Breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful part of motherhood for many. Unfortunately, it doesn't always feel like it, considering how few places provide adequate facilities for breastfeeding or pumping milk and how many women are shamed for breastfeeding in public.
While traveling at Heathrow Airport, Sophie McBain experienced this humilation firsthand. She had been told the only places available to her to pump were a baby changing room or the bathroom. She chose the bathroom so she could lock the door. Then when she took longer to pump her breastmilk than a person just using the bathroom might, a male employee unlocked the stall door and barged in on her!
Sign the petition to demand that Heathrow Airport create safe, clean and private places for women to breastfeed or pump breastmilk.
Women are already forced into often unsanitary places, like public toilets, to breastfeed or pump milk for their child to drink later. It is unacceptable that a random male employee came into the bathroom while Sophie's breasts were exposed and still attached to the machine. It is reprehensible that he then stayed and shamed her for occupying the bathroom too long. Our society claims to support families, yet women who want to feed their children with their own bodies are hidden and shamed. Mothers and babies don't deserve to be pushed into a dirty bathroom stall and shamed for taking up space.
Sophie said she felt shamed and upset by the incident. Now she wants to make sure no other woman endures the same thing. Heathrow replied to her complaint in a totally inadaquate way. Clearly, they do not know the first thing about breastfeeding or supporting women. If lactating women are not able to pump or feed their baby every few hours, they still produce milk and the backup is extremely painful. It can even cause infection and serious illness requiring hospitalization.
It's not an option to "wait until you're home." Especially not for people at an airport who are travelling. Sign the petition if you think it's time Heathrow provided private, clean and safe lactation rooms in each of its terminals!