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By Texas WIC

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Texas Law, Regulations, and Guidelines

Mom Can Breastfeed in Public

Texas law states that a mother can breastfeed her baby anywhere she is allowed to be.

Public Employers Must Give Break Time and Private Space.

Texas government code Chapter 619 requires that public employers (state, county, or city governmental institutions, school districts, etc.) provide mothers a place to pump, other than a multiple user bathroom, as well as break time to do so. Employers may not suspend, fire, or discriminate against an employee for using these rights.

The Texas legislature created the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation to recognize public and private businesses that support breastfeeding.

Child Care Centers Must Provide a Place for Moms to Breastfeed.

Texas regulations require child care centers to have a comfortable place for breastfeeding. Centers must let all parents know they have the right to breastfeed or provide breastmilk for their child while in care. Learn more about Child Care Standards and Regulations.

The quality-based child care rating system, Texas Rising Star, supports breastfeeding in its guidelines too.

Federal Law, Regulations, and Guidelines

Employers Must Give Break Time and Private Space to Most Non-exempt Employees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide most “non-exempt” employees with a “reasonable break time” and a private space, other than a bathroom, for the expression of breastmilk, through the child’s first birthday.

If you are an employee who is “non-exempt,” or covered by section 7 of the FLSA (generally, employees entitled to overtime pay), you should be allowed breaks to express milk. Employees who are most commonly classified as exempt employees are white-collar, or executive, administrative, or professional employees. Employers are not required under the FLSA to provide breaks to nursing mothers who are exempt from the requirements of section 7. Even if you are classified as an exempt employee, your employer might be happy to allow time and space for you once you let them know what you need and why it is important. It is a good idea to develop a plan and talk to your employer about your return ahead of time.

Federal law also requires most health plans to cover breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling at no cost to the mother.

To find out if your job position should be classified as exempt or non-exempt, for more information about Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or to file a complaint, call 1-866-487-9243 or visit the US Department of Labor’s site on break time for nursing mothers.

Employers Cannot Discriminate Based on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Related Medical Conditions, Including Breastfeeding and Lactation.

Learn more about how these federal civil rights are related to working and breastfeeding by visiting the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement guidance website.

Educational Programs Cannot Discriminate.

If you’re a student, learn more about these protections in educational programs and activities or about guidance for supporting the academic success of pregnant and parenting students, including support of breastfeeding.

Find more information about Laws Protecting Working Moms at the WomensHealth.gov website.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Regulations

You Can Fly With Pumped Breastmilk.

Breastmilk for infants or toddlers is allowed through security at the airport. Most liquids, gels, and aerosols must be no bigger than 3.4 ounces, placed in a quart-sized bag, and removed from your carry-on bag for screening. There is an exception for breastmilk whether or not you are travelling with your child. There is also an exception for some other liquids if you are travelling with your baby. Be sure to tell the TSA Officer that you have “medically necessary liquids” at the beginning of the screening, and that you are travelling with breastmilk in your carry-on bag.

You may keep your breastmilk in its usual storage containers and you do not need to remove it from your carry-on bag at security. Many airports have special lanes for people traveling with items that need extra help through the screening process. Clearly labeling the containers to show that it is breastmilk may help with the security process. TSA officers will typically screen your breastmilk by X-ray. They may also need to screen it in other ways to make sure it is safe, and you may be asked to open the container. Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the breastmilk to be X-rayed or opened. In this case, you will need to go through additional screening procedures to pass through security, so allow extra time.

You may keep ice packs, frozen gel packs, or other accessories to cool your breastmilk in your carry-on bag. If these are partially melted or slushy, they will also need to go through additional screening.

If you are travelling with a breast pump, you can travel with the pump as a carry-on or you can check it. It will be screened in the same way that other carry-on items or checked baggage are screened.

During the screening process, if you find yourself being told to do something that you believe is incorrect, ask for a supervisor or manager.

Visit the TSA website for more information about traveling with breastmilk. The website has online customer service available. You can also call TSA’s Customer Service at 1-866-289-9673 or TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227.

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