header graphic  
Connect with Onondaga County Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On X (Twitter) Watch Us On Youtube
select a topic
Like Us On Facebook Our YouTube Channel
Accredited Health Department
Onondaga County Health Department is nationally accredited and meets rigorous public health standards necessary to best serve the needs of our community.
BFFNY Header  




John H. Mulroy Civic Center, 9th Floor

421 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone 315.435.3280



Program Overview

Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly New York (BFFNY) is a program funded by the New York State Department of Health that helps to establish and support communities as places where it is easier to start and continue chest/breastfeeding, especially in low-income and racially and ethnically diverse communities. Learn more here.


Program Goals

  • Increase the number of healthcare practices, worksites, and community or public spaces that develop policies and implement practices supportive of breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and lactation. BFFNY will help with policy development and implementing supportive practices, including setting up dedicated lactation rooms.
  • Increase the number of lactation support groups that provide high-quality and culturally responsive support. Groups will be inclusive and reflect the diversity of their communities.
  • Increase the number of community coalitions (in communities of focus) working to identify service gaps and implement strategies to overcome barriers.


Communities of Focus

  • City of Syracuse
  • Onondaga Nation
  • Town of Van Buren


Long-term Outcomes

  • Increased chest/breastfeeding initiation and duration in communities of focus
  • Reduced racial/ethnic and community disparities in chest/breastfeeding initiation and duration
  • Improved health in communities of focus
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases in NYS


Inclusive Language Statement:

The Onondaga County Health Department seeks to use inclusive language to recognize diversity in gender and gender identity and recent changes in language to support diversity and inclusion in infant human milk feeding. On this website, several terms breastfeeding, chestfeeding, nursing, and lactating – are used interchangeably to describe feeding human milk (from donor or birth parent) via a bottle, cup, spoon, syringe, breast, or at the chest. Some of the links to other websites may contain gendered language.




Healthcare Practices


Health care providers play an integral role in promoting and supporting the decision to chest/breastfeed. Promotion and support begins during preconception care and continues through prenatal, postpartum, and ongoing care of the pregnant person, the infant, and the family. Providers are vital sources of expertise to communicate the advantages of chest/breastfeeding and the risks of not chest/breastfeeding, help promote exclusivity, and enable long-term chest/breastfeeding success based on the parent’s intentions. For more information and resources on how to become a Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly Practice, visit the New York State Department of Health website and see this printable PDF.


About the Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly Practice Designation

The NYS Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly Practice Designation is awarded to eligible health care practices in NYS that achieve all New York State Ten Steps.


Purpose of the Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly Practice Designation

To guide and assist health care providers and office staff in outpatient settings to improve the continuity of care and advance health equity for all families by implementing strategies supportive of breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and lactation that are culturally responsive to and inclusive of all families served.


Health Care Practices including pediatric, Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), Family Medicine, Midwifery, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the City of Syracuse, Onondaga Nation, and the Town of Van Buren have the opportunity to pursue the Lactation-Friendly Practice designation through the Onondaga County Health Department. For more information, please contact Laura Vasquez, Community Health Counselor, at 315-435-3280 or LauraVasquez@ongov.net.


Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Friendly Practices

Practices by County





Section 206-c of the New York State Labor Law gives all employees in NY the right to express breast milk in the workplace. This law applies to all public and private employers in NY State, regardless of size or the nature of their business. More details here (PDF).


What Does This Mean for Employers?

  • Employers must provide a private room or alternative location for the purpose of chest/ breast milk expression. The space provided CANNOT be a restroom or toilet stall. The room must:
    • Be close to an employee’s work area
    • Provide good natural or artificial light
    • Be private - both shielded from view and free from intrusion
    • Have accessible, clean running water nearby
    • Have an electrical outlet (if the workplace is supplied with electricity)
    • Include a chair
    • Provide a desk, small table, counter or other flat surface
  • If the workplace has a refrigerator, employers must allow employees to use it to store chest/breast milk.
  • Employers must provide reasonable paid or unpaid break time for their employees to express chest/breast milk for up to three years following childbirth.
  • Employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employees for choosing to express chest/breast milk in the workplace.


Business Benefits

  • Lower health care costs
  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Higher retention rates


Are you in Compliance?

Worksites in the City of Syracuse, Onondaga Nation, and the Town of Van Buren have the opportunity to pursue the Lactation-Friendly Worksite designation through the Onondaga County Health Department. For more information, please contact Laura Vasquez, Community Health Counselor, at 315-435-3280 or LauraVasquez@ongov.net. .



