Did you know that Minnesota has four laws that specifically address the rights of nursing mothers?
From protecting our rights to breastfeed in any location (public or private) to setting up educational programs about the importance of breastfeeding, the state has taken steps to support breastfeeding.
Current Minnesota laws regarding breastfeeding include:
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.
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 145.894 directs the state commissioner of health to develop and implement a public education program promoting the provisions of the Maternal and Child Nutrition Act. The education programs must include a campaign to promote breastfeeding.
Minn. Stat. § 181.939 requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity.
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure.
Of course, some states have even more laws to support breastfeeding mothers. For instance:
- Mississippi and many other states have laws that says nursing mothers can be excused from jury duty.
- Louisiana passed a resolution establishing a joint study of requiring insurance coverage for outpatient lactation support for new mothers.
- Maryland has a law exempting products for breastfeeding such as breast pumps, purified lanolin, breast milk storage bags and breast shields from the state sales tax.
- Missouri law requires physicians who provide obstetrical or gynecological consultation to inform patients about the benefits of breastfeeding.
- New York allows a mother of a nursing child to be accompanied by her child if she is committed to a correctional facility at the time she is breastfeeding. The child may remain with the mother until one year of age if the woman is physically capable of caring for the child.
Some mothers find it helpful to print out copies of state laws and carry them in their diaper bags, just in case they are harassed for breastfeeding or otherwise need to prove their rights.