Breastfeeding Laws in Public in the United States (U.S.)

While the workplace laws vary state by state, all 50 states have some form of protection for public breastfeeding; that is, to protect a woman’s right to feed her child anywhere that she and her baby have a legal right to be. In short, if you’re allowed to be there, you’re allowed to breastfeed. 

For laws around breastfeeding at work, click here!

 

For state specific laws, please click below:

 

Alabama

Ala. Code § 22-1-13 allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location. (2006 Ala. Acts, Act 526; HB 351)

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 29.25.080 and § 01.10.060 (1998) prohibit a municipality from enacting 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.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann § 13-1402 specifies that indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann § 41-1443 (2006) entitles a mother to breastfeed in any public place or place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 20-27-2001 (2007) allows a woman to breastfeed a child in a public place or any place where other individuals are present. (2007 Ark. Acts, Act 680; HB 2411)

California

Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997) allows a mother to 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. (AB 157)

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-6-301 and § 25-6-302 (2004) recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage mothers to breastfeed. The law also allows a mother to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be. (SB 88)

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-64 (1997) prohibits places of public accommodation, resort or amusement from restricting or limiting the right of a mother to breastfeed her child. (1997 Conn. Acts, P.A. 210)
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53-34b provides that no person may restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 31 § 310 (1997) entitles a mother to breastfeed her child in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (Vol. 71 Del. Laws, Chap. 10; 1997 HB 31)

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1402.81 et seq. amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to include breastfeeding as part of the definition of discrimination on the basis of sex, to ensure a woman's right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where she has the right to be with her child. The law provides that breastfeeding is not a violation of indecent exposure laws.

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 383.015 (1993) allows a mother to breastfeed in any public or private location. (HB 231)

Georgia


Ga. Code § 31-1-9 (1999) states that the breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be. (1999 SB 29, Act 304; 2002 SB 221)

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 489.21 and § 489-22 provide that it is a discriminatory practice to deny, or attempt to deny, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodation of a place of public accommodations to a woman because she is breastfeeding a child. The law allows a private cause of action for any person who is injured by a discriminatory practice under this act.

Idaho

Does not provide any protections for breastfeeding in public.

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 740 § 137 (2004) creates the Right to Breastfeed Act. The law provides that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be; a mother who breastfeeds in a place of worship shall follow the appropriate norms within that place of worship. (SB 3211)

Indiana

Ind. Code § 16-35-6 allows a woman to breastfeed her child anywhere the law allows her to be. (HB 1510)

Iowa

Iowa Code § 135.30A (2002) a woman may breastfeed the woman's own child in any public place where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized.

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 65-1,248 provides that it is the public policy of Kansas that a mother's choice to breastfeed should be supported and encouraged to the greatest extent possible and that a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 211-755 (2006) permits a mother to breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any public or private location. Requires that breastfeeding may not be considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching or obscenity. Prohibits a municipality from enacting an ordinance that prohibits or restricts breastfeeding in a public or private place. (2006 SB 106)

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 51.2247.1 (2001) states that a mother may breastfeed her baby in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, and clarifies that breastfeeding is not a violation of law, including obscenity laws. (2001 HB 377)

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 4634 (2001) amends the Maine Human Rights Act to declare that a mother has the right to breastfeed her baby in any location, whether public or private, as long as she is otherwise authorized to be in that location. (Me. Laws, Chap. 206; LD 1396)

Maryland

Md. Health-General Code Ann. § 20-801 (2003) permits a woman to breastfeed her infant in any public or private place and prohibits anyone from restricting or limiting this right. (SB 223)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 111 § 221 (2008) allows a mother to 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. The law also specifies that the act of a mother breastfeeding her child shall not be considered lewd, indecent, immoral or unlawful conduct and provides for a civil action by a mother subjected to a violation of this law. (2008 Mass. Acts, Chap. 466, SB 2438)

