Mum forced to dump 500oz of breast milk at Heathrow airport

Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport

Security in Heathrow airport refused to allow a working Mum return home to her son with breast milk pumped during a business trip abroad.

Most Mums are aware that you can bring liquid breast milk with you through security, but only if you are travelling with your child.

Jessica Coakley Martinez, a working mother of two, shared her experince on Facebook last week while returning home from a business trip with milk she had expressed while away.

Being a working mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…being away from them, managing care back home from afar, and in my case, figuring out how you’re going to feed your 8 month old breastfed baby while you’re required to be away for 15 days and travel to eight different cities...

To help ease the personal guilt, I resolved to pump at every possible moment between my meetings, presentations, business lunches and dinners, taxis, flights, and long waits in airports. This meant pumping while sitting on toilets in public restrooms; stuffed in an airplane bathroom; in unsecured conference rooms, showers, and closets because certain office spaces didn’t have a place for a nursing mother...

It meant going to each hotel and convincing them to store my giant insulated bags of milk in their restaurant freezers to preserve it. It meant lugging this giant block of frozen breast milk through four countries, airports and security checkpoints and having them pull out every single ounce of breastmilk and use mildly inappropriate sign language to convey "breast" and "milk" so that they would let me through. Which they did. Every one of them. Except you...

I acknowledge my part in this equation. I should have looked up the Civil Aviation rule. You do not allow breastmilk on the plane if the mother is not traveling with her baby – a regulation in and of itself that is incredibly unfair and exclusionary in consideration of all of the other working mothers like me who are required at certain times to spend time away from their baby, but intend to continue to breastfeed them. That being said, more than 300oz of that milk was frozen. Solid. Like a rock. I was willing to let go of the liquid milk. But you also wanted the solid milk because it could “melt and become a liquid"...

I offered to check it. But that wouldn’t work either according to you because I had crossed the border and the only way for me to check the bag now was to exit the airport and re-enter – which I was also willing to do. But you wouldn’t give me the milk back – because now it was a “non-compliant item” and needed to be confiscated...

This wasn’t tomorrow’s milk; it was two weeks worth of nutrition for my child. And it was the countless hours of my time, my energy, even my dignity in some instances, all driven by my willingness to go to any length to get my child what he needs that you dumped into the trash like a random bottle of travel shampoo and deemed a hazard, simply because I made the completely logical and scientifically supported assumption that a solid isn’t a liquid...

Babble reports that Heatrow Airport has yet to respond.

 

Share this article