Unlimited expressed breast milk on board airplanes, now!

  • by: Jesse Rattan
  • recipient: Kip Hawley, Assistant Secretary, Transportation Security Administration

This is a petition to urge the Transportation Security Administration to consider breast milk to be a life sustaining and supporting body fluid for babies.   This means that mothers would be allowed to carry pumped breast milk in the cabin of airplanes in any amount whether traveling with or without their infants.

Mr. Kip HawleyAssistant SecretaryTravel Security Administration Dear Mr. Hawley,  We urge you to amend the current TSA guidelines prohibiting containers of expressed (pumped) breast milk larger than 3 ounces to be brought into the cabin of flights. We request that you add human breast milk to the list of life supporting and life sustaining bodily fluids that can be visually inspected and be brought on board in any amount, whether a mother is traveling with or away from her infant.    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, as well as European governments and public health experts have confirmed in the last decade that breast milk is essential to the health of babies and young children.   Repeated research has shown that breast milk significantly improves their health, decreases illness, and in many situations, improves infants’ and young children’s chances of survival.  Infants less than six months should be exclusively fed breast milk, and WHO encourages breast-feeding for two years.   Even a one year-old baby’s main source of nutrition is still breast milk, with other foods supporting only 25-50% of her total need, so breast milk is still extremely important for babies after six months of age.  Breast-feeding mothers travel, often out of necessity, for work.  Despite this, many of us still exclusively breast feed our infants under six months, whose sole source of nutrition is human breast milk or breast feed our older babies whose major source of nutrition is breast milk.  Some of us travel for longer periods, making it absolutely necessary that we pump breast milk, store it safely and bring it back to our infants.  For example, in a short two day trip, mothers away from their babies  can express as much as 60 ounces.  We cannot safely check this precious, perishable milk because we cannot ensure the milk will remain cool if our bags are lost or delayed.   Breast milk is a life supporting and life sustaining body fluid for babies.  All breast feeding babies must be allowed to access their mother’s breast milk.  We the undersigned—mothers, fathers, and all those concerned with the health and survival of infants and young children--- urge you to amend your guidelines for mother carrying breast milk back to their babies to the following:   
  1. Separate pumped breast milk from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
  2. Declare pumped breast milk to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
  3. Present pumped breast milk for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray.
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