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Airports Unfriendly for Breastfeeding Travelers

A recent phone survey of customer service reps from 100 U.S. airports found that 62 felt their airport was “breastfeeding friendly.” Breastfeeding mothers are unlikely to agree; only 37 had any designated lactation space—and 25 were restrooms. Those would not meet the criteria of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which specifies that the employers provide breastfeeding mothers with a space that is not a restroom, is shielded from view, and is free from intrusion. Since many mothers pass through airports (including 55.8 percent of employed women with a child under 1, as well as airport employees), many lack an appropriate place to pump. The traveler may make arrangements at her destination, but what can she do in transit? Airports, like other public buildings, are less than ideal for supporting the AAP’s recommendation that infants receive their mother’s milk for at least the first year. Listen as Marie and Joan Ortiz discuss this challenge to breastfeeding success.

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