Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Unfriendly Skies

The plight of the breastfeeding mom thrown off her flight for refusing to cover up with a nasty old airline blanket has come up a lot around here lately. Most moms who find themselves within these four walls support the mom and are outraged by what happened to her, so it's all the more surprising to me when I hear a dissenting opinion. But I know that the number of people who think she should have just covered up is larger than I care to admit. Never mind that she was in the back of the plane, in a window seat, flanked by her husband. I've nursed when flying solo and sitting in an aisle seat over the wing, and that doesn't give anyone else the right to refuse my child her right to eat, or be comforted in a strange and potentially stressful situation. I understand that some people don't want to see mothers nursing. I also understand that most of those people are equipped with eyelids and functioning vertebrae. Don't want to see it? Look away.

I of course resisted saying that to a group of customers talking about the situation, but I couldn't resist the impulse to condemn the airline employee for such ridiculous action. I again quelled the urge to editorialize when a mother came in looking for a nursing drape/poncho because she was about to fly with her baby. But it killed me to think that one mamaphobic flight attendant has now scared a generation of new moms into thinking that stepping onto an airplane puts their nursing rights into question. For me, flying was always one of those times when I was 100% happy to be a nursing mother - no bottles to carry, no water to run out of during a three-hour delay, and now, no mixed formula to dump out at the security checkpoint - so I can't tolerate the idea that anyone could consider an airplane to be a boob-free zone.

I know there are nurse-ins being staged at airports around the country, but I've got a better idea. Next time you fly, grab the iPod and upload a few minutes of your baby at her very unhappiest, squalling and fussing and ramping up into a full tantrum. Plug in some external speakers and let the whole plane enjoy the noise. And when someone asks you to turn it off, say, "I'm sorry, the Off button is in my bra, and I'd hate to accidentally flash someone trying to make it stop."


Anonymous said...

Power to the boob!!!

Stacey Greenberg said...

hahahahaha--that should go in your next 3 min stand up routine.