Washington, DC – The House of Representatives voted Friday to pass H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes provisions from H.R. 2375, the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley).
Companion legislation (S. 1110) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
The bill, which now goes to the president, who is expected to sign it, would include language from Knight’s FAM Act directing large- and medium-hub airports to maintain a “lactation area” in each passenger terminal to provide a private and hygienic location for mothers to breastfeed their children.
“Lactation areas” must meet five requirements: (1) is shielded from view and free from intrusion from the public; (2) has a door that can be locked; (3) includes a place to sit, a table or other flat surface, and an electrical outlet; (4) is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and (5) is not located in a restroom.
“Air travel has become an integral part of our everyday lives,” Knight said. “Whether flying for business, leisure or to visit loved ones, we spend more time than ever in airplanes and airports. Under the status quo, there is an unfair barrier that new mothers face when they want to travel with infant children. This bipartisan bill will help fix this inequity by providing a safe, clean, and private place where moms can take care of their children.
“I am very pleased we were able to include this in the FAA bill and I look forward to seeing it be signed into law,” he said. “I would like to thank Senator Duckworth for her continued leadership in advocating for America’s moms. I also want to congratulate her on the birth of her newborn daughter.”
“Even though we would never expect travelers to eat their meals in bathroom stalls, new mothers are often directed to airport toilets to feed their children,” Duckworth said. “If airports still have spaces for smoking lounges in 2018, surely we can find clean and accessible spaces to allow new mothers to express breastmilk since breastfeeding has long-lasting health benefits that protect mothers and children from illnesses.
“The FAM Act will make a significant difference in the lives of moms and their children during travel,” he said. “I am pleased our bipartisan legislation passed the House and I look forward to continuing my work in the Senate to support women and families at the airport, at home, and in the workplace. I want to thank Congressman Knight for joining me in this effort.”
The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act is endorsed by the U.S. Breastfeeding Coalition, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Military Family Association, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Infant Nutrition Council of America, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Association of Women’s Health, and Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.
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Good idea. When I was traveling with my young child I also appreciated airport lounges in Europe for parents with young children not just lactating babies, in Zurich, Switzerland there was a Lego Lounge which made it a LOT nicer when our connecting flight was delayed several hours. My son played with legos calmly and there were chairs for parents to even catch a nap, the caregivers wouldn’t let children out of the room without the parent so you knew they were safe.
But since this is only for lactation, better than nothing, I am very private and never understood women who WANT to breastfeed their babies publicly without at least the blouses that have flaps for discretion, yes it’s a “natural” thing and beneficial to the baby but in our society it attracts weird attention too, on the other hand, why others witnessing this are the ones “offended.”