Posts Tagged ‘flight attendant’

Your Rights In-Flight: Nursing on an Airplane

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Your Rights In-FLight: Nursing on an Airplane

Can nursing moms be required to pump or cover up on a flight?

That question is at the heart of a media firestorm between Delta and a breastfeeding mom. Delta is not the only airline that has been in the media over the subject of breastfeeding.  This leads many moms to wonder if breastfeeding while flying is a good idea, allowed, or even legal. The answer is: YES!

First of all, know that you never need to ask someone if it’s OK to breastfeed your baby. In many countries around the world including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the law sides with the breastfeeding mom. Breastfeeding while flying can lead to a happier baby and less to pack in the carry-on bag for mom. I have breastfed both of my babies on airplanes, and thankfully never had anyone comment in a negative way.

Pointers for Breastfeeding on an Airplane:

  • If possible, choose a seat where you will be comfortable. I prefer a window seat while nursing; I feel like it is easier to be discreet. If your baby has a favorite side when nursing, take that into consideration when choosing which side of the plane to sit on.
  • If you are traveling alone and are more comfortable sitting next to a female while breastfeeding, ask a flight attendant if this is possible.
  • Dress for nursing ease; I usually wear a tank underneath a shirt or cardigan. This makes it easy for me to nurse and I often nurse without a cover when I dress this way. See more about dressing comfortably for nursing–with or without a cover–in this post.
  • Pack a nursing cover or blanket if your baby will nurse with a cover. Both of my babies nursed under covers when they were really young, but as they got older this was no longer possible.
  • Nurse during take-off and landing; this alleviates the pressure in your baby’s ears. Both your baby and your fellow passengers should thank you for this.

Most airlines do not have an official breastfeeding policy that can be easily found online. If you are looking to fly the most breastfeeding friendly airline, here are some comments from media relations of various airlines. This ambiguity could be what has led to airline employees telling moms they must cover up while nursing.

Ask to speak to another airline employee if you are treated unfairly; keep in mind you may be dealing with an uninformed employee if you receive negative comments. If a fellow passenger is rude or making you uncomfortable, you can ask that they are re-seated or if you can move next to a more accommodating passenger.

We love to travel with our children and have found flying with babies to be quicker and often more enjoyable than a long car ride. Nursing on airplanes is easy and within your rights as a mom.

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who has nursed both of her babies on multiple airlines without incident.