Community and Public Spaces


BFFNY will help to create environments that proactively promote, protect, and support chest/breastfeeding throughout the community, in spaces where families live, work, play, worship, shop, travel, receive services, and raise children. More details here (PDF).


Benefits of Human Milk and Chest/Breastfeeding


Human milk:

  • Provides nutrients to help babies grow and develop
  • Changes as the baby grows
  • Is more easily digested and absorbed
  • Lowers an infant’s risk for developing infections and diseases
  • Can help lower a lactating parent’s risk of certain health conditions
  • Saves money


The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for about the first 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or longer. Learn more here (PDF).


What is Chestfeeding?

The term chestfeeding is used to be more inclusive.

  • Chestfeeding can be used as a way for transgender and nonbinary parents to describe how they feed and nurture their babies after childbirth by feeding them milk from their chest.
  • Chestfeeding might also be the preferred term for people who have experienced trauma.
  • Chestfeeding can also refer to using a feeding tube attached to the nipple, also called a supplemental nursing system.


Barriers to Chest/Breastfeeding

60% of lactating parents stop breastfeeding sooner than they planned. How long a parent chest/breastfeeds their baby is influenced by many factors, including:

  • Issues with lactation and latching
  • Concerns about infant nutrition and weight
  • Parents’ concerns about taking medications while chest/breastfeeding
  • Lack of support in the workplace
  • Cultural norms and lack of family support
  • Unsupportive hospital and healthcare practices
  • Lack of access to community supports


Are you Ready to Make a Difference?

Community and Public Spaces in the City of Syracuse, Onondaga Nation, and the Town of Van Buren have the opportunity to pursue the Lactation-Friendly Community/Public designation through the Onondaga County Health Department. For more information, please contact Laura Vasquez, Community Health Counselor, at 315-435-3280 or LauraVasquez@ongov.net.



Lactation Support Groups


Parents need support and information throughout their chest/breastfeeding journey. The following are FREE lactation support groups in Syracuse, NY.


La Leche League Syracuse

  • Monthly in-person
  • Check out their Facebook page for most up-to-date time and day of their breastfeeding support group sessions
  • Hazard Branch Library: Downstairs Meeting Room, 1620 W Genesee St, Syracuse, NY 13204
  • (315) 623-0555


Sankofa Reproductive Health & Healing Center

  • Private, Virtual or In-person Appointments for Imani Breastfeeding: Lactation Counseling and Infant Feeding Support
  • 2331 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13205
  • Website | 315-920-2787


Upstate Community Hospital Family Birth Center

Upstate Best Beginnings Program: Breastfeeding Café

  • Every Thursday 11 am – 12 pm, hybrid (in-person and virtual)
  • For more information and to register, visit their website
  • 4900 Broad Road, Syracuse, NY 13215, Physician Office Building-South Suite 2A (park in garage and go to 2nd floor)
  • 315-492-5153





Central New York Breastfeeding Connection (CNYBFC)

The CNYBFC is a regional organization of Lactation Consultants, Nurses, Dieticians, La Leche League, Doulas, Educators, Doctors, and Midwives committed to:

  • Promoting breastfeeding in all communities
  • Enabling the family to make an informed choice about feeding methods
  • Protecting the breastfeeding family through the sharing of accurate information
  • Supporting the breastfeeding family with information and resources
  • Providing information and resources to health care providers who help new families in our community ​
  • Meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month at 12:00 pm. They are are hybrid (in-person at Upstate Community Hospital or virtual). 
  • To join this FREE coalition, email cnybreastfeedingconnection@gmail.com


New York State Breastfeeding Coalition (NYSBC)

The NYSBC is an organization made up of lactation consultants, health care providers, regional breastfeeding coalitions and the major statewide maternal and child health organizations.


United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC)

The USBC is a national coalition of about 140 organizational members representing nonprofits (national, state, local, and community), breastfeeding coalitions, and federal agencies working to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and human milk feeding.




Breastfeeding, Chestfeeding, and Lactation Resources


For Parents


For Employers




This project is supported with funds from the State of New York



footer graphic  

To Provide Feedback About the Disability Accessibility of An Onondaga County Department's Website, Click Here to Access the Department's Contact Page

© 2001-  Onondaga County, New York  All Rights Reserved.   |  Ongov.net  |  Privacy Statement | Directions & Parking | Language or Disability Access Assistance