A nursing mom with a blog is about to get a TSA agent fired. Or at least get many people calling for the head of the Austin International Airport agent that reprimanded her as she tried to get through security while feeding her baby.
Jess Noel, of Soulful Noel, posted a story that will sound familiar to parents of young children. You're stuck in a long security line, somebody gets cranky, and it's not your spouse.
The first thing that happened to Noel's family might even annoy me more than the second.
She asked the TSA agent if since they were traveling with a hungry baby, couldn't they skip ahead in the line so she could feed him? If the TSA agent had simply agreed to this courtesy, which should be given to families with wiggly children who may suddenly be starving even if you fed them right before you got in the car, we wouldn't be outraged at what happened next. Instead, her family was denied the opportunity to get the heck out of people's way.
Noel did what any mom would do: she started nursing her baby while in line at the airport. You know that had to be a barrel of laughs for her, so when she was getting closer to the conveyor belt and the TSA agent told her she had to stop, well, here's what happened:
The officer asked me to quit nursing until I reached the other side of security where I could find a restroom to nurse in because "the other passengers aren't used to seeing something so inappropriate." I was shocked by her demanding tone of voice, but I replied calmly, "There is nothing inappropriate about feeding my baby." She then threatened me by saying that if I did not stop nursing she would call someone to assist me. I have no idea what she meant by this ultimatum, but fearing that we would miss our flight, I unlatched my son from my breast and walked through security without any further conflict.
I have to say, there's a part of me that feels sorry for this TSA agent who will surely feel the wrath of the mom-o-sphere. Yes, she should have been smarter about the situation and allowed a mom with a hungry baby to cut the line, or at the very least, not reprimanded her while said hungry baby was eating. But hell hath no scorn like the nursing mom army.
Let's hope everyone can focus on education and not retribution in this case. And let's also hope everyone shares this story so not only the TSA, but the airlines that are getting increasingly less friendly can learn that it isn't acceptable to treat human beings that are helpless and need food in this manner. Maybe it is the nursing mom army that can help us go back to the days where people traveling with small children get a little assistance rather than contempt. Someone's got to stop the madness.
What would you have done in this situation?
Image via SqueakyMarmot/Flickr