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The Family & Breastfeeding Laws: What Nurses Need to Know

Chang, Karen BSN, RN; Spatz, Diane L. PhD, RNC

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: July-August 2006 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 224–230
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Many states have recently enacted breastfeeding legislation that clarifies existing laws to protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers. Families can benefit from learning about the current breastfeeding laws in their states, as this knowledge may empower them if discriminatory situations arise. Knowledge of breastfeeding laws can create a more supportive breastfeeding environment and alleviate fears and anxiety about breastfeeding in public. Nurses are instrumental in educating families about existing laws and possible courses of action should discrimination occur and can direct families to advocacy groups and resources. Additionally, nurses can play a pivotal role in passing breastfeeding legislation through political activism.

Did you know that laws still exist that discourage breastfeeding? What are those laws? Where are they being used? What can you do about it?

Karen Chang is a Staff Nurse, Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She can be reached via e-mail at

Diane L. Spatz is an Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania and Clinical Nurse Specialist, Lactation, at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.