You Have the Right To Breastfeed
A mother has the right to breastfeed, whether or not there is a law. However, we now have laws in all 50 states, including Maryland, to clarify that right and protect those who breastfeed from being told to stop nursing in public.
Breastfeeding in Public
Maryland law states:
"A mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be.
A person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child."
This means that no one should be telling parents who are breastfeeding that they
need to go to a specific place to do so, that they need to cover up, or that they may not do so at all (Md. Code Ann §11-211).
If you experience a situation in which your right to breastfeed is challenged, you can
report noncompliance with the Maryland law to the Maryland Attorney General's
Consumer Protection Division by calling 410-528-8662. You can also file a complaint by
e-mail to Consumer@oag.state.md.us , or online at www.oag.state.md.us/consumer.
Breastfeeding Supplies Are Tax-Exempt
Maryland law makes many supplies that may be used by nursing mothers tax free. (Md. Code §20-801). Exempt breastfeeding supplies include breast pumps, breast pump collection kits, breast shells, breast shields, Supplemental Nursing Systems (SNS), feeding tubes, breast milk storage bags, finger feeders, and purified lanolin.
Breastfeeding and the Workplace
Federal law protects a parent's right to pump milk upon returning to work. This law requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a space, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express milk for that person's infant up to one year after the child’s birth. Your employer is not required to pay you during pumping sessions. Be sure to speak with your supervisor about the amount of time you’ll need to pump your milk, where you can do so, how it can fit into your workday schedule, and how you can make up any extra break time that you take. Federal law does allow small employers (those with less than 50 employees) to apply for an exemption to this requirement, but the employer must show that the requirement results in hardship to the company and is not exempt until they receive approval from the federal government. Note: All employees who work for the same company within a 60-mile radius are counted toward the total number of employees for that company. -Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (P.L. 111-148)
If you believe that your employer is not following the break time for nursing mothers requirement, you can call 1-866-487-9243. You will be directed to the nearest Wage and Hour Division office for assistance.