Breast Pumps - an Airport Security Risk?

January 29th, 2009 by Wendy Armbruster Bell

In this week's posting, guest blogger Wendy Armbruster Bell from PumpEase, hands free pumping supports, offers her take on Breast Pumps through Airport Security....  

Last week, Jenny Kwan, an MLA*  from British Columbia, 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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