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Summary of State Breastfeeding Laws and Related Issues

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Publication Date: January 2005

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL31633

Topic: Social conditions (Social policy)

Abstract:

The practice of breastfeeding has expanded in recent years. Various legal issues have accompanied this development. The primary legal issues concern: 1) the ability of working mothers to breastfeed their children and/or to express milk during working hours; and 2) nursing and/or the expression of milk in public or semi-public places such as restaurants, public transportation facilities, and other locations where the public is present. Certain states have enacted legislation addressing breastfeeding in the workplace and exempting nursing mothers from laws dealing with indecent exposure and/or criminal behavior. Some states have enacted laws which excuse nursing mothers from jury service. State laws vary considerably in their scope and coverage. This report summarizes the various state laws concerning breastfeeding.