Breast Milk on Planes

Well, it only took a few years for the Transportation Security Administration to come to grips with two fundamental truths of our modern world: 1) business travelers include breastfeeding mothers flying without infants and 2) breast milk is not an explosive device commonly used by terrorists.

On Saturday, Aug. 4, the Transportation Security Administration put into effect new rules regarding getting breast milk through airport security checkpoints (with or without an accompanying infant). Mothers flying with, and now without, their children will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as they declare it for inspection at the security checkpoint prior to screening.

More evidence of our tax dollars at work, taken from the TSA's Q&A:

Q. Do passengers carrying breast milk need to taste it to prove it is not a liquid explosive?
A. No. We will not ask a traveler to taste breast milk.

Q. Why is breast milk not a threat?
A. Breast milk is a medical necessity and it is being classified as such.

I am generally supportive of TSA efforts, being all for safe airline travel. I think what happened is that no one at TSA stopped to think that average business travelers included working mothers with new babies -- not traveling with them. That's just another example of the assumption that you can't be a good mom (eg, breastfeeding your baby) and a good employee (eg, taking a business trip for your company). Stories from this blog showed otherwise.

The good news is that it is definitely a lot easier now to pump and transport breast milk when flying. One small step for working mothers, one giant step for our government.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 6, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Breastfeeding
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Comments

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I'm constantly amazed by all the discussion of whether breast feeding is an appropriate way to feed an baby and whether one should be offended by actually seeing a baby nurse.

It seems to me that a awful lot of people have missed the obvious... Every woman is born with breasts and those breast were designed for one thing and one thing "only"....feeding a baby.

So here's MY message to all of those with the reservations, discomfort and questions:

HELLO! This is what God intended for them to do!

How about you stop trying to control their behavior and spend your energy figuring out why you have such an unhealthy attitude!

Posted by: vanbrunt | August 6, 2007 5:17 AM

Agree -- it is amazing that until fairly recently it was illegal to breastfeed publicly (or at least people, including police officers, acted as if it were).

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 7:11 AM

But isn't the pendulum swinging too far the other way right now, though? I saw in the news that NYC is banning formula in an attempt to encourage women to breastfeed their babies more. What about those women who cannot breastfeed, or who adopt a baby, or just cannot provide enough milk themselves? Don't they need an alternative nearby rather than having to go out of town to purchase formula?

Posted by: johnl | August 6, 2007 7:47 AM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 8:01 AM

They are not banning formula in NY, they are simply banning free formula handouts from formula in hospitalswho use hospitals and dr's offices etc for their huge marketing campaigns.Formula is still available to mothers who want it or need it.

Posted by: geblank | August 6, 2007 8:07 AM

What does this have to do with balance? Yippy, women can carry breastmilk on planes. I'm all for it. But can we get a real topic on balance? How about military families, deployment, and balance?

Posted by: little_dipper_82 | August 6, 2007 8:14 AM

Wow! That's great. I just got back from a business trip away from the baby, and I pumped. It's a huge pain. You have to ask for a fridge in your room and have the hotel freeze cold packs, which, FYI have to be put in a ziplock to comply with food regulations. Then you have to pack a cooler, put it in a checked bag, and hope they don't search your bag, ie get into the milk. And you have to hope your bag doesn't end up sitting on the tarmac heating up and spoiling the milk. This one small step would have been great.

Now, if only they would let us carry bottled water to make formula bottles.

I already had a conversation about the NYC formula "ban." Obviously, it's not a real ban. I thought, if you want to promote breastfeeding, instead of banning free formula, why not put some more LCs on staff so they can spend more than 5 minutes 2 days post-delivery helping out? Because that costs money, and banning formula is free. Put your money where your mouth is, hospital administrators.

Posted by: demandabanana | August 6, 2007 8:35 AM

"...one giant step for our government"

No. One giant step for the terroristrs now that you informed them how to have their wives concile liquid explosive in baby bottles.

Posted by: richierichsr | August 6, 2007 8:36 AM

Spelling Police!!!

"One giant step for the terroristrs now that you informed them how to have their wives concile liquid explosive in baby bottles."

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 8:53 AM

Hey Little Dipper -- So write a Guest Blog about YOUR idea of balance!

For a breastfeeding working mom who travels, this topic has everything to do with balance. A little tolerance, please!

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 8:58 AM

Please forgive my ignorance, but why would a mother traveling without her child need to save, store and travel with breast milk? I understand the need to continue to pump, but why save it?

Posted by: Jayne | August 6, 2007 9:06 AM

I love how the publication was helpful enough to answer the question on everyone's mind: why is breast milk not a threat? No one could figure that out until a government official assuaged our fears and doubts.

