Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Wed October 07 2015

Woman Forced to Pump Breast Milk in Airport's Pet Relief Room

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | October 07, 2015

Woman Forced to Pump Breast Milk in Airport's Pet Relief Room

PHOTO: Washington Dulles International Airport, where a breastfeeding passenger claims she was forced to pump in a pet relief room. (Courtesy of Thinkstock)

One day after a Phoenix mother made news for claiming she was scolded for breastfeeding in an airplane bathroom by a flight attendant comes another disturbing story involving a traveling nursing mother.

Boston's WCVB reported Massachusetts native Liz Cooper was escorted to the pet relief room at Washington Dulles International Airport after requesting a private place to use her breast pump.

Cooper described her reaction as shocked when the United Airlines employee showed her the room.

"There was no door, and there was a red fire hydrant in there for dogs to pee," she told WCVB. "It’s pretty much ridiculous in the year 2015 that we have to talk about this."

"Although many of the airport terminals where we operate do not have dedicated private spaces, we welcome nursing mothers to breastfeed or pump on our aircraft and in our facilities," a United spokesperson told WCVB.

The airline, which denied Cooper access to the airport's United Club area because she isn't a member, said it plans to issue her an apology for the substandard accommodations.

Breastfeeding and pumping at airports has become a polarizing topic recently, with some airports constructing private spaces for nursing women to access while they await their flight. Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the latest to address the lack of privacy and comfort for nursing mothers with a special lactaction room.

WGRZ reported the room, which can be locked, will contain outlets for breast pumps, a sink, a table and a chair. The room is currently under construction and is expected to be completed sometime within the next month. 

Despite those efforts and similar ones by airport officials in New York and Milwaukee, only 8 percent of U.S. airports have lactation rooms, per WGRZ. 


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