New York

Public Breastfeeding Law

§ 79-e. Right to breast feed. Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, a mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or
private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of
whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or
incidental to the breast feeding.

§ 245.01 Exposure of a person.
A person is guilty of exposure if he appears in a public place in such
a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or
exposed. For purposes of this section, the private or intimate parts of
a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below
the top of the areola. This section shall not apply to the breastfeeding
of infants or to any person entertaining or performing in a play,
exhibition, show or entertainment.
Exposure of a person is a violation.
Nothing in this section shall prevent the adoption by a city, town or
village of a local law prohibiting exposure of a person as herein
defined in a public place, at any time, whether or not such person is
entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.

Enforcement Provision


Workplace Pumping Law

§ 206-c. Right of nursing mothers to express breast milk. An employer
shall provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use
paid break time or meal time each day to allow an employee to express
breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following child
birth. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or
other location, in close proximity to the work area, where an employee
can express milk in privacy. No employer shall discriminate in any way
against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the work

Enforcement Provision

None explicit but the NY Department of Labor has taken some complaints.

61 Responses to “New York”

  1. Dr. Julie Smith-Gagen says:

    Can you tell me what year the New York : N.Y. Penal Law § 245.01 et seq. excludes breastfeeding of infants from exposure offenses. was enacted? I am a breastfeeding researcher. Thanks, Julie

  2. Stuart Strickland says:

    §245.01 was reversed by NY Superior Court, July 7, 1992. Is that the case you were looking for? This applied to women in a public park, not breastfeeding, with their breasts exposed. Thus any woman can walk down any street in NY state without a top on. I do not know if there was a separate case concerning children, but the Santorelli decision seems quite inclusive. (IANAL)

  3. Jesie says:

    Basically the law goes-if a man can be topless so can a woman. It was weird at first seeing the rare woman topless in a state park, however I dont remember the last time I actually did.

  4. gia says:

    My employer forbid me to transfer my milk from pump bottle to storage bottle in the kitchen. They told me it makes other employees to see my pumps. Unfortunately the room they gave me to pump in is tiny and narrow. It actually is the shower room. there is no place for me to transfer my milk without spilling it. Plus, I use the hot water from the cooler to disinfect my pump inbetween pumps. What should I do?


    • admin says:

      New York law actually protects you here. You can either show the law on this page to your employer, file a complaint with the NYS Department of Labor or, if you get no relief that way, contact the New York Civil Liberties Union. Let me know how it goes. Good luck!

  5. Gloria says:

    Your employer must provide you with a flat surface for your pump. I printed this and gave it to my employer and once he had the law in front of him I was accommodated a lot better:

    • admin says:

      Thanks for this link! As I wrote above, the statute itself contains no enforcement provision though I knew the NY DOL had taken some complaints. Great to see there is a guideline. But I must say I have yet to hear that an employer in NY has been sanctioned in any way for violating it. If anyone hears of such a case, please let me know.

  6. Joyce says:

    Today my Daughter-in-law, went to a cpr first aid class with the American Red cross. She has a one month-old and is breast feeding. He has to eat every 2 hours so she brought him with her. the instructor told her absolutely not. so she said fine my husband will pick him up and I’ll have him bring my pump. The instructor told her absolutely not you can’t pump here. She made my Daughter-in-law leave and locked the door on her, as soon as she left the room..

    • admin says:

      While you should certainly file a complaint with the organization, technically that is not a violation of NY law. The public breastfeeding law (which has no enforcement provision) applies only if the child is allowed to be there. If children are not allowed at an American Red Cross CPR class (which frankly would be understandable) then the public breastfeeding law does not apply. NY’s workplace pumping law only applies to employees. Someone coming for a class is not an employee and has no right to pump.

      Hope that helps.

  7. ana says:

    while I was at a department store my baby 4months old started to cry I was trying some under garments, the dressing room were full so I step out to breastfeed my daughter. one of the employees came to me an told me ” miss you can’t do this here.” she told me to go to the dressing rooms. I told her ” but they ‘re all full and my baby is hungry.” then she left and look at me on a way that wasn’t so friendly. I BELIEVE I WAS NOT BREAKING ANY LAW? what are my rights to breastfeed.?

    • admin says:

      Please read NYS’s public breastfeeding law on this page. As you can see, it has no enforcement provision.

  8. Janella says:

    I’m curious about the recent article in the New York Post about the family asked to leave the country club after breastfeeding.
    Does she have the right to breastfeed at the private establishment. After all, even though they are not members, they were permitted to dine at the restaurant. Once she started breastfeeding, they were asked to leave.

    • admin says:

      Her right to be in that private club is a fact specific question under New York law. I can’t answer it. The really interesting part of this case is that the owner claimed an apparent fear that her child might explode – and not in the way we are used to children “exploding.”

  9. Mike says:

    What requirements do colleges have to provide to students who are breastfeeding mothers?

