The FAM Act will require all medium and large airports in the United States to provide one clean, private, non-bathroom lactation space per terminal after the security checkpoint in order to accommodate nursing mothers. The room must have disability access, a locking door, an outlet so women can pump, a place to sit, and a table or flat surface. This bill also makes provisions for a baby changing station inside one men’s and one women’s bathroom in each passenger terminal.
Amelia Psmythe, Interim Executive Director of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) states, “No matter what they’re doing or where they are, people who are lactating need to express milk every few hours. An airport is just one of many environments where people face challenges trying to find a clean, private space to nurse or pump.”
While public breastfeeding is perfectly legal in all 50 states, considering how stressed a traveling mom may already be, a shielded area away from terminal commotion and traffic may be a very welcoming accommodation.
As Mona Liza Hamlin, Chair of the USBC, aptly says, “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.”
This bill was sorely needed. A report published in Breastfeeding Medicine in 2014 found that of the top 100 passenger-volume American airports, only 8 of them had rooms meeting the minimal requirements to be a lactation room, though 62 considered themselves to be breastfeeding-friendly.
This bill will ensure 31 medium and 30 large hub airports in the United States will be much more breastfeeding-friendly than they currently are, helping provide mothers support they need.