Chicago O’Hare Airport now has special breastfeeding room


An ADA-compliant Mother’s Room at O’Hare International Airport opened late last week on the mezzanine level of the Rotunda Area, in Terminal 3 near the Yoga Room and O’Hare’s urban garden.

Terminals 1, 2 and 5 at ORD are also scheduled to get Mother’s Rooms before the end of the year.

Chicago’s Midway Airport opened a room for nursing moms with comfortable seating, a sink, wash area and wall-mounted TV in September 2014 (on Concourse C, next the Yoga Room) and a new law signed over the weekend by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will require all airports in the state to eventually offer this amenity.

Lactation facilities are becoming a popular amenity at airports, with special rooms for this purpose now at Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Nashville International Airport and elsewhere.

Vermont’s Burlington International Airport, Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, and New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports and Liberty Newark International Airport have stand-alone lactation pods by Mamava.

mamava at NY Airports

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is promoting the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, which would require large and medium airports nationwide to provide lactation rooms.

The legislation would require all large and medium hub airports in the U.S. to provide a private space in each terminal, accessible to people with disabilities, where mothers could go to express breast milk. FAM would give airports two years to comply with the legislation and allow them to use Airport Improvement Program funds for the purpose of complying with the new requirement.

Room for nursing moms at MSP Int’l Airport

MSP Lactation room

Joining a growing trend at airports, Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) has created two spaces for nursing moms.

Both spaces have deep sinks for cleaning equipment, easily accessible electrical outlets, soft lighting, artwork, comfortable seating and are located in Terminal 1-Lindbergh. One is on Concourse F near Gate F2, the other is on Concourse C across from Gate C13. More rooms are in the works.

To use the room, travelers need to check-in at an information booth and get a volunteer on duty to unlock he door. After the room is used, it gets cleaned and ready for the next mom.

MSP isn’t the only airport to have a nursing room for moms. Burlington International Airport in Vermont installed a self-standing lactation station in August 2013.


As part of its recent reboot, in October of 2014 Dallas Love Field added a nursing room as well.

Love Field - Nursing Room

An increasing number of other airports have rooms set aside for nursing moms. Some are corners of existing rest rooms, others are specific-use. Look on an airport’s website for the locations or ask at an information booth when traveling.

Here’s the stand-alone structure for baby care and nursing moms at the Singapore Changi Airport

Terminal 1 - Transit - Nursing Rooms for Mothers

Flight attendant fired for breastfeeding cover-up comment


Julia Bernstein, a 32 year-old, New York based flight attendant for Virgin America, said she was fired from her job on June 2, “because I asked a lady who was breast feeding in one of the last rows to please cover up,” on a recent full-flight from Los Angeles to New York.

“With the constant line for the bathroom being right over her, people were feeling uncomfortable and asked me to have her cover up,” said Bernstein. “The lady’s breast was out and revealed everything.”

In a telephone interview this morning, Bernstein told me said that she asked the breastfeeding mom if she had a blanket. “I tried to be matter of fact and said, “Well, you need to cover up.”

Shortly afterwards, Bernstein said the woman’s husband became upset and asked if covering up while breastfeeding was an airline policy or if she made it up. “He said what I was doing was illegal. I told him it was not a policy, I was just trying to fix a situation,” said Bernstein.

The lead flight attendant then stepped in. “She talked to the husband and said they were fine,” said Bernstein.

But evidently they were not.

“The reason Virgin fired me is because they felt I did not apologize enough to the passenger or deal properly with the situation, even though there is no proper training by Virgin America on how to deal with this type of a situation,” said Bernstein.

Abby Lunardini, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Virgin America said that for privacy reasons the airline cannot disclose specifics of the termination but shared this statement:

“Our in-flight teammates are trained to deal with a number of situations in-flight, including this one. We absolutely do accommodate breastfeeding mothers in-flight. If a situation should arise where fellow guests are uncomfortable, our teammates are also trained to try to re-seat the guest uncomfortable with the situation.”

Bernstein appeared in a commercial for the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) that aired during “Fly Girls,” a reality TV show featuring four Virgin America flight attendants that aired for less than two months in 2010. She also said she’d been reprimanded before for what a passenger considered to be an inappropriate remark in response to complaints about an item on the in-flight menu and, after being late for a flight, was on probation.

In this situation, however, Bernstein feels she used “good judgment acted appropriately and did what any good flight attendant would have done.”

Telling a breastfeeding mother to cover up is a sensitive and potentially costly issue for airlines. In March,  Delta Air Lines and two other airline companies reached a settlement with Emily Gillette, who in 2006 was ordered off a plane in Vermont when she refused to cover herself up while breastfeeding her baby.

In response, outraged mothers staged “nurse-ins” at close to 20 other airports.