January 23rd, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • In the News

Breast Pumps - an Airport Security Risk?

Last week, Jenny Kwan, a BC MLA* was denied boarding an Air Canada flight with her breast pump in tow.  She had travelled with her pump many times before, as she is prone to mastitis and has a meticulous schedule, however she also had her young son with her at the time.  Apparently a breast pump sans baby is a "security risk" according to the airline.  You can read the full story here.

There are many reasons to pump.  The majority of these reasons are still relevant if you are separated from your baby and perhaps even moreso.  Therefore, the fact that security "became anxious" because there was no baby tagging along with said breast pump is ludicrous!  Of course she didn't have here baby with her.  She was travelling for the day to an NDP caucus meeting in Kamloops and needed to pump BECAUSE HER BABY WOULDN'T BE THERE TO EMPTY HER BREASTS!  Does anyone else find this as ridiculous as I do?  Use your common sense people!

Security's only suggestions were to check the pump as regular baggage (however she feared running back to check-in would cause her to miss her flight), or to leave the ice packs behind.  I guess they are ignorant of the fact that breast milk can only be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours.  What good is a breast pump without the means to store the milk?  And was it therefore the ice packs that were the real problem not the pump?

I think perhaps the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, the body responsible for security at Canadian airports, needs to educate themselves about breastfeeding, pumping and the working mother!

Have you ever travelled by air with your breast pump?  With or without your baby?  In your carry-on or checked luggage?  Tell me your stories and share your opinions.

*Member of Legislative Assembly for our American friends - similar to your State Legislator  :-)

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Diane Sam says:

My only wierdness was going through customs in Australia. The guy asked if I had any milk products (apparently you can't take any into Australia) and I said "only breastmilk", as I didn't want him to find my little bottles and think I was lying or something.
The wierdness was his little leering type smirk that he gave his buddy. Like by saying the word "breast" I was somehow trying to come on to him or draw attention to my boobs. It was wierd. Subtle but weird. And this with my baby and husband right beside me.

or... maybe I just don't understand Australian men .. .

Posted on January 29, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Diane,

That IS weird. I will never understand men lol!

Posted on February 9, 2009

Sara Gallinger says:

After reading this I was anxious travelling to Edmonton to Vancouver &back recently with baby, breastpump and ice pack. I thought about not taking the ice pack but I had no problems. In fact the TSA staff were so busy checking out the pump and milk they did not catch the lip balm and a few other gel-type things I had mistakenly left in my diaper bag. In Vancouver they were much pickier but still did not question any of it.

Posted on February 10, 2009

Wendy Armbruster Bell says:

Hi Sara,

Thanks for the comment. Glad to hear that you didn't have any problems. It would be nice if security was more consistent from airport to airport so we didn't have to worry about "to take or not to take" beforehand.

Posted on February 10, 2009