  10. Heidi says:

    What exactly is a “enforcement provision”? Does this mean that the police cannot step in on behalf of the woman breastfeeding? Or does it mean if you are in a restaurant breastfeeding, the owner of the restaurant cannot call the cops? Please explain. Thanks!

    • admin says:

      An enforcement provision is what provides some sort of remedy if the law is broken. People can always call the police but the duty of the police is to enforce criminal law. If the owner can not make you a trespasser, there is no law being broken.

  11. Maria says:

    Hi. I was curious as to what the law has to say about pumping in public…it clearly states that it’s not “exposure” if one is breast feeding an infant in public. But what if you’re pumping breast milk (obviously without an infant) in a parking lot (in your car, with all windows covered) because you have no other place to express the milk inside your place of work.

    • admin says:

      There is no law concerning pumping in public. Most likely the law that would apply would be indecent exposure or the functional equivalent and whether exposure of the breast is exempt.

  12. PCG says:

    My employer told me I can pump milk only in the bathroom of my job because it is private with a door and lock. My back room does not have a lock… Am I not allowed to do it in the back room because someone might come in on me? I have a cover up and at no point am I exposed!

    • admin says:

      While NYS does not have an enforcement provision for its pumping law, some have had success filing complaints with the Department of Labor.

  13. kw says:

    can teachers or youth workers breastfeed at work in front of the children they work with?

    • admin says:

      This would be a matter of school policy generally. No law protects that, in NY or elsewhere to my knowledge.

  14. Jodie says:

    My family and I recently attended open swim at our local YMCA, where we are members. During the open swim session my son needed to nurse, so I did so on the benches provided in the pool area, however did make sure that I was fully covered in the process. I was immediately confronted by the young lifeguard where from about 50 feet away she hand motioned me and yelled to me that “I am not allowed to do that on the pool deck”. After giving my son a another minute to nurse I reluctantly stopped. For the remainder of the time that we stayed at the pool so that our children could continue to swim was approximately another 30-45 minutes. During this time both of the young lifeguards watched every move that I made, including reading the pool rules to standing by the side of the pool holding my son while watching other child and family members swim. During this time my son, who was very tired, was comforting himself by sticking his hand in between my breast as he rested his head on my chest. One of the lifeguards proceeded to stick her hand down her shirt imitating my son. I am beyond bothered by not only being told that I was in violation of the law (which I was not), but by the fact that they continued to harass me for the remainder of the time we were there instead of watching the 50+ people that were there to swim. I live in NY and based on the information that I have read I am well with in my rights to breastfeed in any public or private place of my choosing. Although legally I would have little recourse because my state has no enforcement policy. Ultimately my question is what rights do I have that prevent these employees from continuing to harass me long after I have stopped breastfeeding my child? Any information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  15. r says:

    My employer stated since there is less than 15 employees he doesnt have to let me have a pump break. Is this true?

  16. Rose2014 says:

    My 2 yr old goes to gymnastics weekly. While there I was told I am not allowed to breastfeed my 2 week old and should do so in my vehicle. Can they do that? My daughter is a paying member in gymnastics….

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately, NYS does not have an enforcement provision for its public breastfeeding law. However the New York Civil Liberties Union has successfully negotiated resolutions/settlements in such cases. I recommend you contact them.

  17. Pearl says:

    I live near my workplace, which ironically, is a community health clinic that actively promotes breastfeeding and receives federal funds (FQHC). My mother is caring for my child and she brings him during my (unpaid) lunch hour so that I can breastfeed. My child is also a patient at this clinic. There are plenty of empty clinical and administrative rooms that I could use, but I was told that I am not allowed to breastfeed in the building during my lunch, because “people not having legitimate business or medical reason to be on premises” are not allowed there. So instead I have to breastfeed him in the car, and when the weather gets hot, will have to find some other location like a restaurant or bench. The law protects “expression” of milk in the work place, but doesn’t seem to define it explicitly. Also, you mention in earlier posts that public breastfeeding law only applies if the child is allowed to be there…people are generally allowed to have family visit them in nonclinical areas for a few minutes during lunch at my job…Am I protected under the law ? or could I argue discrimination?

    • admin says:

      As the law stands now, the workplace pumping law does not protect you unless you are pumping. If th child is not there for a clinical visit, the child technically does not have the right to be there.

  18. E says:

    I’ve requested my HR department multiple times to prepare me a private lactation area when I return to work in June. (Have not had baby yet so I’m trying to prepare them and myself in advance so there is an easy transition when I come back.) However I have yet to hear anything and my due date is just 4 days away. When would be best for me to forward the PDF of the NYS labor laws regarding pumping in the workplace to the VP of HR asking where I can expect to pump upon returning to work?
    What do you recommend?

    • admin says:

      Make arrangements beforehand. Supply your employer with the NYS Department of Labor worksheet on this law.

  19. Sarah Wilson says:

    So if I am at Walmart can I breastfeed my child covered and or uncovered?

