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Thread: Pumping at airports

  1. #1

    Default Pumping at airports

    Yesterday, I was harassed for pumping in a family restroom at the Baltimore airport (BWI) by a passenger and an airport employee. The woman waiting for the restroom nearly took down the door beating on it and both her and the airport employee were screaming at me for using that restroom without being handicapped or having my baby with me. This experience has made me afraid to pump at the airport again when I travel for work.

    What do other mothers do at the airport when your baby isn't with you? Also, can anyone point me at resources so next time I can be sure of what my legal rights are for pumping when I am away from my baby? Do laws protecting breastfeeding mothers from harassment also protect mothers who are pumping?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,710

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    Wow, that's terrible. Please write a letter to their administration to draw attention to this. I don't know what your legal rights are but there's just common decency and it's a health issue.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    I complained to a supervisor there, but I was pretty upset so I don't know how seriously they took me. My husband has been speaking to their customer relations department and media department about the incident. We are encouraging the airport to make employees aware of who is entitled to use the family restrooms (and one would think that mothers are included in this). If nursing mom's aren't supposed to be using the family restrooms for pumping, they need to provide a private place with an outlet to let mothers express milk.

    I mostly want to know what my legal rights are because if this happens again I want to know if I can get the police involved.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,965

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    I am sorry you had such an awful experience! I don't think you should feel ashamed or afraid for even one moment. On the contrary, I would write a letter to the airport and complain about the way their employee treated you and their lack of adequate family facilities. And in the future, I would use the family restroom without thinking even once about it. When you're pumping, you are providing for your family! What else is that room for?!!! I would also consider contacting the airports you're going to be using, and ask them about places where you can pump. There may be places in addition to the family restroom, some of which may be cleaner or more convenient.

    IDK if the laws protecting nursing mom are the same as those protecting pumping moms. There's a weird double standard about nursing vs. pumping- nursing in public is definitely legally protected in many places, but pumping in public... Not necessarily. I don't know what laws even touch on it. There are laws saying that some workplaces must have clean, non-bathroom pumping places. I'm just blathering, so here's a summary of state laws on breastfeeding: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/...tate-laws.aspx

    I'm curious: was the person who harassed you someone who was handicapped? Because if so, why wasn't she using the handicapped restroom? There are a lot more of those than there are family restrooms!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    I didn't even think to look for a family restroom. I just used the ladies room. I'm sorry they put you through that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    That's disgraceful and I'm sorry you were subjected to that rudeness. Excellent approach with the media relations team. If you work for a large company or made a booking through a travel service, you could double up and have those folks send complaints to the airport authority on your case, too. The last thing airports want to do is displease lucrative business travellers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    Ugh. How awful.

    Some airports have nursing rooms - Minneapolis is one. I pumped there. I had to get a key from a customer service person (one of those old lady local volunteers), and she regulated just 1 person at a time. Someone else had gone in 5 mins before I got there! But I asked if she could ask about sharing, and the other mom (who was also EPing, so had her baby with her) was happy to share with me.

    JFK, not so much. I pumped in one of those half-wall old telephone booths with a shawl. Luckily the terminal was deserted but it was super awkward.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    This makes me so angry. I would post a complaint to them on Twitter: @BWI_Airport. See https://twitter.com/BWI_Airport. They might be a little more motivated to correct this if their PR department is involved.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Manhattan, KS...for now.
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    1-855-NIP-FREE

    A new hotline to report incidents like this!
    Daniel Keith + Rachel Joy = Leonel Dante [4/13/2012]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,710

    Default Re: Pumping at airports

    Glad to hear that you're following up. Let us know what you find out and what their response is. This would be a prime target for a good old-fashioned nurse-in (err... pump-in??? that would be awesome!) if you don't get a useful response!

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