A nursing mother’s milk stops for nothing, so when breastfeeding moms travel away from their babies they have two options: pump, or suffer overfull, leaky boobs and a potential reduction in supply as the body prepares for weaning.
Reduced milk supply was not an option for Mariana Hannaman when she travelled away from her baby daughter, so she packed a breast pump in her carry-on luggage. Knowing that she’d be monopolizing the bathroom for some time, she says she warned passengers in the line, but didn’t tell any flight attendants.
Eventually, a concerned flight attendant checked in on Hannaman – normal protocol when the bathroom has been occupied for a while. But this, says Hannaman, is where it got awkward, with the attendant rudely demanding she open the door while still attached to the pump. With other passengers watching, the attendant told Hannaman to stop pumping. The attendant later berated Hannaman for not informing flight staff of her intention to pump.
One passenger has come forward with a slightly different version of events. “Her eyes were kind of bulging and she seemed like she had a major statement she was trying to make and she was not coming out of that bathroom. That made me nervous,” the anonymous passenger told AOL.
We weren’t there, but our best guess is that Hannaman WAS trying to make a statement, and that statement was, “Let me pump in peace” or maybe, “No, I don’t want to show you my boobs.”
That interpretation certainly lines up with her later statements. “I don’t want her to get fired,” said Hannaman of the flight-attendant. “I want her to be re-trained.”
Nursing is hard enough, and we look forward to the day we no longer have to report on stories of moms who are hassled for breastfeeding or pumping in public. Until then, American Airlines (which, to its credit, has apologized), we leave you with this: