Traveling Breastfeeding Moms

Old May 12, 17, 12:54 pm
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Traveling Breastfeeding Moms

After reading a forward-thinking article in the United Magazine by Lisen Stromberg on creating solutions for mothers in the workplace in which featured comfy spaces for breastfeeding moms to pump, I was delighted to see that the generation of my children is getting much better help than I did.

Shortly after putting down the magazine, I changed planes in Denver.

In the restroom, a young mother was standing up beside the hand-dryer pumping her breasts in the noisy, drafty, very public venue and struggling to deal with her equipment—and her dignity!

I asked if there might not be a more comfortable place where she would have privacy, and she said there was not, unless she took up a handicapped/family bathroom. I told her about the article and promised to write about it.

Surely it should be possible to have a place in your vast Denver terminal to accommodate breastfeeding mothers. Your clubs are lovely, but perhaps pumping mothers could get a free pass for this purpose to the ladies lounge, which could have a bench or some other set up.
I can’t imagine anyone resenting this.

My daughter travelled widely for her work when also pumping and was so thrilled to find hygienic spaces for this activity, which was important to her very allergic baby. Now we are expecting twin grandchildren and their mom often travels overseas and will need places to nurse and pump as well.

As I left the restroom, I told the mom that she was a hero for her family and to keep up the good work despite the hardships—but an apology shouldn’t be necessary.

What are other moms finding out there? Are any airlines more gracious in airports? What are the best airports for breastfeeding or pumping mamas?
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Old May 12, 17, 1:06 pm
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This is an ongoing widespread issue and there are a number of threads and more focused audience in Travel with Children forum. As such, will move this thread there to continue the discussion.

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Old May 12, 17, 1:10 pm
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When my wife was breast-feeding we came across these Mamava Pods at a couple of airports and they were a pretty neat solution - saw them at JAX and AUS and I believe others. If you take a look on their website, it shows some of the other locations.
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Old May 12, 17, 5:07 pm
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When we travel with our infants, I always research beforehand if any of the airports en route have nursing facilities. I usually just google search "<airport code> nursing". There are also resources like

Unfortunately many airports don't have dedicated nursing rooms or pods and instead direct nursing mothers to use the family bathrooms. I think this is an airport facilities issue, not an airline issue. Should provide feedback to the airports like DEN and suggest that they provide nursing rooms or pods.
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Old May 13, 17, 7:51 am
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ATL and a few other airports have the Minute Suites and provide the first 30 minutes free to nursing mothers.
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Old May 13, 17, 2:18 pm
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It's really a mixed bag. Some airports have places, others nothing, so I personally found I had to improvise a lot of times and plan layovers in airports that I found to have the best facilities. I did have a pump that could be charged, so I wasn't tied to having an outlet which helped, but still found myself pumping in bathrooms on occasion. (And subsequently dumping since I could never bring myself to feed my child milk pumped in a public restroom.) I always did my research ahead of time to know what I was going into and where to find available facilities as they are not always the easiest to find. (I also used the website noted by another person in this thread.) I do have access to the Delta club rooms, so I would sometimes use the showers in there if available (e.g., JFK), which I found reasonable alternatives for pumping and nursing. I do realize this is not an option for everyone though. I also found surprising that some of the smaller airports (e.g., Madison, Akron) had better facilities than the larger ones.

While I will say it was tricky at times, I do think more airports are getting on board with the idea that woman who are nursing travel. (One TSA agent also told me she is seeing it more.) Hopefully this results in additional facilities being added at airports across the country.

On a related note, I also found TSA agents to be hit or miss at the various airports about bringing breast milk through security when not travelling with a child. I had one instance when a TSA agent (in DTW) made me check my milk saying I was not allowed to bring it through security since I was not with my son..... I subsequently had the rules pulled up on my phone for easy reference every time I went through security should that instance arise again.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 11:55 am
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I traveled a lot while pumping (and bfeeding). my standard go-to was to look for standalone handicap/family bathroom. Considering the large number of bathrooms available in airports, I never felt bad about taking it up for such a long time. I've also pumped directly in terminal if i found a quiet corner where chairs could be arranged such that i was facing away from people in some dead-end. no possible in busy hubs like LGA, etc but some of the smaller airports had quiet nooks and crannies (public spaces). once covered up with a shawl, there wasn't anything exposed and no one ever gave me a hard time.
it was worse when i had to pump on planes - i i was sitting alone with no neighbor, i would do it in my seat, but on a packed flight, i'd go to the bathroom. THAT was a n-th circle of hell. most FAs were pretty sympathetic and didn't give me a hard time for occupying a bathroom for so long. once or twice they let me set up on their jumpseat in the galley.
i believe its getting better as i'm seeing more and more pods in terminals.
re: TSA - had same iffy experience. never had to dump milk (but sometimes took a few extra minutes of escalating to supervisor), but i no longer bothered with gel-packs as those got tossed too often. instead i just used ziplock bags and refilled with ice from food outlets and airplane as needed past security. never had a problem keeping milk cold.
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