Laws That Support Breastfeeding Among Hospital Maternity Patients

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) aimed at promoting hospital policies that encourage and support breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly USA, the organization with primary responsibility for implementing BFHI in the United States, has outlined 10 evidence-based practices (called the “10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”) that hospitals can implement to support breastfeeding. These practices include, for example, having a written breastfeeding policy, training staff on the skills necessary for implementing the policy, rooming-in, encouraging breastfeeding on demand, and informing women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding. Several states have enacted statutes or regulations that support breastfeeding among maternity patients by encouraging or requiring hospitals to adopt one or more of these breastfeeding-supportive practices.

This map identifies key features of state laws and regulations regarding recommendations or requirements for hospitals related to any of the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. It also includes state laws recommending or requiring certain hospital discharge practices related to breastfeeding. The laws included here are in effect as of April 1, 2018.

Quick Facts

Policy Questions