‘Embarrassed and Humiliated’: TSA Apologizes After Ordering Nursing Mom to Pump Breast Milk Into Bottles Before Boarding
The Transportation Security Administration has apologized after a mother in Hawaii was left “embarrassed and humiliated” after an agent ordered her to pump breast milk in an airport bathroom to prove her electric pump was real.
Amy Strand was traveling with her 9-month-old daughter on her way home from Kauai Wednesday when she was told she would not be allowed to board until she could show the agent full bottles of breast milk, Hawaii ABC affiliate KITV-TV reported.
Just minutes before going through security Wednesday, she said she had done “what no nursing mother wants to do” and dumped the breast milk from the bottles, thinking they would be a screening hassle. But when she was going through the line, the agent stopped her and asked to look at her equipment, which included the pump, a cooler pack and the empty bottles. Because recently-changed TSA guidelines permit women to fly with breast milk but treat electric pumps as medical equipment, Strand had to prove the pump was medically necessary to be able to fly with it.
“I asked him if there was a private place I could pump and he said no, you can go in the women’s bathroom. I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom,” she told KITV. “I was embarrassed and humiliated and then angry that I was treated this way.”