Mom Forced to Dump 2 Weeks' Worth of Breastmilk at Airport Writes Scathing Open Letter

mom forced to dump breast milk before boardingFor working moms, pumping breast milk to ensure their babies have a ready supply is a challenge. But ones who travel for their jobs face the additional headache of making sure their precious liquid is allowed on board an aircraft. One mom took to Facebook to explain her outrage after being told she needed to dump over 500 ounces of breast milk when security officials cited Civil Aviation rules.

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Jessica Coakley Martinez explains -- in a way that, sadly, many moms can relate to -- the painstaking effort she put into pumping in some not-so-pleasant surroundings to try to give her second child what she was able to provide for her first.

Read Martinez's open letter to Aviation Security in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport and try not to simmer as you feel her frustration:

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More than simply discarding sustenance for her baby, this is literally a complete waste of Martinez's time and effort. You can't blame her for being devastated:

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.  

We completely feel for this woman, and her incident is another painful reminder of how inconsistent airline security can be -- especially when she explains that she and her breast milk made it through four other countries. 

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Yes, of course, travelers would rather be safe than sorry, particularly in light of recent terrorist attacks, but someone could have offered this mom a solution that didn't result in all her milk going down the drain.

Still, most frequent fliers find it impossible to get sunscreen or even contact lens solution through security, so it stands to reason that this mom and her frozen liquid gold would have run into trouble at some point in her travels.

It almost seems par for the course. In some airports, it's shoes off for everyone; in others, you're hardly screened at all. At one point in her letter, Martinez seems to recognize the fact that for some travelers there's wiggle room -- but, unfortunately, just not in her case that particular day:

Rules and procedures at airport security are rarely universally enforced because similar to police officers, a significant aspect of your job is public trust and engagement, which includes using your judgment regarding appropriate enforcement in complex situations.

This is clearly a case where a one-size-fits-all solution does not apply. Let's hope the intended readers of this letter see it and reconsider some of the alternatives, as we imagine another mom in a similar situation will be facing the same situation any day now.

 

Image via Monthira Yodtiwong/Shutterstock

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