Nursing Mother's Breast Milk Seized by Airport Security

tsa

Airport Security: Not Breastfeeding Friendly

By now, you’ve probably heard some horror stories from people who have dealt with the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) and the new airport screening regulations.

But CBS News’ “The Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill knows firsthand how upsetting getting through airport security can be.

I cried today at airport security. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and despite my best efforts, I’m almost positive my lip quivered, Hill writes over at CBS Eye on Parenting.

What got her so upset? Did they touch her “junk” or sexually assault her? No. Hill describes what happened:

There were no pat downs, no high-tech body scanners. There were simply two small bags of milk. Just over 15 ounces, gone.

Any woman who has nursed or pumped will tell you the milk is liquid gold. It’s not a cutesy term; it’s an understatement. So you can imagine the way my heart sunk as I had to leave several servings of liquid gold with a security agent tonight at London’s Heathrow airport.

I had checked ahead: by all accounts, I could carry expressed milk on board international ly just as I often do domestically, even when traveling without a baby. Those accounts were wrong.

As a working nursing mother, Hill has pumped in airport restroom stalls, borrowed offices and even in a parked car. “It’s one of the least glamorous, inconvenient and intensely satisfying things I’ve ever done,” she writes.

But she’s infuriated by the mixed messages that mothers receive about breastfeeding. They are told that “breast is best,” but  when it comes to actually accommodating the needs of a nursing mother, all bets are off.

For the record, airport security should have allowed Hill to bring her breast milk on board.

According to TSA’s web site, “Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.” They are now including breast milk in the same category as liquid medications.

The web site reassures people that they will not be asked to taste breast milk or formula. There are a number of other requirements, however. The milk must be separated from other items in a zip-top bag, declared to a security officer at the security checkpoint and presented for additional inspection at the X-ray. Hill said that she researched the requirements in advance and adhered to them.

But as perceptive commenters have pointed out, this incident occurred at Heathrow, therefore, TSA was not involved. Still, security officers should know better than to dump a mother’s hard-earned “liquid gold.”

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photo: flickr/redjar

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