In spite of the frustrating accounts of moms being asked to leave restaurants or cover up while breastfeeding, it's a perfectly legal activity nationwide. Except in Idaho. Get your act together, Idaho!
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 47 states , the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Idaho, South Dakota and Virginia are missing from the list. However, the latter two are among the 29 states where breastfeeding moms are exempt from public indecency laws.
Half of the states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming) have laws which aid breastfeeding in the workplace.
Sixteen lucky states, Idaho included(!), exempt breastfeeding moms from jury duty (California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia).
There are also some pretty unique breastfeeding laws on a state-by-state basis. In Virginia, women can breastfeed on any state-owned property. Breastfed babies can't be discriminated against at child care facilities in Louisiana (oh?). New York even has a Breastfeeding Mother's Bill of Rights.
What's going on federally? Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended with some pretty great provisions for breastfeeding moms. Companies with more than 50 employees are required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, for moms to pump. And reasonable break periods for pumping must be allowed as needed up to a year after baby's birth.
While this doesn't take away the sting of dirty looks or rude comments about public breastfeeding, it is good to know you have the law on your side.
How does your state stack up?