A new mother took to social media to share a “majorly disappointing” experience with an airline on Monday. Chelsea Williams, 28, revealed that she was on a flight out of Manchester, England, when a crew member asked her to stop breastfeeding her 5-week-old infant.
Williams and her husband reached out to TUI customer support and asked if breastfeeding was permitted during take-off and landing. A representative of the airline confirmed that there were no official restrictions but added that the company wouldn’t recommend it as it would make other people uncomfortable.
Mother Asked To Stop Breastfeeding On Flight
Frustrated with the airline’s response, Williams shared the entire ordeal on her Facebook account. Since then, it has amassed about 1K comments, and many netizens have called out the airline’s behaviour.
Williams was “shocked” when she was asked to stop breastfeeding, as it led to her baby screaming. She said the airline’s official reply only made matters worse.
The mother said that, to her knowledge, breastfeeding during take-off and landing was encouraged to help ease infants’ ear pain. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines explicitly advise breastfeeding during take-off. The mother had also secured the baby along her body, which complied with the in-flight safety regulations.
Lactation Consultant Lyndsey Hookway explained the double standards regarding nursing mothers in a conversation with the Washington Post with regard to the incident.
She said that they wouldn’t discourage bottle-feeding on flights or refuse to allow people to suck boiled sweets during take-off and landing. She went on to say that the assumption that a baby may feed whenever and wherever they want should be the standard.
Williams explained that she was disappointed by the “discrimination” she faced from the “ill-trained” airline staff. She revealed the same to the publication, saying that the incident “left her on the verge of tears.”
The take-off and landing can be uncomfortable for anyone, let alone a 5-week-old child, she said, adding that she had never faced any trouble breastfeeding on the flight before now.
Responding to the massive outrage, the airline TUI offered Williams a mea culpa. A representative wrote an email saying that, as a family-friendly company, the airlines supported breastfeeding on their flights at any time. Further, the email read that the company was conducting an internal investigation and will ensure that all colleagues are retrained on the airline’s breastfeeding policy.