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New York Breastfeeding Law

In the state of New York, we have an express law protecting breastfeeding in public. The law states that a mother has the right to breastfeed her child, covered or uncovered, in any place that she and the child are legally allowed to be. Yes, that includes private clubs, restaurants, stadiums, libraries -- everywhere!

While I urge moms everywhere to stand their ground when breastfeeding in public, New York moms have an extra tool to help them do this -- the ability to calmly inform any person who bugs them that the right to breastfeed right where they are is expressly protected under New York law.

Every time I bring this up to nursing moms who are nervous about where they can nurse, I am met with surprised expressions. This has spurred me to action. To help make moms feel more confident about this and provide a visual aid to assist them, I created these breastfeeding cards:

Whenever I meet a fellow nursing mom, I bring up the law and hand her a couple of cards so she can spread the word. If a mom is approached by someone while nursing, she can keep quietly doing her thing and let the card do the talking. I printed these cards up on regular paper and laminated them, so they are water and milk resistant. And I deployed them to moms in my MOMS Club, my lactation consultant, my midwives, and my hypnotherapist to share with any mom who needs them.


If you would like a PDF version of the card (eight cards per page, as shown above), shoot me an email at hello at patricia shepard dot com. I'm also happy to mail you some laminated cards.

(PS: I must note, one of the things I do not love about our breastfeeding law is that it lacks an enforcement provision. This means the law doesn't state a way that violators can be punished. In effect, it makes it a law with no teeth. I cannot imagine a situation where a woman informing the violator of the law and standing her ground would not yield the right result. But maybe I overestimate people. In any event, the New York Civil Liberties Union may be able to help women whose right to breastfeed has been violated. Check out their site here.)

Please note: Nothing on this page or web site is intended to constitute or convey legal advice. Please read my full Disclaimer here

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