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Are you just settling down after a whirlwind of a holiday filled with pumping or breastfeeding sessions in airport bathrooms? If you found yourself hunched over a bathroom toilet expressing milk for your little one, know that you’re not alone. Finding a clean, accessible, private space to pump or nurse your baby can be downright impossible when you’re traveling. A recent survey of 100 airports found that while 62% reported being “breastfeeding friendly”, only 8% met the minimum requirements for a breastfeeding mother.
That is why Senator Tammy Duckworth and Representative Stephen Knight have introduced the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act of 2017 to require all medium and large airports to provide private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for mothers to express breast milk. “Finding a clean and private space to breastfeed or pump breast milk in an airport can be burdensome and stressful, if not impossible,” Duckworth wrote in an op-ed for the Chicago Sun Times. “It’s not uncommon for moms to be directed to a bathroom. We would never ask our fellow travelers to eat their meals in bathrooms stalls, yet we ask new mothers to feed their children while sitting on a toilet seat.”
If passed, airports would have two years to comply with the bill and provide private accommodation after the security checkpoint. The space would include a place to sit, a flat surface, and an electrical outlet. So, hopefully, the next time you travel and need to nurse or pump, there will be one less thing for you to worry about and you will be able to express your milk in a comfortable location.