TSA Targets Breastfeeding Mother


Unless you've been living under a rock, you're hearing all the TSA horror stories. Whether you believe procedures are there to protect us or are just a show, the reality is that they're going above and beyond the call of duty -- and not in a good way.

To add yet another story about wasted manpower that would let real threats slip by, mother Stacey Armato tried to get home to Los Angeles and her 7-month-old son with the 12 ounces of breast milk she pumped while she was gone. She didn't want to put the breast milk through radiation, so she requested an alternate screening, which she had every right do to.

But what happened is completely unjust. 

After repeated requests, she finally received a video of her horrible experience from TSA's security cameras ... well, except the parts they edited out first.

Armato did exactly what I would have done, and what I tell so many women to do in so many different situations -- she researched the laws protecting her, printed them out, and took them with her. The rules about carrying pumped breast milk on airplanes are found in multiple places on TSA's website. She had those rules printed out on a piece of paper right there WITH the breast milk.

Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medications. Now, a mother flying without her child will be able to bring breast milk through the checkpoint, provided it is declared prior to screening.

Armato had been through the Phoenix airport multiple times in the past, and because she'd previously filed a complaint, they were "waiting for her," as she was told by a police officer (who threatened to arrest her if she didn't "go through with the horse and pony show"). Her crime? Merely asking, as is her right, that the breast milk not go through the radiation of the object x-rays and be tested for explosives instead. If you aren't familiar with how the testing works, after you go through security, they walk right over to a little machine, run a cotton swab around all the seams/seals of your item, and then put it in the machine, which shows them a color, letting them know whether or not there was explosive residue. I've had it explained to me as they've tested my kids' items in the past.

But when Armato made her simple request and showed her piece of paper (once she was allowed to touch her own belongings) that showed the law, nothing mattered, and she was ushered into the special screening box where she stood for almost an hour -- so long that she missed her flight home to her baby.

She was told off by a cop, she had to watch as her breast milk was tossed around outside the cooler it needed to be in. Any mom who pumps or breastfeeds can understand this feeling. It's heartbreaking and Armato gets frustrated and upset.

She gets the TSA's favorite pat down and gets sent BACK to her box, and she eventually is told by the security manager that she had to go back out, pour all of her milk into individual containers less than 1.5 ounces each (despite TSA's own rules that exempts breast milk from this rule), and then go through security ... again. She says on her own posting of the video that she was even asked, "If it was really breast milk, where was the baby?" and "Why isn't the milk clear?"

This whole situation not only makes me extremely angry, but scares the crap out of me too: I wouldn't have done a single thing different than Armato. This could have been me, easily.

Check out the video ... or what TSA left of it, anyway:

TSA is entirely out of control: their own security manager refuses to abide by their own rules even when they're put right under his own nose, a woman misses her flight because she didn't want radiation to affect the live substance of her child's food, but wanted it manually tested instead. According to Armato, edited out was the security manager writing down all of Armato's personal information and putting it in his pocket, and even photographing the breast milk itself.

Armato, a lawyer herself, is still trying to find someone to represent her in a charge against TSA, but so far to no avail. There are other injustices, such as this mother who was separated from her severely-handicapped 10-year-old daughter and from their service dog, or the woman who was excessively patted down after going through the backscatter machine because she chose to wear cloth pads. I told the TSA my thoughts on their "Off-Topic Comments" section of their blog, though my comment still hasn't passed moderation, but I see comments from some of you all already on this issue there, and I encourage more.

Are you planning on flying with your children/breast milk any time soon? What do you think of this story?

airplanes, discrimination, in the news, travel, breastfeeding


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Lians... Liansmommie

I am not condoning what seems to have happened here. But I do find it interesting that the only evidence we have of what was said by the uniformed officer is her statement. Do any of you know for sure that is what was said? No. Millions of people travel through these checkpoints daily and hundreds of supposed violations posted on youtube but really they are same few stories reposted over and over again. These are always people with a prior issue and or an ax to grind. The stir has posted two videos about TSA and children recently. One turned out to be a dad having hissy fit because his child was singled out and the other was a reporter who had admitted that TSA did nothing wrong beyond taking away a teddy bear. Even here, she had a previous issue. It's just her word that  the cop told her she was stopped because she had been that flagged. This is sensationalism at it's best and is doing a great job of spreading the mob mentality. There is no actual information here just a bunch of emotional responses. People want to talk about how important it is to stand up for your rights as they are slowly being taken away. More important is to educate yourself in actuallities. Because knee jerk reactions to supposed tyranny often leads to a harsher tyranny from another direction. Senator McCarthy comes to mind.

emera... emerald53197

As you can clearly see who these people are from the video everyone in the community Phoenix area needs to treat them like the scum they are.  Refuse to let them in businesses and demand that they stay away from you if you see them out in public places.  These TSA agents are the TRUE TERRORISTS.  A complaint needs to be made to the Office of the Inspector Generals regarding their intentional malicious gross insubordination behavior on the job and they need to be fired immediately.  The person who wrote down her personal information and pocketed it is a pervert. 

nonmember avatar Alicia

Has anyone tried writing to their senators or President Obama about these issues? I say, take it to the top. It is stories like this that are getting me to avoid flying.

April Jennings

This is completely outrageous! I am flying with my 6mo old on Wed...& I am a breastfeeding mother who will be carrying pumped milk on my return flight! I can only hope for a better experience!

Amanda Ballinger Svacina

I hope she finds representation I plan on flying soon with my little one and I will majorly snap if someone says something about me breastfeeding....and/or if they want to pat down my breasts because I am NOT going through the new x-ray machines. So so sorry for this ladies experience and am outraged.

ankle... anklebitr


This was filmed in Feb... before the New Guidlines went in...

Nov 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM


Gah, why are we just finding out about it now? 

Liza Gorman

in a very short time we will have to stop at road side check points and endure the same stuff

Carol... Caroline2010

thank god we will not b flying while i am still nursing!! i would of been SOOO PISSED!!! i hope this lady is sueing!!!

nonmember avatar Auqtu

Apparently the TSA manager doesn't understand how xrays work. Putting liquid through the xray is going to prove WHAT? It will not show whether or not there is residue of a chemical nature on the container. The district attorneys of each state ought to be standing up for our citizens against the TSA, a private company, a bringing charges IMMEDIATELY.

bills... billsfan1104

Americans have noone to blame but themselves, for being too damn politically correct. If we instead focused on who and what is trying to blow up planes, hijack planes and kill us, we wouldnt need to to frisk grandma, people in wheelchairs, and mothers trying to pump milk for their babies.

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