Posted by: NotALoveSong | August 6, 2007 9:25 AM

Jayne -- Good God! Pumping breast milk is time-consuming and minorly tortuous. Once you've pumped, that milk is like liquid gold! (And truly, the market value is $$$ per ounce for private breast milk banks). When I had a freezer full of breast milk, I lived in fear of a power outage.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 9:29 AM

Leslie -- You're not answering my question which was asked in good faith. I'm not stupid -- I understand it's a pain to do and time-consuming. But why is it necessary to travel with it? It's not exactly a non-renewable resource and the relatively small amount obtained doesn't seem to justify the aggravation of transporting it to me.

With responses like yours, it's no wonder the tone of these comments turn ugly so often and so quickly.

Posted by: Jayne | August 6, 2007 9:35 AM

Ms. Steiner writes "I am generally supportive of TSA efforts". Why is that? What have they done to benefit the American public? Where Osama bin Laden has not been able destroy our freedom, the TSA has stepped in and made the mincemeat of the Fourth Amendment. It took those freaking idiots of the TSA long enough to figure out that breast milk is not dangerous! How long will it be before the American public realizes that the TSA - and the other unconstitutional alphabet-soup agencies - are our true enemies, from which we have more to fear than from some rag-tag terrorists in the mountains half-way across the world?

Posted by: LeszX | August 6, 2007 9:36 AM

There are two reasons to pump while away from your baby. The first is to maintain your supply and the second is to provide your child with breastmilk during your absence. If one pumps before going back to work, a nice supply can be kept int he freezer. Pumping while away keeps that supply ahead of the baby's need for it. Otherwise you'd soon run out.

I for one never understood the logic behind traveling with breastmilk in a bottle while I was with my child. Why wouldn't I just nurse? Thankfully TSA has finally come to its senses.

Posted by: kk | August 6, 2007 9:37 AM

I have no problem with people pumping and nursing. That is there business. But I am sick and tired of all the comments implying that I am a bad mother because I chose to not breastfeed my child. There is nothing wrong with giving a child formula, and city, state, and the federal governments should keep their opinions to themselves.

Posted by: lrubens | August 6, 2007 9:49 AM

While I wholeheartedly agree with this new decision by the TSA, I think that more than anything it points out the supreme silliness of many of the other rules. Bruce Schneier, a security consultant/author/corporate CTO, recently published an interview he did with TSA head Kip Hawley. It's published at

http://www.schneier.com/interview-hawley.html

Among other interesting comments from the interview:

- TSA and national lab researchers decided to allow 3-ounce bottles of liquid because they determined that there's no explosive of which 3 ounces will bring down a plane

- they decided that combining materials from different 3-ounce bottles once past security isn't feasible

- there are exceptions to the rules that allow larger bottles of liquids deemed medical in nature - the specific example cited in the interview is saline solution for contact lenses. You can bring your value-priced jumbo bottle of contact lens solution with you even though it's more than 3 ounces if you declare it. (FWIW, breast milk has now been placed into this same category as contact lens solution; that's why you can bring it.)

- One of the discussions in the interview is about why liquids taken away from passengers are simply tossed in large bins/trashcans. If you're really concerned about a liquid being explosive, you DON'T just want to toss it in a bin in a place occupied by very large numbers of people all day. Hawley notes that liquids are only tossed in the bins after it's been determined that there's no threat. He doesn't explain why, since there's no threat, you can't just keep the liquid!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 6, 2007 9:49 AM

Jayne,

Pumping and dumping when you travel is painful for the reasons Leslie stated but often is not feasible as a result of the fact that your baby needs to eat. If you are breastfeeding and you are not with your baby that means you either have some breatmilk frozen and the baby is depleting that supply or your baby is drinking formula. Personally, when I was breastfeeding I had some frozen but for the most part I didn't have a lot of extra breastmilk stored away. If I didn't pump on Monday there would be no milk for Tuesday and my son did not drink formula. For me I was hard pressed to get every ounce of breastmilk I could - it may be a renewable resource but it's not a faucet. Traveling made it even more difficult both because trasnoprting it was a hassle but also because I did not produce as much when I was stressed and because (go figure) pumping in an airport bathroom while sitting on a toilet is not ideal.

Posted by: meganhope | August 6, 2007 9:50 AM

What is wrong with you people??? Are you all agents of Al-Qaeda?? The TSA is trying to protect us from nuclear annihilation and you are concerned about whether you can get breast milk onto a plane? How petty are you? The simple answer: until we win the war on terror, don't travel with an infant. Pretty simple, isn't it? Make some sacrifices. My God, you are all so self-absorbed. GOD BLESS YOU DICK CHENEY!!! GOD BLESS YOUR LESBIAN DAUGHTER!!!! GOD BLESS YOU BILL KRISTOL!!!! Bill, don't listen to the Commnunists on this blog, please!!!!

