State Law

woman and baby

In 1999, legislation passed in Missouri that allows a mother, with as much discretion as possible, to breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be (Section 191.918, RSMo). In addition, the legislation requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers that provide obstetrical care to provide new mothers with information on breastfeeding and the benefits to the child, and to offer breastfeeding consultations where appropriate as determined by the attending physician (Section 191.915, RSMo).

House Bill 1320 (effective August 28, 2014) made the following revisions to the state breastfeeding law:

  • The language was changed from“with as much discretion as possible” to “with discretion.”
  • The act of breastfeeding in public shall not constitute sexual contact or be considered an act of public indecency.
  • A municipality shall not enact an ordinance prohibiting or restricting a mother from breastfeeding.
  • Any nursing mother, upon her request, and with a completed written statement from her physician, shall be excused from jury duty (Section 494.430, RSMo).

To learn more about breastfeeding laws in other states click here. Additional resources for breastfeeding in public can be found on the Women's Health website.

Federal Law

Effective March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended Section 7 of the Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

The Wage and Hour Fact Sheet #73 “Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA” and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Department of Labor website provide basic information about the law.

How to File a Complaint
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for administering and enforcing some of the nation's most important worker protection laws.