Flying with kids can be difficult. But flying with a baby while trying to maintain a breastfeeding schedule can feel impossible. Between trying to find a quiet, private spot to keep your baby “on task”, to making sure you have access to a sanitary breast pump, the airport can seem like the worst place on earth for new moms.
Luckily, some U.S. airports have realized the need for “nursing rooms,” and are providing both mother and baby with a place to call home while traveling. So where are these mythical places? And what can you do to make sure your baby has a comfortable experience on the go?
Top Airports for Breastfeeding Moms
These U.S.-based airports are getting it right for moms-on-the-go. While some provide something as simple as a chair located in the women’s restroom, others go the extra mile by providing private rooms, rockers and even locations near a children’s play area. As information can change frequently, it’s always best to double check the airport facilities before heading out.
1) Albany International Airport – New York
Location: Woman’s restroom after security checkpoint
Though not as private as some would like, Albany International provides a clearly marked location inside the women’s restroom. Comfortable chairs are provided, as is a changing station.
2) Billings Logan International Airport – Montana
Location: Women’s restroom before security and at the end of Concourse B
According to some on the internet, Billings Logan International Airport gets it right by providing great support for breastfeeding moms. With two locations both before and after security clearance, this airport goes a bit further by also offering changing tables, sofas, glider rockers and privacy locks.
3) Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
While Hartsfield-Jackson does not provide dedicated rooms or locations for nursing mothers, any of the airport’s “Family Restrooms” can be used for nursing; they also have electrical outlets available for breast pumps. Additionally, private conference rooms in the American Airlines Admirals Club are available free-of-charge for nursing purposes, located near T10.
4) Indianapolis Airport
Location: Room 10T.307A (Pre-security by the American Airlines ticket counters) and Room 04A.304 (Post-security by the Starbucks on Concourse A)
Breastfeeding moms traveling through Indianapolis Airport are in for a treat. These dedicated rooms are provided both before and after security, and feature comfortable chairs, electrical outlets, tables and restroom facilities.
5) Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport
Location: Terminal 1-Lindbergh on Concourse C
MSP International provides a private room to nursing moms and to those who wish to express their breast milk. You will need to visit the Traveler’s Assistance Desk first, located across from gate C12, in order to get access.
6) Seattle Sea-Tac (Seatac) Airport
Location: Next to the children’s play area in Terminal A
If you’re a mom with several children, play areas are like a gift from above. Seattle Airport gives traveling kids a chance to burn off excess energy in the play area and for mom to make use of the private breastfeeding facilities right next door.
7) San Francisco International Airport
Location: Every terminal
One of the best locations for breastfeeding is San Francisco Airport, where private breastfeeding facilities are offered in every terminal. Look for the door that says “Nursery” and pick up the white courtesy phone there to gain access. Inside are recliners, sinks, electrical outlets and restroom facilities that are nice enough to make you relish the idea of travel with your baby.
Tips For Breastfeeding On The Go
While nothing will match the comfort and privacy of your own home, there are a few tips and tricks to get your baby comfortable enough to breastfeed while traveling or flying. Try to minimize distractions for your baby by using a cover or nursing blanket to block out as much visual stimulation as possible. Additionally, a breastfeeding pillow can work wonders to get both you and your baby into an easy feeding position. And always make sure you’ve expressed enough milk to take with you for those inevitable airport delays you can experience, particularly during the busy holiday season.
Keeping up with a breastfeeding schedule is tough enough without adding a flight into the mix, but there are some options for traveling mothers. While setting up your travel itinerary, check with the airport you’re flying through to determine what type of facilities they can provide. In addition, always be sure to keep extra supplies for your baby on hand. Though it will be a bit of a change for your little one, try to think of it as a new adventure you’re both going on for the first time.
April Dean Hunter is a freelance writer and mom who traveled often with her son when he was just a baby. She suggests that other moms can prevent some of the travel stress by bringing along a breastfeeding pillow to provide a moment of relief and comfort for themselves and their babies.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64881109@N07/6029878715/