Posted by: bababooey666 | August 6, 2007 9:54 AM

RIP ON BALANCE

from 300-400 posts per day to less than 100. Killed off by boredom and disinterest.

Posted by: anon123 | August 6, 2007 9:55 AM

Sorry, I am tired of the whole smug "that is what breasts are made for" line. Sure, they do supply food, but if I don't have kids, should I just get rid of them since I am not using them for their "God-intended purpose?" That superior attitude just gets under my skin...

Posted by: Catwhowalked | August 6, 2007 9:56 AM

Jayne-

I "pumped and dumped" (as you are basically suggesting) when I travelled for just an overnight, but I never had a freezer-full of extra milk...so when I travelled for more than a day, I really tried to store and bring the milk home because my daughter needed it soon after I got back.

Posted by: mgrajales | August 6, 2007 9:56 AM

"Ms. Steiner writes "I am generally supportive of TSA efforts". Why is that? What have they done to benefit the American public?"

My God, what is wrong with you???? The TSA, along with our national hero Dick Cheney, has prevented any further attacks after 9/11. Are you a sick, perverted enemy of America??? I truly hope not, but the tone of your post suggests otherwise. God Bless the TSA!!! God BLESS YOU DICK CHENEY!!!!! Please do not listen to the rantings of the anti-Americans such as this poster. Oh my God, they belong at Gitmo.

Posted by: bababooey666 | August 6, 2007 9:58 AM

FYI -- Some posters are experiencing difficulties caused by conflicts with Norton and McAfee pop-up blockers. We hope to have a fix in place in the next several weeks. Currently, if you temporarily turn off your pop-up blocker, comments and the comments entry box should be available (though you may need to reload the page).

We realize that asking to turn off pop-up blockers can be a charged subject, but we are working on a solution to be implemented within the next several weeks. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 9:59 AM

To Poster Jayne:
Some women "pump and dump" to keep up their milk supply and not have to hassle with transporting the milk back to the baby. Others must pump and freeze the milk for numerous reasons....the baby could have an allergy to cows milk or other food products and must have their mothers milk. You only produce so much a day and it's not like you can make a gallon one day and a pint the next, it takes a while to increase or decrease production (several days to several weeks in fact).

Since the milk supply can be somewhat limited, throwing away breastmilk is not an option for all mothers.

Posted by: changingfaces | August 6, 2007 10:00 AM

"from 300-400 posts per day to less than 100. Killed off by boredom and disinterest."

Right you are. But here's the thing. Leslie doesn't care. She gets paid regardless of whether her blog is useless or not. That is why we all need to write to the WaPo and tell them why we are fed up with Leslie and why she needs to go. I tried to reach out to editorial board member Ruth Marcus but heard nothing back. If we are all serious here, we need to start a concerted effort to remove Leslie from her duties. Show her what the free market is all about. LESLIE MUST GO!!!!

Posted by: bababooey666 | August 6, 2007 10:02 AM

Come on, all you granola-eating breast-feeders. Deal with the real issue. You are helping the enemy of America, Al-Qaeda. It is not a far stretch to say that all breast-feeding mothers are agents of Osama Bin-Laden himself. Thank God I used formula. Thank you, Nestle Corporation. I trust you. I DO NOT TRUST OSAMA BIN-LADEN AS MY BREAST-FEEDING COMPATRIOTS SEEM TO. It is so sad.

Posted by: bababooey666 | August 6, 2007 10:07 AM

It's always a crap shoot with bababooey, but what has she done to get fired? I think she should monitor this blog more but other than that, fired? Not on board with that. Sorry

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 10:10 AM

In my situation, dumping breastmilk would have been incredibly wasteful and foolish. I had a limited supply of breastmilk and every drop was precious. Luckily, I don't travel much for my job, so flying was not an issue. But I'm glad that the working mothers out there who are nursing have the option of storing their breastmilk on trips and returning with it to their babies.
And of course, breasts are for breastfeeding. They have been so sexualized that people forget that their primary purpose is to feed babies. This is not a statement against women who don't have children or who don't nurse. It is simply a biological fact, and to take it as an insult against women who don't need to nurse is just silly.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 10:10 AM

Two breast topics in a week, Leslie must be a thrillseeker.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 10:13 AM

How about just banning babies from airplanes? That would make life a lot better for the rest of us who have to endure the ear piercing screams and restless little feet that just love the back of my seat.

