Two-way action would make air travel easier for new parents packing breast milk and formula

As the summer travel season approaches, teenage parents may travel through airports with their children and find it tough to provide food for them. Despite federal guidelines for airport agents on how to treat breastfeeding mothers, stories about problematic encounters with security staff sometimes go viral.

In 2023, an actress and singer Keke Palmer she said she was at the Houston airport when she was threatened with 16 ounces of breast milk. A year earlier, engineer and science TV host Emily Calandrelli said U.S. Transportation Security Agency officers escorted her off the line and told her to check partially thawed ice packs used to frigid breast milk.

“It was a very traumatic experience and was not consistent with TSA policy, which states that you are allowed to have it for medical reasons,” Calandrelli told States Newsroom.

In May 2022, she went on her first business trip away from her 10-week-old baby and traveled from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Calandrelli planned to pump after going through security at LAX, but TSA officers peppered her with questions about ice packs and she said it wouldn’t be a problem if her milk was already expressed.

“I spoke to three different men who worked at TSA and asked to speak to a woman, but I couldn’t,” she said.

Like Palmer, she shared the experience with her legions of followers on social media. Calandrelli said the agency later apologized. TSA issued statement shortly after the incident: “Our staff receive regular training to effectively engage and screen diverse traveler populations, including those who are breastfeeding and/or traveling with breast milk.”

Both women’s experiences violate TSA guidelines: Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby food are allowed on airplanes and in carry-on luggage in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces. Breast milk, formula and ice packs – as well as other cooling accessories – are considered medically necessary. Passengers are advised to notify TSA officers that they are carrying these items upon arrival at the airport security checkpoint.

Tina Sherman, doula and interim executive director of the American Breastfeeding Commission, says that despite such protections, many breastfeeding parents still encounter problems when traveling by plane, and these problems have physical and emotional side effects.

“Lactating parents need to pump fairly regularly to continue to maintain their milk supply,” Sherman said.

When they can’t express milk or the cycle is interrupted, mothers experience pain or leakage from their breasts, she added. In some cases, they can lead to long delays in pumping mastitis — infection causing breast swelling and cracked nipples. Sherman said that from an emotional standpoint, preventing or delaying pumping can make parents feel anxious, embarrassed and stressed.

Calandrella’s plight two years ago prompted her to contact a local congresswoman from California. Democratic U.S. Rep. Katie Porter was the first to introduce the legislation strengthen existing protection for breastfeeding parents in August 2022

“You need to have clear instructions and clear rules and make sure people are following them so that mothers can meet the standards,” Porter said. “There are many obstacles to breastfeeding. Feeding a baby and traveling with a baby comes with many challenges.”

Inspection of bottles and breastfeeding equipment (KIDS) The Improvements Act would require “hygienic handling of breast milk and infant formula” by TSA officers and private security companies. Porter’s Act would direct airport officials to “minimize the risk of contamination” of breast milk, formula and infant beverages, as well as ice or freezer packs and related cooling accessories.

Under the proposal, the agency must consult with maternal health organizations – the March of Dimes, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine – to determine what policies and regulations should apply in the updated as pumping technology and best practices for storing breast milk evolve, she added.

The BABES Act is an update to the Act Act of 2016 this required TSA training in special screening procedures for breastfeeding parents. The original law also allowed larger amounts of breast milk, formula and baby drinks – juice or purified water – to be carried in airports and on planes.

Chaired by lawmakers Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican from Florida, and Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California. co-sponsors At home. Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii along with Republican Senators Steve Daines of Montana and Ted Cruz of Texas sponsored bill in the upper house.

The bipartisan bill went nowhere last sessionbut Porter reintroduced proposal. She said the bill would soon go to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

As a mother of three, Porter knows all about the challenges of traveling with babies. Her children are now teenagers and teenagers, but when they were babies, airport lactation stations were uncommon. She said a flight attendant once told her to stop feeding her baby while the plane was still on the ground. Porter said she was enraged and scared, but most of all she was “worried about my baby who was hungry.”

As for the bill, he acknowledges that TSA agents have a tough job. But the BABES Act will support them “have clear policies and better training so they don’t end up in difficult situations when they’re dealing with frustrated parents,” she said.

Supporters say making travel easier for breastfeeding parents could alleviate greater stigma about breastfeeding. More than 80% of children are breastfed in infancyand according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58% of them are still drinking milk by the time they are 6 months elderly.

Still, earlier this month, an advertisement for breast pump cookies showing the cooking star’s covered breasts and pregnant belly was temporarily removed from a billboard in Times Square, it reports. New York Times.

“Normalizing breastfeeding and lactation is really crucial for families to achieve their breastfeeding goals,” Sherman said.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts