February 12, 2009
Business trips and breast milk: Still a headache for many moms?
On Monday, I got on a plane for the first time in a year. Since I hadn't flown in a while, I checked the TSA site for the latest and greatest rules and regulations on the correct way to pack my toiletries. Deciding it was too much of a hassle to buy 3-ounce containers for the primping products I wanted to bring with me, I opted to check my small bag, something I'd rather not do if I don't have to.
Of course my minor security-clearance inconvenience pales in comparison with what breastfeeding moms who travel for business have to contend with. An article in Monday's New York Times points out that the fun begins with trying to decipher what the TSA Web site means by telling moms that they can carry a "reasonable quantity" of breast milk on the plane.
As the New York Times reported, the amount of breast milk the TSA allows women to fly with is "determined case by case, based on the security officer's conversation with the passenger." Or, in the words of the TSA spokesperson the New York Times interviewed, "If you're traveling say, for one day, but you're bringing back a gallon of breast milk, that might not be allowed."
Then there's the matter of pumping on the plane and at the business event you're attending -- which is usually code for pumping in restroom after restroom, unless you can persuade a colleague to line up a private room for you.
I'm not a mom, so I can't speak from experience here. But I'd love to hear from some moms who've traveled with their briefcase and breast pump in hand. Is it easier to pump on the road these days? Or are things not much better than they were at the start of the decade when airport security guards were asking moms to taste-test their own milk to prove that it wasn't a national security threat?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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