Posted by: PepperDr | August 6, 2007 10:17 AM

This is idiotic. Now, terrorists can being huge amounts of liquid explosives on planes so long as they put it in a baby bottle.

I can already hear the hand-wringing from the news commentators when it happens.

The answer to this is very simple: Require the person carrying the breast milk to put a couple of drops into a machine that can tell whether the stuff is milk or explosive.


Posted by: test3 | August 6, 2007 10:21 AM

I applaud NYC for stopping the distribution of free formula and I look forward to the day formula is available only by prescription to that tiny minority of women who truly cannot breastfeed.

Formula causes diabetes. Formula is often poorly made and nutritionally deficient. Formula use deprives the child of a multitide of protections against disease - even raises the mother's chances of getting several cancers.

But, the biggest reason to oppose formula use is that it is designed to help the mother detach far too early from her child.

Marie Montessori recommended three years of breastfeeding before the data on its healthfullness arrived. She advocated it because she saw mothers who don't nurse this long find it all too easy to leave their children with other people.

Human infants evolved, like all primates, to need intensive contact and involvement with their mothers for years after birth. Human infants who are apart from their mothers experience a flooding of cortisol, a stress hormone, in their brains. This hormone impairs learning and multiplies the chances that the so afflicted infant will grow into an adult with anxiety and depressive disorders.

Just as being left to cry is a damaging abomination with lifelong affects on the psyche of children (they develop a preference for the unhappy state their parents have inflicted upon them and will, lifelong, sabatoge their own true happiness because they believe in infancy that their infallible parents clearly want them to suffer,) the use of formula typically, but not always, is associated with the mom being able to ignore the true needs of her child for her prescence and to rationalize with all the tools our detachment culture provides that her child, unique among all primates, doesn't really need mommy.

ALthough this paper constantly shades the horrific data on infant/mother separation, the facts are out there and have been there for decades, with NICHD researchers confirming their own worst nightmares with every subsequent study release: infants and toddlers need their moms and are substantially harmed physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially by separation from her. (More than 10 hours a week seems to be the breaking point for an infant's capacity to feel truly loved and wanted by mom.)

Breastmilk is surely no tool of terrorists, but formula is the tool of those who thrive when families, when human attachment, fail.

Posted by: jasto | August 6, 2007 10:23 AM

lrubens,

What on earth are you talking about? What comments? Are you angry that the feds have acknowledged that those of us who breastfeed need to transport pumped milk when we're away from the baby? In order to reach this conclusion, there has to be some acknowledgement that some women don't want to give their kids formula. If they don't understand this and help accommodate our choice, they force formula on us. We have to feed our kids, after all, and if they take our milk away, all that's left is formula. Noone's taking formula from you. Well, except the free sample in NYC hospitals.

"I have no problem with people pumping and nursing. That is there business. But I am sick and tired of all the comments implying that I am a bad mother because I chose to not breastfeed my child. There is nothing wrong with giving a child formula, and city, state, and the federal governments should keep their opinions to themselves.

Posted by: lrubens | August 6, 2007 09:49 AM"

Posted by: demandabanana | August 6, 2007 10:28 AM

The sewing circle has commenced.......................

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 10:33 AM

The real problem is that the TSA rule of no liquids/gels on airplanes is just impossible to maintain. People will always need to be able to bring medications and other items that fall into this category. If it is okay to bring a bottle of medicine (which of course it should be), the rest of the ban is just idiotic. Since there is no way to ban ALL liquids, the ban is just there to make people feel better, but it serves absolutely no purpose except to make travelling more difficult.

Posted by: floof | August 6, 2007 10:34 AM

What a stupid topic. Babies shouldn't even be allowed on airplanes, so breast feeding should be a non-issue. In fact, anyone under the age of 18 should be banned from airplanes. Period. We have turned the airline industry into mass transportation and it needs to stop. You have a bunch of no-neck monsters who won't stop screaming for hours at a strech and you need to go to Grandma's for Thanksgiving? Fine. Get in a van and drive. Stay out of the air. Give the rest of us some peace.

Posted by: FridayKnight | August 6, 2007 10:36 AM

FridayKnight- helloo???? the reason behind needing to travel with large quantities of breastmilk is because a mother is travelling WITHOUT her baby.

Posted by: floof | August 6, 2007 10:38 AM

jasto- You're insane. Long before formula, people left their babies with other lactating women. NICHD does not support your inflated claims, either. Surely you know people rarely listen to the lunatic fringe. You'll gain no support by being so polar. You and yours are the reason breastfeeding has not been taken seriously. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: demandabanana | August 6, 2007 10:39 AM

FridayNight- I suggest you get a group of investors together and start an adults only airline. Capitalism, baby. Though I have to warn you, "adults only" enterprises end up catering to old naked perverts.

