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Stop airlines charging women extra for travelling with expressed milk

(108 Posts)
SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 15:12:43

Please sign and share if you agree:

ChocChocPorridge Wed 04-Jan-17 15:44:27

I breastfed both my kids. I had to occasionally travel for business, but I just dialled that back for the first 6 months and after 6 months it was less vital for me to express both boob-wise, and kid-wise, since they were eating food too. My kids were bottle refusers anyway, so I've chucked away what little breast milk I managed to express, and those few times that I was away for a few hours in the early days, I just expressed enough in the shower to keep me comfortable.

I think the number of women who want to exclusively breastfeed and express when on frequent travel away from their < 6 month old baby must be a vanishingly small number. I'd hope that if your travel was so important, you'd be being paid quite well for it and could afford the extra luggage capacity.

I suppose on the other hand, that it's a vanishingly small number means that the airlines could make the exception too.

SpeakNoWords Wed 04-Jan-17 15:54:55

I'm a bit confused about the empty bottles bit. Are you limited on the number of empty bottles you can bring? What about if you use bags to express into?

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:05:26

Chocchoc - 'I'd hope that if your travel was so important, you'd be being paid quite well for it and could afford the extra luggage capacity.'

Sadly not at the moment when I'm not working much and am trying to maintain a career through the early stages of motherhood. Also surely its the principal. Even if a woman can afford to pay extra, why should she have to?

Speakno - empty bottles are treated in exactly the same way as full ones. So you can only carry up to 7 x 100ml empty containers in your hand luggage - same for bottles or bags.

TeaBelle Wed 04-Jan-17 16:07:10

What is the alternative that you are suggesting?

TeaBelle Wed 04-Jan-17 16:08:45

Also, if you propose to get on a long flight with expressed bm, how on earth would you keep it at Sade temperatures. The more I think the more this is a complete non issue

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:15:43

TeaBelle - did you read the link? My solution is on the petition.

Re safe temps, milk in the hold the hold is fine as long as the milk is in a cool bag. It will freeze during the flight and though it may start to defrost before you pick it up it will be kept cool by the cool bag.

SpeakNoWords Wed 04-Jan-17 16:17:37

I have a packet of 20 expressing bags. I wouldn't think twice about having them in hand luggage. What's the issue with them? Can you tell me where I can find out more about this regulation?

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:19:11

Ps..It might be a 'non-issue' for you, but it's not for me and other professional working mums who have to travel for work. There are two links on the petition to articles where women have had to dump large volumes of milk at security.

ChocChocPorridge Wed 04-Jan-17 16:22:53

Sorry, what?

Empty bottles are restricted?

Of course they're not - you can carry as many empty bottles as you'd like in your hand luggage if they fit! - we always take empty water bottles for instance, so that's 4 litres of empty bottle that's been through multiple airports across the world, and no-one has batted an eyelid, and why on earth would they?

If you want to carry large amounts of breast milk about, you'll have to check it. If you're travelling on a budget airline, that costs extra. That costs whether you're carrying breastmilk or nappies, or you're 6'6" and need more space for your larger clothes.

I think that in this case, what someone's wanting to do something quite so unusual as carry litres of liquid around, they are the ones that should bear the brunt of that cost.

Mind you, given how luggage handlers chuck suitcases about, I don't know that I really like the idea of litres of milk in a suitcase either.. I had a vodka bottle smash once and that caused enough havoc.

I completely support breastfeeding and obviously I'm a feminist, but I can't see that if you have a young baby, you can carry on exactly as you were - something has to give - either you'll need to travel less, or use formula a bit when you haven't been able to express enough. I don't think that carrying 3 gallons of breastmilk through heathrow is really a practical or s

ChocChocPorridge Wed 04-Jan-17 16:23:17

practical or sensible solution.. sorry - it submitted without me!

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:23:23

Speakno - you might be able to sneak empty bags through in a roll as they look less like containers on an X-ray machine, but if they find them the will confiscate them.

SpeakNoWords Wed 04-Jan-17 16:29:01

Your link is only about containers with contents, not empty ones, as far as I can see.

ChocChocPorridge Wed 04-Jan-17 16:29:20

That's the rule of liquids - not of empty bottles.. container size refers to the size of the container for the liquid.

