Nursing In Public In Louisiana


By Amanda Miller

 

While seated at a local eatery with her family surrounding her, Allison picked up her crying newborn and began to breastfeed him. Not long after, the manager appeared at the family’s table and tried to discreetly tell Allison that she could not breastfeed there. Shocked, embarrassed, and unsure of how to respond, Allison stopped and relocated to the facility’s bathroom where she finished feeding her child. 

At the time, Allison wasn’t aware of her rights when it came to nursing in public. And unfortunately, few moms are sure of what their rights are, especially when each state’s rules are put into play differently.  The law in Louisiana states that “a mother may breastfeed her baby in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, and clarifies that breastfeeding is not a violation of law, including obscenity laws.”

Despite breastfeeding being legal in our state, women are still experiencing harassment when they are nursing their children. And many are not sure how to respond when they are put into that situation. Marci Brewer of the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition (LBC) shares, “Women can inform the offender that Louisiana law states that they can breastfeed anywhere and anytime. Women do not have to ‘cover up’ or go to a private place when breastfeeding. Businesses, however, do not have to create separate spaces for breastfeeding patrons, although sometimes a private, quiet space can be helpful, especially for new mothers.”

If a woman is harassed for breastfeeding in public, she is encouraged to report the incident to ensure that the laws are continuously being followed. Brewer adds, “Women who experience harassment should file a complaint with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, the entity that oversees the breastfeeding in public law in Louisiana. Women should also file a complaint with LBC. The LBC tracks complaints and can provide additional support and resources, if needed.”

For business owners who are unsure of how to respond to concerns from patrons who see a mother nursing in the establishment, Brewer encourages them to validate the complaining patrons’ concerns and kindly let them know that their establishment is breastfeeding-friendly, and that they comply with state law.

While there are some businesses that have not only embraced the laws but have also signed pledges to provide a breastfeeding-friendly environment, there are a few business owners that are still violating the law.

“We recently received a report from a mother who experienced harassment by restaurant staff in a north Louisiana restaurant while dining with her family. Reports like this remind us that we must continue to educate the public about the rights of mothers to breastfeed a child in public.”

And it doesn’t stop at just patrons visiting local businesses, employers are required to support employees who are breastfeeding. Brewer states, “Under the Federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law, employers are required to provide employees with space and time for milk expression. Providing lactation accommodations for employees is also a part of the state’s Well Spot designation that businesses can also receive.”

Parenting and breastfeeding are challenging enough on their own, and mothers should not have to worry about whether or not they will be able to breastfeed their infant in public.

The vast majority of women who are breastfeeding their child, do so in a discrete manner. They aren’t looking to cause a scene or make a statement. They are simply wanting to feed their child when he or she is hungry.  

Brewer adds, “Breastfeeding support must be integrated at all levels–workplace, child care settings, healthcare, hospitals, and communities. As more women breastfeed in public, it moves the needle closer to normalizing breastfeeding.” ■

Report an Incident

Best for Babes, a national organization, has a Nursing In Public Harassment Hotline which women can use to report incidents and get support if she wants to take action.  

1-855-NIP-FREE bestforbabes.org 

Breastfeeding Rights Cards

The Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition offers Breastfeeding Rights Cards that can be downloaded from the website. louisianabreastfeedingcoalition.org/legislation


Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

04 Nov 2016


Recent Articles more articles

Into the Unknown: Finding Inspiration in Frozen 2

in Things To Do, Family Life, Mari Walker

My birthday almost always falls during Thanksgiving break, and this year, my girls and I went to see Frozen 2 as a celebration (and then I ate a bunch of queso!). I didn’t think I would like the movie as much as I did. In the week since seeing it, I’

Give Yourself the Gift of Time this Season

in Family Life, Amy Delaney

Time. Think about a typical weekday evening at your house. Are you on the phone? Are the kids watching tv? Maybe you’re running errands and dropping people off at different events. For us, a typical evening is frantic, with Pman doing homework and Li

The Worst Days Are Still the Best Days

in Toby Comeaux, Family Life

I have had some of the best days of my life as a parent. I have been able to share in the joy of three births; watched all of my kids take their first steps; and helped them learn to tie shoes, ride bikes, and read books. We have shared in the love o

A Different Kind of Strength

in Exceptional Lives

Brady Larson was two and a half when his parents, Sherry Carpenter Larson and Eric Larson, received the devastating news that he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The genetic disorder is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. B

Featured Listings more listings

Baton Rouge Music Studios

in Day Camps

Baton Rouge Music Studios offers music camps for all budding musicians & vocalists! All levels of experience welcome! The camps are geared towards learning, fun, and making friends! Band camps, vocal camps, recording camps and music exploration camps

St. Luke's Episcopal School

in Private Schools

St. Luke's Episcopal School offers a challenging curriculum that encourages learning, independent thinking and spiritual formation in preschool through 8th grade with optimal teacher-to-student ratios.

Girl Scouts Louisiana East Summer Resident Camps

in Day Camps, Residential Camps

Are you looking for an amazing summer experience for your daughter? Girl Scout Resident Camp provides girls the perfect opportunity to try a variety of fun activities, as she discovers just how awesome it feels to be outdoors and active.

Newsletter