Posted by: demandabanana | August 6, 2007 10:41 AM

The Day of Judgment, when it comes, «every woman who giveth suck shall forget the infant which she suckleth», says Koran at beginning of Sura al-Hajj. This implies what? that until the Day of Judgment comes, mothers must «not» forget the infants that they are nursing, even when the mothers, they are flying on airplanes. Save milk, bring home to babies, babies will grow strong, this will strengthen the Umma.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 10:51 AM

okay, let's rename the blog "Breasts and Balance."

And Baby Booey, why don't you write your own Guest Blog since you are so obsessed with me and this blog? Get it off your chest. Uh oh. Back to breasts again...

And Jayne, you have to be just a tetch thicker skinned if you want to read this blog! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I am sorry for doing so and I hope you keep posting your opinions.

But as someone who breastfed three babies as a fulltime working mom I found your naivete pretty stunning, especially since this topic is about how public officials who were similarly naive about the realities of working motherhood got us in all this trouble in the first place with the breastmilk ban.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 10:53 AM

"Marie Montessori recommended three years of breastfeeding before the data on its healthfullness arrived."

3 years!!!!!!

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 11:02 AM

To whomever is saying that Leslie must go.

Some of us like Leslie and most but not all of her topics. (Sorry, Leslie!)

If you don't like it, don't read it! There is plenty of other stuff out there in blog land to amuse you.

BTW, to stay on topic, here is a link to breastmilk storage guidelines:

http://www.ameda.com/milkstorage/guidelines.aspx

Posted by: Fred | August 6, 2007 11:04 AM

I am all for breastfeeding, and did it for longer than anyone I know (longer than 3 years). But you are too extreme.

And banning formula is ridiculous. I relied on formula to supplement, even when I was breastfeeding, and supplementing allowed me to breastfeed for as long as I did. Also, if you ban formula, you only risk mothers giving their babies other, less appropriate food, such as cow's milk, when they cannot breastfeed.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 11:05 AM

BTW - My comment was directed to Jasto.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 11:06 AM

«It is not a far stretch to say that all breast-feeding mothers are agents of Osama Bin-Laden himself.»

«Posted by: bababooey666 | August 6, 2007 10:07 AM»

O Lady, yes, it «is» a far stretch to insult breast-feeding mothers as you do here. Other posters, they try to make formula-feeding mothers feel bad, the write that formula, it causes diabetes. Why insult anyone? Why try to make anyone feel bad? Cannot we all get along?

Why «666»? Maybe on Judgment Day, mothers will stop nursing their babies just long enough to fight against 666 Antichrist who wants to eat up their babies Revelation 12:4. Mothers, they will store milk in refrigerators, they will help Mahdi destroy 666 Antichrist who refuses to get along with babies, mothers will save their babies from being eaten, then the milk they stored, they will take it out of the refrigerators and go back and feed their babies.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 11:08 AM

"I have no problem with people giving their children the chicken pox vaccine. That is there business. But I am sick and tired of all the comments implying that I am a bad mother
because I chose not to give the chicken pox vaccine to my child. There is nothing wrong with chicken pox, and city, state, and the federal governments should keep
their opinions to themselves.

Posted by: GutlessCoward | August 6, 2007 11:11 AM

Emily

"I am all for breastfeeding, and did it for longer than anyone I know (longer than 3 years)."

Not sure about the longer than 3 years deal. I taught my kids to read at age 3. Might be kind of creepy to be bf'ing at that age, as well.

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 11:12 AM

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 11:08 AM

Was your previous job "BAGHDAD BOB"?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 11:17 AM

Anonforthis,
If you think it's creepy, that's your issue. Fortunately, it has never been my issue.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 11:17 AM

Anonforthis,
If you think it's creepy, that's your issue. Fortunately, it has never been my issue.


CREEEEEEPPPY, No one wanted to tell you but they thought it was creepy too.

Posted by: anon123 | August 6, 2007 11:24 AM

Luckily, I have never much cared what other people thought.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 11:26 AM

Amen, Emily.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 6, 2007 11:28 AM

re: formula companies passing out free samples of their product at hospitals

My drug dealer is very aware of the "first doses are free" trick too.

Posted by: GutlessCoward | August 6, 2007 11:37 AM

Emily

"Luckily, I have never much cared what other people thought."

REALLY?! You might want to re-read some of your posts from this blog. You are a bit on the sensitive side...

