We’re less than a month away from Thanksgiving weekend, one of the busiest travel times of the year. Flying even a short distance has become such an unpleasant process. You have to cope with the crowds of people, wait in endless security lines, deal with flight delays, plus the anxiety caused by missed connections and lost luggage. But as any mother will tell you, there’s nothing more stressful than trying to nurse a baby in the midst of all that chaos, much less finding a comfortable place to do so.
The new federal law will eliminate that stress for nursing mothers who are traveling. It supports the notion that breastfeeding is permitted in public, but gives women access to a quiet area if that’s what they prefer.
The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (FAM) of 2017 bill, part of the five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that President Trump signed earlier this month, requires all large and medium airports to create a lactation room in every terminal past the security checkpoint. Airports will not be allowed to designate their public restrooms as lactation rooms.
Additional requirements include:
- A door that locks
- Full access to people with disabilities
- Seating, a table, or other flat surface
- Electrical outlet
The bill was introduced to Congress by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Stephen Knight (R-CA). Duckworth is the first Senator to give birth while in office, and she expressed a frustration that too many mothers experience in airports in an op-ed she wrote last year:
“I quickly realized that finding a clean, accessible, private space was stressful and inordinately difficult … At many airports, I was redirected to a bathroom, forced to pump in a bathroom stall.”
Imalac believes that having designated lactation rooms should not confine women to one space for breastfeeding, as it is permitted in all 50 states. This change allows women to have the choice to nurse in private or in public, whichever they feel most comfortable with at an airport. The bill permits airports to use existing improvement funds to build private, clean, and accessible lactation spaces at no extra cost for taxpayers. This legislation follows closely behind breastfeeding in public becoming legal in the U.S., making 2018 a landmark year for nursing mothers and their rights.
Our device, Nurture by Imalac, a hands-free device that mimics hand expression when used alone or while pumping, will help ensure that mothers can pump and nurse their babies with ease, even in busy locations such as an airport. Sign up to receive regular updates on our progress, and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.