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Blogs Report on the Nurse In

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As expected, the blogosphere has been buzzing all week about Emily Gillette getting kicked off a plane for breast feeding. I’ve found some interesting posts after yesterday’s nurse in and I’ll keep adding to this entry throughout the day if I find more.
Jennifer at The Lactivist writes about a run-in with an airport representative in Port Columbus, Ohio.
Chris Musser, The Reluctant Lactivist, was one of 40 moms and kids at the airport in Portland, Oregon. She describes the scene:
We got a warm reception from travellers who happened by and from the Delta employees we spoke with (I made a point of urging them to speak with their bosses about getting a written breastfeeding policy in place, which Delta is currently refusing to do). One woman…I’m guessing a former breastfeeding mom…walk by us chanting, “Yay! Breastfeeding!” I saw a number of people stop and give moms kudos to their advocacy. The director of the Port of Portland approached us about our plans and was quite positive. I had stickers with the breastfeeding icon on them which I was handing out to participants and the press…I offered him some, explaining the purpose of the icon, and he asked for multiple copies. Perhaps PDX will be one of the first airports to adopt the icon!
The Mommy Blawg, which is about the intersection of motherhood and the law, examines what happened at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Moms were turned away by the police. She writes:
Texas Health & Safety Code § 165.002. RIGHT TO BREAST-FEED. A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
Ah, how simple. Is it really to much to ask that police officers be familiar with the law? The statue was only enacted eleven years ago, so maybe the word hasn’t gotten out yet.

Ms. Booty Homemaker was at the airport in Nashville, Tennessee. She writes:
With the exception of perhaps two or three quizzical glances, we nursing families were met with great welcome, kindness and support. Two older women who’d nursed their babies years ago stopped to congratulate us and cheer us onward. One even was interviewed by the news. Another older couple stopped to speak with some mamas; the gentleman worked for Delta and wanted to express his support of us. An airport employee gave stickers to all the kids and an American Airlines flight attendant stopped to tell us that not all in her profession were offended by breastfeeding, that she herself was so glad to see us.
On The Huffington Post, Erin Kotecki Vest writes an entry called “My Tits and My Toddler Fly The Unfriendly Skies”:
I’m curious as to why those of you squeamish types can’t seem to handle a little boob. Is it because you want it to stay stuffed in a Victoria Secret bra instead of in a baby’s mouth? Does it make you uncomfortable to see what God clearly intended as man’s plaything and not a tool of nutrition used in such a vulgar manner?
Here’s another good one from The Huffington Post. Russell Shaw writes, “Bless The Moms Who Breastfeed in Public Places”:
The height of hypocrisy is that some of the same people who totally object to a mother breast-feeding her child in a public place are some of the same people who vote for “family values” conservative politicians. Although discretion is certainly appropriate in some crowded public places, and a concealing blanket isn’t a bad idea, I cannot think of a “family value” more basic than a mother feeding her child.
Finally, Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine actually linked to Mama Knows Breast when I wrote my entry about how the internet enabled all of these moms across the country to work together. The phenonemon is known as a smart mob, so he aptly titled his piece, “A Mob of Moms.”

2 Responses to “Blogs Report on the Nurse In”

I think it’s awful that a nursing mother can’t bring back chilled breast milk to her baby in carry on luggage. Beside the tremendous health benefits available to all breastfed babies, I have another motivation: My baby can’t have formula as a precautionary measure due to his brother’s once severe food allergies. He has to have enough breast milk on hand to last during my absence before I travel away from him. That means that I have to successfully get chilled milk back to him after a trip or I cannot travel again for up to two weeks for every day away (that’s how long it takes me to get one day’s worth of pumped milk by staying up very late to pump at a time he would not be eating). I hope breast milk will soon be recognized as an important medical substance that should travel on planes for extra protection like blood products. That said, I found a way that worked to get chilled milk back in checked luggage, and am describing it here in hopes of helping other traveling nursing moms. Coincidentally, I did this on Nurse-In day and pumped during a flight delay as discreetly as I could muster in public at an airport.
I purchased two Fridge-to-go bags ( that are tested to keep contents at refrigerator temperatures for 8 hours. I stayed at a suites hotel that had a refrigerator and microwave oven. (For my next trip, I requested both for a standard hotel room, and will get them at no charge since this is seen as a medical need.) Each morning, I pulled out four Avent gel freezer packs from the tiny freezer compartment in the fridge to protect the milk I’d pump away from the hotel during the day. I pumped into hard bottles, which seemed safer than using nursing bags given how much my breast pump would be toted around from meeting to meeting. When I returned to the hotel, I transferred the pumped milk to Gerber zip top breast milk bags. They’re advertised as leakproof, and they’re fairly thick plastic. I then labeled a double zipper quart sized storage bag for each two Gerber milk bags with date and order (first bag, second bag, etc.). I packed 3 oz. of dishwashing detergent to clean things and used an Avent microwave steam sterilizer that barely fit in the room microwave after I removed the turntable. The microwave’s wattage was not listed, so I tested its strength by cooking something. It took the normal amount of cook time, so I heated the sterilizer for just slightly longer than I would have at home. The night before I was going to travel home, I asked the hotel to put the two Fridge-to-go bags in a commercial freezer. Just before checking out, I transfered my pumped milk to them, putting an Avent gel pack between almost every two quart sized zip top bags. They fit nicely, with one quart-sized bag taking up about the full width of the cooler bags, which are designed to fit two soda cans side by side. I double and triple checked the seals on both the Gerber bags and the quart-sized bags. Finally, I put the Fridge-to-Go bags inside of plastic shopping bags in case of leaks, and I further insulated them as well as protecting against other damage by packing clothes all around. I put the cooler bags in the suitcase so the tops of the bags, which are the only sides not lined with hard, protective built-in freezer packs, were toward the inside of the case, not the top or bottom. My flight was delayed, so the milk ended up being in the Fridge-to-go bags right at 8 hours. When I unpacked them, the milk was very cold, at least as cold as if it had just come from the refrigerator, and not a drop had leaked despite severe turbulence on the plane. It was a lot of hassle, and some expense for the Fridge-to-go and Gerber bags, but well worth bringing about 140 oz. of breast milk back to my baby.

This whole issue goes beyond airports. I was in a Target the other day and it was time for my daughter to eat. I went to the dressing room and asked if I could use one to feed my daughter. The lady working at the fitting rooms told me “they really don’t like for us to let people do that and my manager is standing right over there. Can you just grab a few pieces of clothing so it looks like you are trying something on…” I was so angry! Of corse, my daughter was hungry so what choice did I have, I grabbed a few shirts off of the rack and pretended to try them on. How awful! In retrospect(sp?) I should have asked to talk to a manager but I was so angry at the time, I probably would have just sounded like a ranting lunatic.

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