Michigan

2014 Mich. Pub. Acts, Act 197 prohibits discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of the right to breastfeed and provides for enforcement of the right to breastfeed.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 17-25-7/9 (2006) prohibits any ordinance restricting a woman's right to breastfeed and provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any location she is otherwise authorized to be. (SB 2419)

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 191.918 (1999, 2014) allows a mother, with discretion, to breastfeed her child or express breast milk in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. The law also states that breastfeeding a child or expressing breast milk does not constitute sexual conduct or sexual contact as defined in § 566.010, and is not considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, lewd touching or obscenity. A municipality may not enact an ordinance prohibiting or restricting a mother from breastfeeding or expressing breast milk in a public or private location. (2014 HB 1320)

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-19-501 (1999) states that the breastfeeding of a child in any location, public or private, where the mother otherwise has a right to be is legal and cannot be considered a nuisance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, or obscenity. (SB 398)

Nebraska

2011 Neb. Laws, L.B. 197 specifies that a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 201.232 states that a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, private or public, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. (1995 SB 317)

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 132:10-d (1999) state that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure and that limiting or restricting a mother's right to breastfeed is discriminatory. (HB 441)

New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:4B-4/5 (1997) entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine.

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-20-1 (1999) permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be. (SB 545)

New York

N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 79-e (1994) permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location. (SB 3999)

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.9 (1993) states that a woman is allowed to breastfeed in any public or private location, and that she is not in violation of indecent exposure laws. (HB 1143)

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 23-12-16 allows a woman to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. (2009 SB 2344)

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005) provides that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (SB 41)

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-234 (2004) allow a mother to breastfeed her child in any location that she is authorized to be and exempts her from the crimes and punishments listed in the penal code of the state of Oklahoma. (HB 2102)

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 109.001 (1999) allows a woman to breastfeed in a public place. (SB 744)

Pennsylvania

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 35 § 636.1 et seq. (2007) allows mothers to breastfeed in public without penalty. Breastfeeding may not be considered a nuisance, obscenity or indecent exposure under this law. (SB 34)

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-13.5-1 and § 23-13.5-2 (2008) allow a woman to feed her child by bottle or breast in any place open to the public and would allow her a private cause of action for denial of this right. (2008 R.I. Pub. Laws, Chap. 223 and Chap. 308, HB 7467 and SB 2283)

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-40 (2005) provides that a woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother is authorized to be and that the act of breastfeeding is not considered indecent exposure. (2008 HB 4747)

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 22-24A-2 (2002) exempts mothers who are breastfeeding from indecency laws.

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006, 2011) permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding.

Texas

Tex. Health Code Ann. § 165.002 (1995) authorizes a woman to breastfeed her child in any location.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 17-15-25 (1995) states that city and county governing bodies may not inhibit a woman's right to breastfeed in public.

U.S. Virigin Islands

14 V.I.C. § 1022 specifies that a woman breastfeeding a child in any public or private location where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized does not under any circumstance constitute obscene or indecent conduct.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 4502 (j) (2002) and 2002 Vt. Acts, Act 117 state that breastfeeding should be encouraged in the interest of enhancing maternal, child and family health. The law provides that 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

Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002, 2015) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the state.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 49.60.30(g) provides that it is the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodations, assemblage or amusement. (2009 Wash. Laws, Chap. 164, HB 1596)

West Virginia

2014 W.Va. Acts, Chap. 72014 W.Va. Acts, Chap. 73 specifies that a mother may breastfeed a child in any location open to the public. (HB 4335)3 specifies that a mother may breastfeed a child in any location open to the public. (HB 4335)

Wisconsin

2009 Wis. Laws, Act 148 provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. The law specifies that 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 breastfeeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding her child. (2009 AB 57)

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 6-4-201 (2007) exempts breastfeeding mothers from public indecency laws and gives breastfeeding women the right to nurse anyplace that they otherwise have a right to be. (HB 105)