EG. I once tried to travel with a half-empty bottle of anti-histamine - there was less than 100ml of liquid, but it was a 250ml bottle so it was confiscated. Had it been an entirely empty bottle, it would have been fine.

TheDisreputableDog Wed 04-Jan-17 16:29:39

There is nothing in that guide that suggests you can't transport empty containers... it says gels/liquids etc must be in containers smaller than 100ml.

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:34:43

Chocchoc - are you in the UK? It's a bit off topic to keep going on about the empty bottles, as this wasn't the issue I was highlighting, but you are definitely not allowed to carry empty containers of more than 7 x 100ml through security here. I have taken bottles bigger than this (full and empty) though at other airports round the world, but if they are picked up at X-ray the bottles will be confiscated.

Why should a BFing woman have to pay extra to transport expressed milk? If she travels a lot she has no option but to bring milk home with her to replenish her store of milk for the next trip.Even if she is only away for a night or two a month for work this starts to get very expensive very quickly (especially if she is freelance like me and has to pay her own travel). It's not the same as someone wanting to take shampoo or wine in their case.

'either you'll need to travel less, or use formula'

Eh? This isn't a very helpful solution.

I can't travel less. I'm freelance so I don't get maternity pay, and I would receive only £28 a week maternity allowance which isn't enough for us to survive on.

Plus my baby can't drink formula.

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:39:44

Can't find a link about empty containers unfortunately. But having had them removed from me many many times I'm pretty sure about the rules the security personnel are working to in the UK (even if they are not the officially published rules).

I'm not sure why everyone is focussing on the empty bottles aspect anyway. I'm trying to help breastfeeding mothers travel without paying wasn't really all about the empty bottles.

Fallonjamie Wed 04-Jan-17 16:40:44

So the proposal is to abandon the liquids rules? Or let you check in hold luggage for free?

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:41:13

It's all in the petition.

ChocChocPorridge Wed 04-Jan-17 16:45:52

I'm not in the UK right now - hence my knowledge of this - I'm on planes around europe a lot, and the US/Asia occasionally. Never had an issue with my family's empty bottles. <- Civil aviation authority

The Department for Transport does not prohibit the carriage of empty water bottles through security in hand luggage.

If you can't fit 2 day's away's expressed milk in hand luggage, then I'd contend that you don't have a problem expressing and will be able to have enough excess milk stored up not to have to transport more than your hand luggage allowance.

Children exist. They will affect your life. It doesn't have to be for long, but if you're breastfeeding, you're going to have to make some accommodations - be that by travelling less, bringing the baby with you, feeding more formula, or paying for checked in luggage.

To pretend that you can carry on exactly as you did before is just not justifiable. I took my baby to meetings, I shortened my trips, yes, I may have lost a client or two by doing that (although I think I gained some too) - but I had a baby to feed, and to pretend I was the same as before would have been lying.

SpeakNoWords Wed 04-Jan-17 16:49:39

Check it on for free I think, as unlimited amounts in hand luggage would be impractical.

I'm asking about the empty bottles thing because I think it's incorrect. I've never seen any guidance about this in any prohibited items list. To think a pack of expressing bags would be confiscated too seems totally incorrect as well. If you want people to sign it I think you need a lot more links and explanation as to what the exact rules are, and who is making those rules.

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:54:00

Chocchoc - But why not try to make things better?

If not for me during my own period of breastfeeding, then for other women in the future.

I'm not 'pretending I can carry on exactly as before'. I'm trying to earn an income for my little family. My work trips are not glamorous affairs, and I'd rather I didn't have to go on them whilst my son is still so tiny to be honest, but my work is my work. It's what I do. I can't get State Maternity Pay and I still need to pay the mortgage.

Thanks for the link re. empty bottles not being allowed. I couldn't find the details just knew from experience they don't let you through with them in the UK.

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 16:55:09

Speakno - Chocchoc has (kindly) found a link regarding empty water bottles above.

Phoenix15 Wed 04-Jan-17 17:00:10

Previous threads on one of the women the petition links to were pretty unanimous in agreeing that this one woman was expecting a pretty unreasonable bending of the rules and

Quite frankly including her 'issue' in with the petition is doing the petition no favours tbh.

SantasBigHelper Wed 04-Jan-17 17:02:35

Thank Pheonix,

I thought it was worth including because it was an instance of a woman having to dump a lot of milk.

TBH having received such a unanimously negative response I might just dump the whole idea. sad

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