Traveling with little ones can be more than stressful, but add in a lack of private and clean spaces to breastfeed or pump, and it’s a wonder more families don’t skip flying altogether. Two New York area airports (Newark and LaGuardia) are installing lactation “pods” by this coming Mother’s Day, with the purpose of filling a rather noticeable breastfeeding-friendly travel void. As of November 2014, only 8 out of 100 airports surveyed met the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, which calls for “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” The “other than a bathroom” clause is key, since many breastfeeding and pumping moms have to use less-than-sanitary, loud, and crowded bathrooms as a default nursing space. The new private pods, which feature cushioned seats, also include thoughtful elements such as a fold-down table and a power outlet for breast pumps as well as room for luggage. Each of the two airports currently has plans for one lactation pod, but we hope that heavy demand for the pods means that more airports will consider making travel more mama, baby, and breastfeeding friendly.
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