We see these stories often. The ones where someone somewhere told a breastfeeding mom to cover up, that she couldn’t do “that!” in public, that she needed to go somewhere private (like the bathroom – really??). Breastfeeding is such a natural act that you might not realize that there are laws in place to protect breastfeeding moms and babies. You are protected! These laws range in protecting where you can breastfeeding to when and where you can pump. Let’s take a closer look:
Breastfeeding in public:
Breastfeeding laws are determined individually by the state. All states, with the exception of Idaho, have laws in place that protect women who breastfeed in public. Each state has slightly different specifics regarding this topic so let’s take a closer look at Pennsylvania’s laws (if you want to learn more about other states, check them out here: Breastfeeding Laws by state ). In Pennsylvania, a breastfeeding mom has the “permission” to breastfeed in public in any spot the mother and child are legally allowed to be. Public breastfeeding is not subject to criminal laws in Pennsylvania – it is not to be considered indecent exposure, open lewdness, or a nuisance, regardless of whether the nipple is exposed.
Looking at breastfeeding and pumping in the workplace:
Any employer that employs more than 50 people is required to provide “reasonable” breaktime for a breastfeeding/pumping mother for 1 year after birth. The break must include a place to pump that is “free from intrusion” and is NOT a bathroom. The “reasonable” breaktime might not necessarily be compensated; that can vary.
There are many resources on this topic: