A mom who recently flew United Airlines says a flight attendant harassed her because she was breastfeeding her baby on the plane.
When is this going to stop? This is unfortunately not the first incident in which a breastfeeding mother says she was harassed on an airplane, but each time I hear about situations like these, it makes my blood boil.
Kristen Hilderman took to Twitter soon after the situation occurred and posted a detailed account of what she says took place when she was nursing her 5-month-old baby on the airplane. A flight attendant named Keith rudely inquired whether her husband was with her, and when her husband affirmed he was, the flight attendant threw a blanket at him and indicated he should help her out. And it didn’t end there, because later, when she reboarded the plane, a folded blanket was waiting there for her in her seat.
— Kristen Hilderman (@kristen) March 10, 2015
Treating a breastfeeding woman with hostility is gross, and I’m beyond sick of hearing about airline staff mistreating nursing moms. Chances are nobody even noticed that Hilderman was nursing her kid, and if they did, they probably didn’t care — except flight attendant Keith.
Babies need to eat, and moms need to feed them. If they use their breasts to do so, that’s OK. And different moms have different comfort needs — if you don’t feel like covering up your baby’s head (the part of the breastfeeding experience people can actually see), then you certainly don’t have to.
And it is definitely not the duty of airline staff to suggest a breastfeeding mother should cover up. Should they provide a blanket if requested by the nursing mom? Yes, of course. But if she’s sitting there, minding her own business, feeding her child, then leave her alone.
According to her Twitter account, United has reached out to Hilderman and apologized, but will the airline be able to erase this public relations black eye its staff member has given it? Only time will tell.