Breastfeeding and Maryland Law
A mother has the right to breastfeed wherever she goes with her baby. No particular legislation should be needed to protect the right of mothers to breastfeed in public. However, legislation has been enacted in nearly half of the states in the U.S. (including Maryland) in order to clarify that right, and to provide remedy for mothers told to stop breastfeeding in public. In 2003, Maryland passed legislation regarding breastfeeding in public.
The law states that:
- 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.
(§ 20-801. Breastfeeding of children.)
Maryland was the first state to provide an exemption from sales tax for breastfeeding accessories that may be used by breastfeeding mothers (Maryland Code: Tax General: Title 11. Sales and use tax: Subtitle 2. Exemptions: 11-211). Exempt items include breast pumps, breast pump hook-up kits, breast shells, nursing shields, Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), feeding tubes, breast milk storage bags, finger feeders, and purified lanolin.
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. The Consumer Hotline is 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