Traveling with a newborn baby can be stressful, and it’s even more anxiety-inducing when mothers can’t find a private place in airports to breastfeed. Usually, if they want a bit of privacy, they’re forced to express milk in public toilet stalls, which isn’t the most comfortable or hygienic situation. Now mothers traveling in US airports won’t have to worry about that, thanks to a new law that took effect earlier this month. The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act, part of the broader Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2018, requires all large and medium-sized US airports to provide a designated space in each terminal for breastfeeding or pumping. The space must also have a lockable door, table, electrical outlet, and be accessible to those with disabilities.
Mona Liza Hamlin, chair of the US Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), said in a statement, “No one likes delays, but for people who are lactating, extra time in the airport can mean finding a place to express milk or risking a swindling milk supply or even infection.” Amelia Psmythe, interim executive cirector of the USBC, added, “An airport is just one of many environments where people face challenges trying to find a clean, private space to nurse or pump…these new provisions help ensure that all lactating travelers have a smooth and supported experience.”
The new act is part of the government’s broader mission to make airports more accommodating for breastfeeding travelers. In comes on the heels of the BABES Act, passed last year, which requires TSA officers to undergo educational training on breastfeeding equipment travelers may be carrying aboard.