Aug 10, 2013

Airport Nurse-In: Breastfeeding moms stage 'Nurse In' at American Airlines ticketing counter in protest at mom 'harassed' by flight attendant as she fed her baby

Airport Nurse-In: Breastfeeding moms stage 'Nurse In' at American Airlines ticketing counter in protest at mom 'harassed' by flight attendant as she fed her baby
Airport Nurse-In - More than 30 moms gathered together to breastfeed their babies as part of a ‘Nurse In’ protest in front of the American Airlines ticketing counter at Baltimore–Washington International Airport on Wednesday morning.

The protest was in reaction to the airline’s treatment of a mom on a flight last month when she ‘harassed’ for breastfeeding her five-month-old child.

While that woman wishes to remain anonymous, her friend Hannah Butta has taken up the cause and organized Wednesday’s protest.

‘When American Airlines asked our friend to cover up while she was breast feeding we knew that legally she was already given that right,’ Butta told ABC7, while breastfeeding her son.

‘We just had to stand up for it because we knew it was wrong,’

She, along with the other mothers, came together in support of their friend because they are very disappointed with how American Airlines has handled the situation.

The unnamed woman, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, was on a flight home from Los Angeles when her five month old became cranky and hungry.

She says she turned in her window seat and started to breast feed her child while her husband added extra protection in the middle seat.

The problem started, she says, when a flight attendant asked her to cover her child with a blanket to not make any other passengers uncomfortable.

They declined and felt that from that point on the attendant ‘avoided looking at us’ and didn’t offer them any drinks.

The woman wrote the airline to voice her concerns that the flight attendant displayed ‘inappropriate, harassment-style behavior.’

She received a reply in which the airline said that breast-feeding is allowed in flight, but ‘because of the offense that may be taken by others within the close confines of commercial aircraft, we simply ask that breast-feeding be done with a certain discretion and a sense of modesty.’

This contradicts the airline’s own manual which states: ‘Breast-feeding of infants is permitted during all phases of flight, F/As should not place restrictions or requirements on the mother of the infant.’

‘We believe it is reasonable that we ask the mother to cover up in an appropriate manner during the feeding and by your account it appears that you were sensitive to this need.’

Butta, who identified herself as a 'dear friend' of the mom on the flight, posted the airline’s letter on Facebook and it has been shared more than 7,5000.

The American Airlines Facebook page has been inundated with comments from breastfeeding mothers around the world and the company has since apologized to the mom for her treatment by the ‘well-intentioned’ flight attendant.

The woman was also offering a free travel voucher, but says she wanted to do was raise awareness and receive an apology.