The Right to Express Milk

Breastfeeding in public has gained acceptance, but milk expression often continues to be seen as a disgusting bodily function analogous to urination or sex, which should be confined to the private sphere. Yet, milk expression is often a necessary component of successful lactation and equal citizenship. What is missing from the literature on lactation is work that focuses on milk expression and its legal implications beyond the workplace, from the regulation of breast pumps as medical devices to the question of whether public milk expression should be protected. Grounded in feminist legal theory, this paper fills the gap by arguing that milk expression should be legally protected and supported via a combination of food and drug law, public health law, work law, and insurance law. Lactating parents not only need access to affordable, high-quality pumping education and technology, but also they should have the right to express milk in every space where they have the right to be.