Netflix host Emily Calandrelli demands clearer TSA breastfeeding policies after security delay

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Traveling with young children can be challenging for all parents, and ever-changing airport security policies can make it even more difficult.

Emily Calandrelli, host of the 2020 “Emily’s Wonder Lab” at Netflixwants clearer breastfeeding policies from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) so that breastfeeding mothers can travel with breastfeeding equipment without being delayed by safety, according to several reports.

“Here’s what happened. Yesterday was my first trip away from my 10 [week] old son, who I’m breastfeeding right now. I’m going through the security check at LAX. I brought my pump and 2 ice packs – of which only 1 was cold (I will not need the other until I get home, when I will have more milk), the 34-year-old wrote on Twitter on May 10.

“I had no milk right now but I planned to pump one last second [session] in before my ~ 5 hour flight. “


It was the first time the West Virginia native was away from her 10-week-old, so she hoped to pump before boarding a DC flight, according to the Washington Post.

But because one ice pack was half-frozen and another at room temperature, the TSA official informed her that she had broken its floating rulewhich states: “Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel containers of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is confined to a quartz bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.”

The TSA agent told her that she would need to throw away the ice packs or check them with her luggage, according to Posten.

“Two male TSA agents told me I could not get through my ice packs [because] they were not frozen solid. (This is the key part of the story) “, the mother wrote on Twitter.

The TSA has a separate rule for gel-ice packs, which states: “Frozen liquids are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen liquids are partially melted, sloppy or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they meet 3-1-1 fluid requirements. “

But the TSA has an exception for gel-ice packs, which states: “Please note that medically necessary gel-ice packs in reasonable quantities are allowed regardless of their physical condition (eg melted or sloppy). Please notify the TSA official at the inspection checkpoint. “

Calandrelli finally decided to check her ice packs with her luggage and pump when she landed at Dulle International Airport, according to the Post.

“When I left, the manager said: ‘And do not try to sneak through it a second time because this will only happen again,’ Calandrelli told Posten. “It was simply not a fun way to be treated.”

Passengers are queuing to pass the Northern Security Check on Monday, January 3, 2022 at the main terminal at Denver International Airport in Denver.
(AP Photo / David Zalubowski))

The TSA later apologized to Calandrelli last Wednesday after investigating her case.

“Unfortunately, the screening process she received did not meet our standards,” said TSA spokesman R. Carter Langston.

“We will continue to work with advocacy and community-based organizations to improve our screening protocols. In addition, we will redouble our training to ensure that our screening procedures are applied consistently.”

The incident also got rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) To action Twitterwho wrote: “I will speak in person with the TSA administrator about what happened to you and how we can help ensure that it does not happen to you or other women in the future. Again, I’m so sorry.

Usually, if a breastfeeding mother is to be away from her baby, the body must be reminded to continue producing milk, so they should try to pump as often as the baby drinks breast milk, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Travelers line up at a security checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport.

Travelers line up at a security checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport.

This usually means that a mother traveling without her baby needs to pump at least once during the travel time of the trip, given the time to and from the airport, the time required for security clearance and the actual time she is in the air, says Jennifer Horne, a breastfeeding consultant. with the Breastfeeding Network, which connects mothers with breastfeeding support.

Mothers who are unable to pump during the journey may begin to feel discomfort in their breasts and their breasts may become overfilled, leading to blocked milk ducts, which can eventually result in an infection called mastitis, she added.


“Our bodies are made to express milk regularly,” Horne said. “There are definitely some issues they may encounter if they do not.”

If pumping is not an option when a nursing mother is away from her baby, the CDC suggests “hand expression.”

“To hand express, use your hand to massage and compress your breast to remove milk. Although it requires practice, skill and coordination, it gets easier with time,” the agency said.

Transportation Security Administration worker at an airport gate.

Transportation Security Administration worker at an airport gate.

Horne also recommends for breastfeeding mothers who travel to bring a bag of frozen peas instead of ice packs as they are not liquid.

The bipartisan bill called Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act went through 2018 and requires that all large and medium-sized airports provide accessible private and clean rooms in each terminal for breastfeeding mothers as well as changing tables in both men’s and women’s bathrooms.

And as early as 2016, the Bottle and Breastfeeding Equipment (BABES) Act was signed, requiring TSA agents to undergo specific training regarding breast milk, milk substitute and infant feeding policies, according to a press release.


But Calandrelli said the current policy is not enough to protect breastfeeding mothers who travel, and asked the TSA to “classify and clearly state on their website that breast milk, formula and related breast pump equipment are considered” medically necessary. “

“I want President Biden to instruct Secretary Alejandro Mayorka and the Department of Homeland Security to stop the TSA from discriminating against traveling mothers.”

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