Flight Attendant Humiliates Breastfeeding Mom for Pumping in Airplane Bathroom

Sometimes, it feels like nursing mothers are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. An American Airlines flight attendant scolded a mom for pumping in the airplane bathroom.


Mariana Hannaman lives in the Phoenix area and was likely hoping for a peaceful flight from Chicago without all the turbulence she experienced. Hoping to get back home to her 4-month-old, Mariana took time to express milk before her final flight to Arizona, but found herself locked and loaded in the lactation department, causing her to pump in the airplane bathroom. From how Mariana describes things, she informed the few passengers waiting in line of her intentions.

This doesn't sound too terrible, right?

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Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when after 10 minutes a flight attendant asked Mariana what she was doing through the door. Once she heard the answer, she then told the new mom she couldn't pump and ordered her out of the bathroom. As you can imagine, Mariana was probably embarrassed, especially when you consider the fact that she still had her breast pump attached to her.

I know that public breastfeeding is a touchy subject in this country, as many aren't comfortable with seeing moms nurse their child -- even if they're covered. But what's a mommy to do when she has to express her breasts (Mariana didn't want to make the man sitting next to her uncomfortable)? Suck it up (not literally of course) for a couple more hours, and hope to God you don't have two huge rings on your shirt for all to see?

I'm trying to picture myself in this situation (I have a 4-month-old too), and whether or not I would've done anything differently. OK, perhaps Mariana should've given a nearby flight attendant a heads up before going to pump. It's not that she needed permission (American Airlines said mothers are welcome to nurse and pump in their apology), but maybe it would've prevented this employee from wondering what she was doing. If we give this flight attendant the benefit of the doubt, maybe she was concerned something happened, seeing as Mariana was in there for over 10 minutes.

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What I don't get is the public humiliation (it likely wasn't broadcast around the plane, until after Mariana left the bathroom) that nearby passengers witnessed. Maybe this flight attendant never had kids -- or nursed a child -- but when you're attached to a breast pump, it takes a minute to unhook yourself and put away your things. I'm not sure if this employee was like, "Get out now," or if Mariana felt rushed, but maybe there was a better way of handling the situation?

Truth be told, I would gladly wait to use an airplane bathroom after a mom pumping her breasts than someone who ate something that didn't sit right in his or her stomach (we can really talk about how long someone takes inside a bathroom). With two bathroom facilities on a flight and no place for a mother to pump if she's in the air, something might have to give.

Image via ABC 15 Arizona

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