For women who travel or work at airports, breastfeeding just became a little bit easier!
On Friday, October 5, 2018, a bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill was signed into law, with provisions of the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act. These provisions, introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Stephen Knight (R-CA-25) in May 2017, require all large and medium hub airports to maintain a lactation area in each passenger terminal for mothers to breastfeed or express milk in privacy. The United States Breastfeeding Committee has played an important role in advocating for the FAM Act, and provides a host of resources for travelers and those who work with new families.
The FAM Act requires that airport lactation areas meet five requirements:
Perhaps you have already begun seeing small lactation “pods” or visible signage of private nursing moms’ areas in airports. The website, Mom Aboard, began listing locations of nursing rooms and facilities at some of the country’s busiest airports. Their locator found that 28 airports currently provide private spaces, though not all necessarily meet the new requirements of the FAM Act. In addition, the Breastfeeding Anywhere site lists nursing rooms at airports around the world, expanding awareness of the importance of supporting breastfeeding moms.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control provides travel tips for breastfeeding moms, and TSA guidelines indicate that breastmilk can be brought in carry-on bags, and you do not need to travel with your child in order to bring breastmilk.
As the momentum for breastfeeding support continues, the FAM Act takes us an important step forward to normalize breastfeeding in American society, as well as making it easier for breastfeeding women and airport employees to continue breastfeeding their infants.