  20. Teresa says:

    In a NYC school for students with special needs, a Paraprofessional has a a 50 minute lunch period each day and is required to supervise students for the rest of the day. The school has classrooms and offices spaces that are assigned to staff and the only spaces that are not used by staff regularly are storage closets and bathrooms. What is the schools responsibility towards a female paraprofessional who wishes to express milk for pumping? Should office staff be forced out of their workspace to allow the para (or teacher) to pump? If the para is not on her lunch period should she be allowed to leave her assigned student(s) while she pumps?

    • admin says:

      This is a question that you need to pose directly to the NYS Department of Labor.

    • admin says:

      I recommend you file a complaint with the NYS or NYC Department of Labor.

      • Rafael says:

        I never realized how time-consuming bresat feeding was until I spent 6 hours with my SIL and my 1 month old niece It seemed like she was nursing at least 2 times per hour (but that may be an exaggeration that I created in my own mind) but she managed to do while also chasing after a potty-training toddler boy, so she’s proof that it can be done.

  21. Marissa says:

    I got a Jury Summons but I am a stay at home nursing mom. I can’t get to the court to prove this, what can I do?

    • admin says:

      You need to contact the court that issued the summons to find out what the particular court rules are on exemptions. This site does not keep track of jury duty laws. Just too much.

  22. Julie says:

    My work environment is very flexible, I could do work at my desk in the open work space or stand at the work bench in the back room which is usually secluded but still considered a common area. Ive pumped covered up while working many many times because deadlines are tight and i need to complete certain tasks before leaving for the day rather than waste that valuable time I like to multi task so I can get home to my kids at a reasonable time….i checked with co-workers in my department and they all expressed support but just recently the owner of the company witnessed this and told me I could not pump in common areas because it could make other employees uncomfortable even though I’m all covered up. Is this something I can debate or can he force me to pump in the designated private area where I won’t be able to get any work done?

    • admin says:

      In all likelihood you can be forced to limit pumping to the designated areas. Employers generally control common areas.

  23. Erin says:

    I work at a rather large hospital and in my department alone there are 3 pumping mothers. The hospital provides one room for the whole facility. It is nowhere near enough for the number of people who need to use it. Is there something in the law about providing sufficient space to accomodate multiple mothers, or since they have 1 room are their butts covered legally?

    • admin says:

      The law must be sufficient for each individual woman which, it stands to reason, must take into account the number of women who need the space. I advise filing a complaint with the NYS Department of Labor.

      • Erin says:

        As a follow-up to this, I’ve tried to fix the issues internally. At this point the hospital insists that they meet all legal requirements with the one room. They are getting a second room, but there is no time frame for it. We were at one point told to go to the mat/child nurses station and request a room not in use. Everyone in my department has had to do this and two of us have been walked in on multiple times despite signs posted on the door. On Tuesday the floor was completely full and when I asked at the nurse station they told me I would just have to wait or see if my department director could come up with something. I went back to my department and ended up having to use the lunch room that lacks a door and was walked in on by a male coworker. When my boss contacted the mat/child nurse manager (who is IBCLC by the way) she said that I made a scene and made her nurses uncomfortabl (which is an outright lie, I sighed, shook my head, said ok and walked away). Now they have posted a sign-up sheet for the next 2 weeks and we have to sign-up in 30 min increments. Is this even legal? Different people need to pump for different amounts of time and we can’t predict what days we get engorged earlier, or an emergency prevents us from going at the designated time. Also don’t they have to provide space by a certain point in the shift?

  24. Joy says:

    Can a privately owned business kick you out for breastfeeding?

    • admin says:

      If you mean a “public accommodation,” which is private property made open to the public by the owner, then the public breastfeeding law applies.

  25. Susan says:

    What about the Military? Are they held to the same standards?

  26. amanda says:

    Hello my name is Amanda Guerriero. I am a Lactation counselor. and I am contacting you in regard to the New York state law for breastfeeding.
    There is laws and information about the laws about pumping milk in the work place and even rights for women incarcerated, but I do not see any information about mothers in school. Is there any laws providing mothers in school with proper time and space to pump expressed breast milk?
    And if not how could we go about putting in the works such a law? It is important for every mother and baby to be able to exclusively breastfeed whether working or in school.
    thank you for your time,
    Amanda Guerriero

    • admin says:

      I’m afraid pumping by students on school settings has not been addressed by either state or federal law. This is a policy matter within schools.

  27. Mimi says:

    I work in a restaurant. Can I store my breast milk in the walk-in refrigerator of the restaurant?

  28. Elizabeth says:

    I am a hospitalist at a state hospital on Long Island. I am paid a salary but work 12 hr shifts. Do the state laws apply to me? I ask because it is very difficult for me to get to the provided lactation room.

    • admin says:

      NYS’s workplace pumping law does apply to you. YTou can file a complaint with the NYS Department of Labor for failure to provide you with the required pump space.

  29. […] Resource: […]