American Airlines apologizes to breastfeeding mom
But is their apology sufficient?
A recent Facebook post is making the rounds after a mom who was breastfeeding her infant son on an American Airlines flight was asked to 'cover up' by a flight attendant. When she declined, stating her preference to feed her baby without a blanket covering him, she claims she was mistreated (the attendant allegedly didn't serve her drinks or make eye contact with her for the duration of the flight and moved a young girl out of the mom's row, making allegedly rude remarks about mom and baby).
American Airlines issued an apology, but Hannah Butta, a friend of the mom in question, isn't satisfied by their response. The airline suggested that they were sorry the attendant mistreated them, but that they ask for "certain discretion and a sense of modesty," while breastfeeding.
According to Butta, "The federal government and nearly every state have laws in place that protect women nursing in public.... Are the legal rights of breastfeeding infants really lost when the plane leaves the ground?"
The mom involved, who would like to remain anonymous, tells the full story:
“On July 21, 2013 my husband and I were travelling home with our 5 month-old son on an American Airlines flight. After lift-off, I allowed our son to begin nursing as it helps his ears not hurt and prevents him from crying for the rest of the flight. I was sitting in the window seat, my husband was sitting in the center seat, and our son’s head was toward the window so no one could really see what was going on. There was a girl about ten or twelve years old sitting in the aisle seat next to my husband. She had her headphones on and was chatting with her friends in surrounding seats – my son’s eating did not seem to be bothering her.
A few minutes after my son started nursing, a stewardess walked by our row, shook her head at me, and shot me a very displeased look. I told my husband, and we both agreed that she probably wouldn’t go any further, since I was being discreet and no one else seemed bothered. A few minutes later, the same stewardess returned to our row, leaned over the girl in the aisle seat, and told me (after a bit of hesitation as she couldn’t find her words) that I needed to put a blanket over my son “because there are kids on this flight.” My husband promptly responded that there was no problem with what I was doing and that we preferred to not use a blanket. The stewardess left our row and walked to the back of the plane.
A few minutes later, she returned again and told the young lady in the aisle seat, “I’m going to move you back here because you’re probably really uncomfortable.” By that time, our my son was asleep and the girl had yet to take notice in my nursing of him.
More from Mom to Mom: #ISupportYou aims to end mommy wars over infant feeding
For the rest of the flight, that stewardess never offered us drinks and avoided looking at us, but my son happily nursed and slept. We had passengers all around us saying how thankful they were that our son was sleeping, commenting 'He’s the best baby on the plane!'
What do you think: Did American Airlines apologize sufficiently, or is this mom right to be dissatisfied with their response? Tell us on Facebook
As a breastfeeding mother, I actually prefer to cover up but my baby refuses to eat under a blanket or nursing cover. He gets hot and doesn't eat very well. When he is uncovered he relaxes and it able to eat quite well. If I'm out and about when it's time for him to eat I am not going to let him go hungry because other people might be uncomfortable seeing my child nurse.
That flight attendant went waaay over the line by imposing her opinions on the othe passengers and, basically, being a nosy gossip. I have probably nursed a dozen times on a plane and have never had an issue. In fact, I've been encouraged by friendly attendants and smiled at, whether or not I was using a cover.
if this happened to my wife I woulda told the flight attendant to f-off.
I have flown with my wife breastfeeding our daughter many times and all the attendants, including ones in AA have been very friendly about it and even asking if we needed hot water or anything for the baby.
It Is disgraceful that a nursing mom has to deal with prejudices of others. I breast fed all my children. There were not many occasions that I had to do so in public, but if it happened, it happened. When I am with a mom who needs to nurse her child, I am very respectful and discreet for her. I want her to be as comfortable as possible and also the baby feels the relaxation in their surroundings. If someone is uncomfortable, look away while the baby eats or entertain yourself with whatever electronic device you have.
A good friend also had this happen, but in our local hospital, if you can imagine. Society needs to relax and allow each other to live in their own comfort zone.
Keep breastfeeding ladies, it is by far the best thing you can do for your baby, you get to bond closer to your baby and the cost is so much less too. Win, win, win situation. Kudos to all who can and do!
I agree that women should be able to feed in public, but there's no reason they can't cover up. Not everyone wants to see it so its not that hard to put a blanket on top while doing it.
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