OAKLAND, Calif. - This week, Oakland Airport introduced a way to make travel easier for young moms hauling infants and toddlers.
Oakland Airport's two lactation suites, the first in any California airport, provide mothers a free, dedicated, comfortable, private and lockable place to breastfeed or breast pump.
"That's very important especially when you're breastfeeding or pumping. You want to be comfortable," says new mom and traveler Clevett Lee.
But, it's more than that says airport spokeswoman Keonnis Taylor who is herself, a young mother. "It's really just the right thing to do. Breastfeeding is something that promotes health and wellness and it's a natural thing for mothers and babies" She adds that three out of every four babies start life breastfeeding and huge numbers of them travel with mom.
"I've pumped in bathroom stalls, on airplanes and on the Amtrak and found places to breastfeed just randomly in airports and I think having a design designated spot for mothers to go is a great use of resources," confirms traveler Rebecca Lungren, who is also a new mom.
In the suites, moms can feed baby or pump without worry of either offending fellow travelers or being the unwanted center of attention.
"To the have the privacy and the ability to kid of do your thing and take care of your baby and feed your baby and not have to worry about making other people uncomfortable," commented new mom Melissa Reineveld.
Dads, who've watched their wives struggle in public situations, like the suite too. "People shouldn't frown upon it. But having that special spot where mothers don't have to feel that they're getting somebody upset over the fact that they're breast feeding, I think that's a great idea," says new dad Kenneth Fowler.
Moms we met say it's a way better alternative to bathrooms. "Going in the bathroom stall is not necessarily the ideal thing to do," says Ms. Lee. "Bathrooms can be dirty and germs," adds Ms. Reineveld.
Look for more of these in many more locations, pubic and private, nationwide. "Many people who start out breastfeeding don't continue to do so because it takes a lot of coordination, planning and logistical opportunities to do so," says the airport's Ms. Taylor.