Mothers’ Bill of Rights

Hey, look what’s happening in New York!  The New York State Department of Health has mom’s back with the “Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights.”

A few highlights and inspirations:

You have the right to know if your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician is advising against breastfeeding before any feeding decisions are made.

You have the right to receive full information about how you are doing with breastfeeding and get help on how to improve.

If you, or your baby, are re-hospitalized in a maternal care facility after the initial delivery stay, the hospital will make every effort to continue to support breastfeeding, to provide hospital grade electric pumps and rooming-in facilities.

You have the right to have help from someone specially trained in breastfeeding support and expressing breast milk if your baby has special needs.

You have the right to have a family member or friend receive breastfeeding information from a staff member if you request it.

The complete text of the “Mothers’ Bill of Rights” is available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Russian, and Haitian Creole.

The WHO document, “10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” sets the stage for breastfeeding at birth.  New York State now lays out a clear path of expectations for mothers and babies both at birth, in medical centers, and in the community.  Mothers who encounter obstacles nursing in public are invited to bring complaints to the New York State Division of Human Rights.

This bill of rights has attitude and I hope mothers in New York are empowered by its language.  Language this strong demonstrates a community expectation of breastfeeding.

Bravo, New York!

—  Susan

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