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MSNBC Talks Breastfeeding and Planes

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

There's a good article on the whole Emily Gillette incident over at MSNBC. It includes a bit more information on exactly what happened, including more details on th response of the co-pilot.

Read: Breasts on a Plane

The article contains this interesting passage:

As they left the plane, the fight attendant was standing there, and Gillette said in tears, ‘Why are you doing this?’ ” According to the Gillettes, the flight attendant pointed to the door and said, “Get off the plane.” One of the copilots followed them out and apologetically explained that he could not overrule the flight attendant’s decision. “He said, ‘I’m so sorry. I have two children, and there’s nothing I can do about this…The same way that I have control over the cockpit, she has control over the passenger area.’”

The article also outlines some of the packpeddling that took place on the parts of the two airlines...

When her story first made the news, a spokesman for Freedom Airlines told the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press that “a breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way” that doesn’t bother others. As the level of protest rose, however, Freedom Airlines issued a written statement asserting that they “firmly support a mother’s right to breastfeed a child” and they “do not expect (and will not in the future request) that nursingmothers use a blanket to cover their child while nursing.”

Now one thing that I wonder about this whole incident is how it's going to impact other nursing moms that plan to fly.

For example, I'm flying to Chicago next week with Emmitt and my mother for a conference. We're booked on American Airlines who I fly pretty regularly and obviously I'll be nursing Emmitt during take-off and landing. Now personally, I expect that I won't be given ANY hassle if for no other reason than that airlines will want to avoid the problems facing Delta right now.

But I do wonder if moms that would have never thought twice about breastfeeding on a plane will now worry that they may face the same problems as Gillette.

What do you think? Will this incident scare women away from nursing on planes in the immediate future, or will it galvinize their will into KNOWING that they can safely nurse their children without any fears of being embarrassed or bothered.

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  1. Blogger ~j | 8:27 AM |  

    Personally I can't wait to breasfeed on a plane. But then again - i've never been one to shy away from controversy.

  2. Blogger ContentWorth | 10:09 AM |  

    I hope it will provide women with the information they need to feel safe and secure in their decisions to breastfeed children in "public" without fear or retailiation.

    I'm a breastfeeding mother, before I read the Target incident a few months ago (I was newly nursing then) I was uncomfortable thinking of breastfeeding my newborn in public. After reading about the incident I feel I have more courage to do what I know is best for my child, even if that means he needs to be fed at a store or while waiting for an appointment or in the park.

    I hope this incident encourages women to care for their children as they know and feel is best regardless of whatever societal pressures they may have originally feared.

    I truly feel for this mother and hope the attendant was reprimanded or dealt with accordingly. I also hope the copilot learns to stand up for what's right rather than being a pushover if something so clearly right as breastfeeding is being treated as improper or disgusting in the future.

  3. Blogger one smarmy mama | 11:42 AM |  

    Well, that was what I wrote in my letter. I plan on having another kid someday, and we travel. I just won't travel an airline where I know it MIGHT be a hassle. It's just not worth it. I'm lucky, I live in a big enough city where I have options, though. If it were a more limited market to me, I WOULD think twice about it.

  4. Anonymous lunartcorp | 1:04 PM |  

    Breastfeeding is something natural. Community cannot avoid nursing mothers doing it in public. There might be too much time between a mother leaves and gets back home so it is something that is going to happen at any time on any place.

    Jennifer, I am not sure but I think you changed the look and feel of your blog. It is nicer. Good luck!!!

    --- You can remove these lines ---
    Jennifer, please see the left margin of the post is hidding the first letters of the titles/datetime.

  5. Anonymous N | 11:07 PM |  

    Ive breastfed my toddler on four different flights and not had any problems at all. At the very least, its more unlikely for a mother to get hassled with all the attention the Delta incident has been getting.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:55 PM |  

    Ever since this happened I have been dying for someone to say something to me on a plane! I love having debates with people that are obviously unequipped to debate on the subject and I love that I know my laws and my rights- and it may be wrong for me to want to have someone to ask me to stop, but it sure would be fun- Especially since when I have a conversation with someone while nursing Vinny tends to pop off to look at who I'm talking to:-)

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