Nursing moms will soon find it easier to travel through airports across the country.
Commercial airports will be required to provide lactation rooms at each passenger terminal building of the airport, thanks to the passage of the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (FAM) of 2017. The act was included in the five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that president Trump signed on Oct. 5.
Many airports already have such rooms, whether they’re called a mother’s room, nursing pods or breastfeeding stations. They are designed to give moms a place to nurse a child or pump breast milk. Each of the 2017 Top 10 U.S. airports by passengers has at least one such station.
Before the FAM act, airports added nursing rooms at their own discretion. Now, not only are all large- and medium-sized airports required to provide them at each terminal, there are other provisions, too.
The lactation areas must:
- Be available to the public
- Be behind security
- Be shielded from view and free from intrusion
- Have a door that can be locked
- Includes a place to sit, a table or other flat surface and an electrical outlet
- Be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs
- Not be in a bathroom.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and representative Stephen Knight (R-CA) introduced the bipartisan bills in May 2017. They were later incorporated into FAA Reauthorization bills where they were met without opposition, according to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.
The bill makes grants available to airports to help them with renovations they’ll need to meet requirements.
"This is a strong step forward toward a world where breastfeeding families across our country are seamlessly supported wherever they are—at their places of work, in their communities, in an airport, anywhere. No one likes flight delays but for people who are lactating, extra time in the airport can mean finding a place to express milk or risking a dwindling milk supply or even infection. We look forward to building on this momentum and continuing to support breastfeeding people and families in all places and spaces." said Mona Liza Hamlin, chair of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, in a written statement.