A Guide to Breastfeeding in NYC

A Guide to Breastfeeding in NYC
Getty Images

A Guide to Breastfeeding in NYC

Everybody knows that motherhood is a full-time job. Whether you’re working from home or are out and about in the city, we know that taking care of your young children will always take first priority. We also know that babies require a special kind of care that isn’t always made as convenient as it should be.

For those of you who are currently or will be breastfeeding in the near future, we’ve compiled a guide of everything you need to know as a nursing mother in NYC.

Psst… Summer Streets NYC are back and bigger than ever this year!

PUMP Act

If you’re a working, nursing mother, you’ve probably heard of the PUMP Act.

This 2022 law provided several updates to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, which has required since 2010 that employers nationwide provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for lactating employees to pump milk during their workday.

The PUMP Act almost completely closes the coverage gap that left 1 in 4 women of childbearing age without federal protection of their right to break time and a private space to pump during the workday.

It expands the legal right to receive pumping breaks and private space to nearly 9 million more workers, including teachers, farmworkers, and many others. It also makes it possible for an employee to file a lawsuit against an employer that violates the law.

Workplace Rights

In addition to the PUMP Act, New York has its own protections for breastfeeding moms. In NYC, all employers are required by law to allow parents reasonable time and space to pump or express breast milk for at least three years after they give birth.

A lactation space must be a sanitary, private place that is other than a restroom. It should include an electrical outlet, a chair, a surface on which to place a breast pump and other personal items, and nearby access to running water.

Employers with at least four employees are required to have a clear and accessible workplace lactation policy that describes accommodations and how employees can request them. They must also provide a refrigerator for employees to store breast milk.

Nursing in Public

New York State law allows people to breastfeed in any public place at any time. This right exists regardless of whether or not the nipple of the breast is covered during breastfeeding.

Still, many mothers are hesitant to breastfeed in public even with the law on their side. A social stigma still unfortunately exists against public nursing that can make moms feel self-conscious when publicly feeding their baby.

But as more and more moms get comfortable with public nursing, the stigma starts to ease.

Stephanie Sosnowski, the treasurer and acting corresponding secretary of the New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition, says, in her opinion, the social stigma on breastfeeding in public appears to be decreasing.

“With more and more mothers choosing to directly breastfeed or chestfeed or pump, mothers seem to be more comfortable being out and about and feeding their babies,” Sosnowski says. “And there doesn’t seem to be as much ‘mommy bashing’ if she chooses to formula feed, for whatever her reasons may be.”

But if you still prefer privacy, know that there are several options for private lactation spaces in the city.

For example, Mamava Pods can be found sprinkled throughout NYC, including at the Bronx Zoo, JFK Airport, and various museums. If you are really one to plan ahead, a mobile locator app can be found here

Back in 2016, the DeBlasio administration took steps to make the city more friendly to nursing mothers.

Many government-affiliated buildings became equipped with lactation rooms, such as buildings belonging to the Human Resources Administration, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Administration for Children’s Services. A more comprehensive list can be found here.

Support for Nursing Moms

There are many support groups in NYC for breastfeeding mothers. La Leche League Of New York has several support groups throughout the state, including multiple in NYC. These groups provide education and information to nursing mothers and are open to the public.

Sosnowski says that these groups can provide much-needed community and support for new mothers when they begin their breastfeeding journey.

“Getting used to nursing in public when you are with other new mothers going through the same experience can make it easier to do when they are out somewhere else on their own,” Sosnowski says.

To find a group nearest to you, visit the LLL of New York guide page.

There are also countless lactation consultants available in the city. These are licensed breastfeeding experts who can both advise you on the best breastfeeding practices and connect you to a nursing support group best suited for your needs.

To find a lactation consultant, visit the New York Lactation Consultant Association website. You have the option to search through available consultants by both location and accepted insurance.

Relevant Directory Listings

See More

First Step Therapy, PLLC

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; font-style: normal;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">A multilingual, multidisciplinary Therapeutic Center for Children and Adults. We are dedicated to serving adults, teens, and children with communication, cognitive, and physical challenges. We provide Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapies.</span></p>

Enabling Devices

<p><strong>Enabling Devices is a family-run business that designs, manufactures and sells adapted toys and accessible devices that make life more joyful and fulfilling for children and adults living with disabilities.</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>It started with a train set, a mercury switch, and a young boy whose therapist thought he couldn’t play with toys. In 1975 our founder, Dr. Steven Kanor, walked into a room at United Cerebral Palsy/Long Island and saw a boy sitting in a wheelchair, his head resting on his shoulder. When he asked where the toys were, the OT said, “He doesn’t have the motor skills to play with toys, and he can’t lift his head.” But Dr. Kanor was not interested in what the boy couldn’t do. He was interested in the boy's potential. The next morning, he was back. He’d brought a train set, which he’d connected to a mercury switch. The switch, the first capability switch he’d designed, was attached to the boy’s ear. When the boy raised his head, the switch made contact and the train ran around the tracks. After several weeks of playing with this toy, the boy was holding his head up straight, even when the train was not running. Dr. Kanor was elated.</p> <p>Since that day, he never stopped innovating, never stopped trying to make our products better, never stopped designing new devices. Today, our design team is just as passionate, just as creative, and just as committed to innovation as the man who founded this company. Enabling Devices is the place to find toys, devices and tools that help build more joyful, fulfilling lives. We have an extensive selection of adapted toys, capability switches, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, adapted electronics, mounts, iPad products, sensory items and products for the visually impaired.</p> <p>Over the years, the important constants remain. We’re still the same small, family-run company Steven Kanor founded in 1978, with the same values of personal connection and deep product knowledge. We’re still committed to providing caring, individualized service to each customer. And we’re still grateful for the privilege of sharing in your journey.</p>

Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.

<p><span style="caret-color: #414042; color: #414042; font-family: Yantramanav, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff;">Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. is a diagnostic and treatment center for neuropsychological, psychiatric, and educational difficulties. Led by Dr. Sanam Hafeez, the New York City based psychology practice specializes in providing solutions for common Learning Disabilities such as Dyslexia and Math Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), Autism, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar disorder, executive and memory, and other developmental delays. </span><br style="box-sizing: inherit; caret-color: #414042; color: #414042; font-family: Yantramanav, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-align: center;" /><br style="box-sizing: inherit; caret-color: #414042; color: #414042; font-family: Yantramanav, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-align: center;" /><span style="caret-color: #414042; color: #414042; font-family: Yantramanav, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; text-align: center; background-color: #ffffff;">We can help students with disabilities receive accommodations such as extended time, separate testing location and waivers for certain requirements in class and on standardized examinations such as the SATs, ACTs, GREs, LSATs, MCATs, GMATs, the Bar examination, CPA exam, and other such standardized tests.</span></p>