An Austin Texas woman and new mom thought she would have a place to pump her breast milk at LAX airport but she was in for a big surprise.
Haley Picchini ended up using a crowded messy janitors closet to pump breast milk before boarding her flight. Although progress is being made, many airports just aren’t suitable for breastfeeding mothers yet.
U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth recently introduced The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act of 2015, which would require “all medium and large hub airports” to provide breastfeeding areas. That would include a room that provides; a location for members of the public to express breast milk that is shielded from view, has a door that can be locked, a place to sit, a table or other flat surface, and an electrical outlet.
According to CBS Haley said:
“I was mortified,” she said. “I was scared. I didn’t want to do anything that would endanger my baby.”
Picchini said both on the day she arrived and when she left she tried to find a place to pump.
Signs directing her to a mothers’ area seemed to lead nowhere; one worker said there was a nursing room in Terminal 7, another thought Terminal 6 and another suggested finding a less busy area in between terminals.
“That’s like someone telling you that you should sit and have a bowel movement, covered of course, in the middle of two gates where people can see you,” Picchini said.
Picchini said she paid $50 for a pass into a United Airlines lounge. But there, after she set up near a power outlet in the hallway, she says said was directed to a storage room.
A United spokesperson said that while workers did ask Picchini if she wanted a more private spot, they did not insist or require her to move there.
“It happens every single day, and for a nursing mom every three to four hours a day. It can’t really wait,” Picchini said.