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 11:44 AM

re: formula companies passing out free samples of their product at hospitals

so what, it is a business. There's nothing sinister about it. get a grip

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 11:45 AM

At this point Emily, it is best to ignore the posts from anonforthis.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 6, 2007 11:46 AM

Hmmmm.

Okay, well to everyone wondering whether the calming affect of having everyone login would be short term, logging in sets up phase 2 of 'calming' process.

Ban/block the idiots....

(now back to your regularly scheduled breastfeeding conversation)

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | August 6, 2007 11:47 AM

"How about just banning babies from airplanes? That would make life a lot better for the rest of us who have to endure the ear piercing screams and restless little feet that just love the back of my seat.

Posted by: PepperDr | August 6, 2007 10:17 AM"

Not that I don't identify with your sentiment, but there are a couple of fundamental flaws in your argument. First, Leslie was discussing breastfeeding women who travel WITHOUT babies, and second, I don't think a child of breastfeeding age has legs long enough to reach the back of your chair, unless, of course, the mother is one of those "breastfeed until the kid goes off to college" types.

My questions are: while I understand that breast milk can be considered a medical necessity, can it not still be used as a liquid explosive? Just because a would-be terrorist doesn't typically use breast milk, does that mean he or she can't? Shouldn't it still be subjected to a screening process? Secondly, does freezing breast milk alter its chemical structure such that it negates the benefits of the milk? You'll have to forgive my ignorance, but often, if a compound is frozen when it's not meant to be frozen, the water in the compound crystallizes, and renders the compound unusable. Does this not happen with breast milk?

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 6, 2007 11:48 AM

Oh, before I disappear to let the breastfeeding convo run it's course for the week, I should point out that I actually think the formula samples are a good idea.

I had a fussy baby that seemed to get all gassy from certain formulas, and the pediatrician had us try a couple of samples out until we settled on something the baby was happy with.

As it turns out, the baby wanted "the good stuff", the most expensive formula on the market. So every time we would go in for an appointment the doctor was nice enough to load us up with the little sample cans.

So, from my perspective the little marketing samples saved me some money. Formula ain't cheap.

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | August 6, 2007 11:51 AM

Hmmm...talking about breastfeeding again...of course breast milk should be allowed on planes (as well as formula). The nutter who wants to outlaw formula needs to be lassoed in and pulled away from the edge before he or she falls off...not every mom can/wants to nurse and, as long as a woman feeds her child healthy sustenance in the early months, who cares which it is? I do wish we could give this topic a rest for a while.

What really bugs me are those inane rules devised by the IDIOTS in the TSA! They are constantly solving the last problem, instead of trying to predict the next danger! One moron tries to use his shoe as a bomb, now we all take off our shoes; someone might mix liquid explosives, and now nobody can bring tea from the airport kiosk on board (which wouldn't be so bad if the airlines got you something to drink within an hour of boarding); meanwhile, terrorists have moved on to the danger we have NOT anticipated.

Please, WaPo, don't eat my post!

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 11:52 AM

I think the formula samples are a good idea too. Everyone doesn't want to or can breastfeed, and like proudpapa said, formula is expensive.

Not giving out samples won't change anyone's mind. It will just put more of a burden on people who perhaps have less money to buy formula.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 6, 2007 11:54 AM

pATRICK, tobacco companies are businesses too, but if they passed out free cigars at the hospital maternity wards, well, it's not like I would characterize it as sinester, but I'm sure there is a word for it that I can't think of at this moment.

Smartass!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | August 6, 2007 11:57 AM

To jasto: Being a father of two children (9 yr old son, 13 month old daugther) I can attest to the positive side of breastfeeding and not using formula. My son was breastfed until 4 yrs old, my daughter will probably be similar (depending on her personality, i.e. when she is ready). My son is incredibly independent, intelligent, never got earaches, etc. My 13 month old daugther is doing great, on the same course my son took. I hate to think of what might have happened if they were formula fed.

I know there are a very small minority of women who cannot breastfeed (which I can imagine must be frustrating and sad for them), however, they can still follow attachment parenting concepts (google it and you'll see what it means and why it is so important to society).

TSA is yet another acronym to try to respond to FUD created by our government to keep us complacent. I know that some in the TSA truly want to help - they are probably not the folks who actually make the policies based on what I'm seeing.

Posted by: rcgottlieb | August 6, 2007 12:07 PM

demandabanana wrote:

"Now, if only they would let us carry bottled water to make formula bottles."

I've never had to make formula before, but is there a reason that the bottles of water you can purchase in the secure zone aren't good enough for formula? As a frequent flyer, I can attest that the only time you're actually denied having water is when you are actually going through the security process (about 5-10 minutes).

