What rights do you have as a breastfeeding mom in Kansas?
Congratulations on your new baby! Odds are you are one of the 77% of Kansas moms that has ever breastfed a baby. While breastfeeding your baby might feel like a natural thing to you, it is important to know your rights regarding breastfeeding and pumping for your baby.
Here at Mid Kansas Doula Services we encourage families to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. If nursing your baby is the best decision for you and your family, here are some things you should know…
Breastfeeding in Public Places-
I’ll be honest. This statute is one that makes me proud to live in Kansas. I have no bias towards how a mother feeds her baby, I do care, though with how her state treats such choice. Here is what Kansas says about nursing in Public:
65-1,248. (a) Breast milk is widely acknowledged to be the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infant’s health, growth, immunity and development and has also been shown to improve maternal health and bonding in addition to contributing to society at large through economic and environmental gains, it is therefore the public policy of Kansas that a mother’s choice to breastfeed should be supported and encouraged to the greatest extent possible.
(b) A mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.
Breastfeeding and Pumping at Work-
What rights do you have when you get back to the office? One important thing to remember is some rules only apply to employers that have over 50 employees. If you’re working for a small firm, we suggest you work with your employer to arrange an appropriate place to nurse or pump that you feel comfortable with. Here is what the law says:
Employers are required to provide a “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” 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.”
A bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location under the Act.
What the law says about getting compensated during pumping breaks:
Employers are not required under the FLSA to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies.
Breastfeeding while on Jury Duty-
There is a short list of things that will allow you to be excused from Jury Duty in Kansas. Breastfeeding is one of those! This is what the statute says:
43-158. The following persons shall be excused from jury service:
(e) a mother breastfeeding her child. Jury service shall be postponed until such mother is no longer breastfeeding the child.
How to file a formal complaint-
If you are discriminated against because of your breastfeeding choices, don’t hesitate to speak up! Kansas laws are clear as to the expectations they hold.
If you are treated poorly for nursing your child in a public space, we suggest that you print a copy of the Kansas Statute and present it to the business or organization at fault. Contacting a lawyer might be a good option as well.
If your employer is unwilling to accommodate your needs regarding nursing and/or pumping, you can file a formal complaint here: United States Department of Labor: How to file a formal complaint
As with anything, know your rights and do not feel guilty about exercising those rights!
Here is some more information about the laws in other states and how they compare to Kansas: Breastfeeding State Laws