Are Airports Lying to Nursing Moms - Are They Really Breastfeeding Friendly?
Traveling moms don’t have it easy. There’s a lot of coordination that goes into plane traveling with young children or a newborn. You have to think about how you’re going to maneuver the airports and get your children from point A to point B seamlessly. In a perfect world it would be seamless but moms often have to deal with luggage, strollers, car seats for the plane, entertaining children or keeping a newborn calm during a flight, stares and comments from less than understanding passengers and then the whole fiasco de-boarding. But what if you are a nursing mom? Traveling with kids or not if a mom is nursing she will also need to coordinate time to breastfeed or breast pump.
According to a study done by Intrepid Travel in 2012, 63% of travelers are women between the ages of 25 and 39. And according to Forbes 85% of consumer purchases and 80% of travel decisions are made by women.
Are airports ready to accommodate moms? Recently legislation created by Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (Illinois) proposed for all airports to have nursing room accommodations for moms by 2016. After further research and survey done by Moms Pump Here LLC we found that many airports are still missing the grade on nursing room accommodations. Many still believe that a bathroom or family bathrooms are nursing rooms. Ideally, if an adult will not eat in a bathroom nor prepare a meal on a toilet why would we subject our babies to this? With fecal matter dispersed into the air by flushing toilets and germs a bathroom is not where a mom should be expressing milk.
Every nursing room, mother’s lounge, suite or parents room must have the following minimum requirements to be considered proper accommodations for nursing mothers:
• A comfy chair
• Table/changing table
• Trash disposal
Additional amenities can include:
• A nearby bathroom
• Play area
Recently we’ve encountered and contacted airports that have mislabeled bathrooms as nursing rooms or baby care centers. For example, Salt Lake City Airport in Utah had three family restrooms labeled as infant care rooms with toilets right near seating and Reagan International Airport labeled a toilet stall in a bathroom a nursing room. Another culprit was Baltimore Washington International Airport. It does not have a dedicated nursing station as their website stated. They turned out to be bathrooms labeled nursing stations.
Currently in the Moms Pump Here Nursing Room Locator App and website there are over 200 major airports listed (over 1,500 locations total in the USA, Canada and Australia). Nursing mothers participate actively by submitting locations to our database and providing reviews of locations they have checked into. Each location is vetted for the safety of nursing moms by the Moms Pump Here team.
Nursing mothers are encouraged to do research ahead of traveling into an airport and share their experiences with the Moms Pump Here community. Below is a list of US based airports we surveyed as meeting Moms Pump Here’s minimal requirements for nursing room spaces:
3. JFK Airport
22. Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport - Adams Field Airport (Maybe, It says there's also Toiletry)
24. Orlando International Airport (Only Recent in October 2015)
*Out of 357 Major and Regional US airports total, ONLY the 40 listed above actually have a space that qualifies as dedicated nursing mothers room/lounge.