Posted by: neese | August 6, 2007 12:27 PM

Well, my sons were not breastfed, and they were very healthy (very few colds, one ear infection each throughout toddlerhood -- #2 caught it from #1, who caught it from a friend -- boys are very bright, etc). I don't want to knock breastfeeding -- it's great, for those who can/want to -- but its absence does NOT mean a child will not thrive. Nursing is only ONE factor going into any given infant's health.

And I do think it's a bit presumptous to assume that mothers who don't nurse are overly burdened by sadness and guilt.

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 12:28 PM

Neese,
You are supposed to use sterile water to mix formula. When you make it at home, you generally mix the liquid concentrate with an equal quantity of water, fill the bottles, put them in the sterilizer, and boil for (I think -- it's been years) 20 minutes. I don't know, but I'm guessing the bottled water sold in the airport isn't sterile.

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 12:32 PM

"Well, my sons were not breastfed, and they were very healthy... -- boys are very bright, etc"

Intelligence is determined by DNA - you should know that.

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 12:33 PM

Oh, you don't need sterile water at home if you use a sterilizer -- tap water is fine.

I have a question -- if you nurse, since the baby isn't getting fluoride in the water, do you have to administer fluoride drops, or does the baby get it through the breast milk? I lived on a well, and I had to give the boys drops for years.

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 12:35 PM

anonforthis,
thanks, I think -- can I take credit for good genes?

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 12:37 PM

My doctor in Virginia said that most ear infections involve heredity, i.e. how the kid's ear canal is formed affects ear infections. I had ear infections, and my brother and husband both had tubes so it was no surprise when my daughter had to have tubes too.

I breastfed for six weeks and then I couldn't do it anymore. During those six weeks I also supplemented with formula. My daughter is healthy, happy and smart. Just like most of the other babies who were breastfed that I know. I didn't know the being independent came from being breastfed, I guess we learn something new everyday.

Posted by: Irishgirl74 | August 6, 2007 12:38 PM

educmom0615 |


"thanks, I think -- can I take credit for good genes? "

Partial credit is awarded!

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 12:41 PM

I flew cross-country for a 5 day business trip about 6 weeks post-partum, pre-911. That trip exhausted what we had in the freezer and I came back with an insulated bag full of milk. For shorter trips, I would pump and dump.

But when it is all said and done, my daughter was fed breast milk for all of about 6 months. Her cousins, who nursed until they were about 3 years old, are far less healthy and considerably less independent. Heck, they're less healthy and independent than I was at their age, and I wasn't fed breast milk at all.

Individual kids WILL vary and extended breastfeeding is no guarantee of health or independence for a given kid.

Posted by: SolontheGreat | August 6, 2007 12:43 PM

Educmom,

I usually lurk... but... no, no fluoride for bf kids. I don't think they need it that young. And nowadays you make formula (at least I did) by adding some powder to tap water in the bottle, shaking it up, and warming as needed depending on your child's preferences. No sterilizer or sterilization was involved in my children's formula consumption (hope I didn't blow it there but they seem to be OK).

RCGottlieb, if you'd given your kids formula, odds are they'd still be very bright, OK, and healthy. I did breastfeed both of mine exclusively to the age of 6 months and 8 months respectively, with a mix of breast and bottle to the ages of 9 and 11 months, respectively. One of my two had virally induced asthma when small and had occasional nebulizer treatments as a result. The other didn't. My husband was formula fed and is healthy as a horse, always has been. It's just not that clear-cut in my opinion...

Incidentally, I kept my formula samples from the hospital in a kitchen cupboard in case of emergency, as a backup for the breast milk I kept in the freezer. Never needed it but I didn't mind having it, and it certainly didn't influence my decision re breastfeeding or no.

Posted by: ahj7019 | August 6, 2007 12:45 PM

ahj7019,
I guess I dated myself -- my youngest is 18 (leaving for college Saturday!!! What am I going to do with a quiet house and full fridge?!?!) I was a lot more neurotic about sterilization with #1, which I suppose is typical of all new moms.

Thanks for the fluoride answer. My pediatrician started the boys on drops around 3 months. Maybe he was just overly-cautious -- but I have to say, they have GORGEOUS teeth! I'd like to think that they got their brains from me, but I know they got their teeth (and thick hair and athleticism) from their dad.

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 12:56 PM

"Mothers, they will store milk in refrigerators, they will help Mahdi destroy 666 Antichrist who refuses to get along with babies, mothers will save their babies from being eaten, then the milk they stored, they will take it out of the refrigerators and go back and feed their babies."

Ok, I think this is my favorite post of all time on this blog. It's like Mom-as-Buffy, heading out in the morning to save the world, but always making it home in time to feed the baby.

