Public Breastfeeding Law

Section 221. (a) A mother may 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.

(b) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the act of a mother breastfeeding her child, and any exposure of a breast incidental thereto that is solely for the purpose of nursing such child, shall not be considered lewd, indecent, immoral, or unlawful conduct.

(c) No person or entity, including a governmental entity, shall, with the intent to violate a mother’s right under subsection (a), restrict, harass or penalize a mother who is breastfeeding her child.

Enforcement Provision

d) The attorney general may bring a civil action for equitable relief to restrain or prevent a violation of subsection (c).

(e) A civil action may be brought under this section by a mother subjected to a violation of subsection (c). In any such action, the court may: (i) award actual damages in an amount not to exceed $500; (ii) enter an order to restrain such unlawful conduct; and (iii) award reasonable attorney fees.

Workplace Pumping Law


Enforcement Provision


21 Responses to “Massachusetts”

  1. eve says:

    You have an enforcement provision listed, but then below it says that there is none.

  2. Perhaps a well-placed indent or a font change would be helpful.

  3. Nicole Hayes says:

    I thought there was a law for workplace pumping? My HR rep told me she was required to have a private place for me to pump if I came back to work in the office

  4. Mary says:

    Would an elementary school parking lot, inside a private vehicle be considered a public place and therefore legal to breastfeed?

    • admin says:

      Possibly. It is likely owned by the school district or the local government. That you are inside a private vehicle is irrelevant.

  5. Mary says:

    It is owned by the city school district.

  6. Mary says:

    I am a teacher and am trying to figure out if I have the right to nurse my daughter in my car on my lunch break in the school parking lot.

    • admin says:

      The safest thing to do is make sure the employer is okay with your doing it. The district can forbid it. As long as you are at work, your employer can decide whether or not you pump in a state, like MA, where there is no workplace pumping law.

  7. Mary says:

    Thank you.

  8. pat says:

    How does this law apply if a person is inside a church durng a religious service?.

    • admin says:

      Good question. It depends on whether houses of worship are considered public accommodations under MA law. And given that this law does not specifically reference that definition, it really may come down to a question of interpretation. We may not know until there is a case in which a religious institution objects.

  9. Melinda says:

    –there’s a federal workplace breastfeeding law that applies no matter which state you’re in, so you’re good. My workplace didn’t provide me a place to nurse or pump besides the bathroom, so I ended up losing my milk supply and having to have my husband bring my son to work and breastfeeding him in the car on my breaks to save my supply. Only reason I didn’t go to the line on this one was I came back to work only for 2 months. I did let them know what the law was in the exit interview, though. as for the church, private and public places you’re allowed to be–you can breastfeed there as far as I’ve read. Our church provides a nursing mothers room separate from a nursery, but if there’s not a place you should be fine. People need to realize life isn’t so sterile and there’s birth, death, breastfeeding, peeing, etc and get used to it.

  10. […] What does an enforcement provision look like?  Here’s the law in my state, Massachusetts: […]

  11. ira says:


    I was recently breastfeeding completely covered in a correctional facility while visiting an inmate. I was told breast feeding wasnt allowed. How can they stop this if I was there legally and there were no signs and nothing on the visit slips stating I couldnt breast feed. Can they stop me.?

    • admin says:

      The question would be, is a correctional facility a public place under MA law? Have you filed a complaint with the Warden?

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