what to expect, learn more about childbirth choices, and plan for baby's birth.

Complaints about NY Hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers: To make a complaint, call the toll-free number at 1-800-804-5447, or print and complete the Health Facility Complaint Form.

Additional Protections

N.Y. Correction Law § 611 (2009) allows:

  • A parent who is nursing a child when committed to a correctional facility to be accompanied by the child
  • A parent who has a child born when they are committed to have the child with them in the correctional facility up to one year.

N.Y. Judiciary Law § 517 (2019) provides an exemption from jury duty for breastfeeding people.