Posted by: laura33 | August 6, 2007 1:05 PM

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 11:08 AM

This guy is like the muslim version of BABABOOEY.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 1:08 PM

Possibly why a person would urge you to breastfeed your baby, (or at least try):

I was a formula fed baby and got childhood diabetes.

As most of you well know, I'm not the sharpest bulb in the drawer either. (I thought we had a blog about breastfed babies that have been proven to have higher IQs than formula babies) Both my brother and sister are college graduates with masters degrees. I on the other hand, am a dropout.

To make things worse, Diabetes caused me to go blind. I'll never see the light of day as long as I live. Oh well.

My mother stills feels guilty for not trusting her instincts and listening to the so-called "experts" at that time who sold her the formula.

I'm not whining, just saying...

Posted by: Lil_Husky | August 6, 2007 1:16 PM

Jasto -- Where is the "balance" in your views? Are you one of those people women call a Breast Feeding Nazi?

Women should be able to choose whether or not to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is really hard, especially if you have to return to work within a few weeks of giving birth and your employer makes it difficult for you to pump at work.

Your "passion" for breastfeeding would be more constructively used if you supported women breastfeeding (IF that is what they choose) and put pressure on employers and our government to be supportive of women (and men) who breastfeed.

You can breastfeed until your children are teenagers if you wish. But don't dictate to me or any other mom what YOU think WE need to do in order to be a good mother. That's up to the individual mom.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 1:18 PM

Neese- The bottled water in the airport is ALWAYS cold. At least I've never found it not in a cooler. The baby prefers body temp formula, since she started as a breastfed baby, but room temp will do.

Mona- You can freeze breastmilk, but it does change the structures of some important proteins, like antibodies.

I wonder if the formula attackers, breastfeeding crazies, and attachment parenting proponents see the irony of posting on "on balance." Basically they outed their disdain for working mothers. Don't get me wrong, I believe breast is best and I REALLY didn't want to have to use formula, but I will not put myself in the same group as those people.

Posted by: demandabanana | August 6, 2007 1:18 PM

Hurray! Bottom line: breastfeeding is best and must be encouraged for all moms. The last time I traveled on business, my son was nursing exclusively. Because of TSA's liquids rules and to reduce time away from my son (I didn't want to miss more than one bedtime), I made a "balance" decision to fly in and out of Denver in 14 hours -- I arrived 15 minutes before the required meeting, and had my cab waiting after it was over so I could head straight back to the airport. At that point, I hadn't been able to pump all day since I was in airports; and, like many, I was not about to throw the milk away. My breasts were rock-solid and extremely painful. I zipped through security carrying my pump, which the TSA agents nearly dissambled in front of everyone, and I headed for the only private place I could find -- the ladies room. I washed my hands and, standing in the handicapped stall touching nothing, I pumped 12 ounces of milk that would feed my son while he was at the babysitter later in the week. Since my flight was almost 7 hours, I needed to find ice. Fortunately, I had grabbed extra baggies from the TSA agents and I headed to a fast food restaurant to buy a $2.00 cup of ice. I filled up the baggies and stored them in my breastmilk storage until with the full bottles. Everything lasted just fine, and I got those bottles in the refrigerator when I got home. I was exhausted and frankly, stressed, from the experience -- I knew it was the best I could do for my son, though. Balance requires reasonable rules--fortunately, it sounds like we now have them.

Posted by: LBARRETT1212 | August 6, 2007 1:20 PM

Lil_Husky

"Both my brother and sister are college graduates with masters degrees. I on the other hand, am a dropout."

Your drug use might have something to do with you being a dropout...

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 1:24 PM

"I arrived 15 minutes before the required meeting"

Not sure if this was recent, but delays have gotten so terrible lately that planning to arrive somewhere even 3 or 4 hours before a meeting is impossible.

This is the real problem- flying has become so unpleasant because of the millions of delays, cancelled flights, people being left to sit on runways for hours, seats which are too small for an adult human, and general poor customer service. The FAA really needs to do something about the state of air travel- it just keeps getting worse and worse, and it's not because security is getting any better.

I personally won't fly anywhere anymore unless I have absolutely no choice. I hope things get better in the near future, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: floof | August 6, 2007 1:31 PM

TSA is doing the best it can, given that its hands were tied for so long by a Secretary of Transportation who was, in his childhood, a victim of ethnic profiling.

The key to airline security is, "know your passenger." Two weeks before our first son took his first airplane flight, the airline called our home to verify that he was real and the telephone number was genuine. I'm sure our family is in the airline's database as "OK," but nevertheless, each time our sons join the line at the airport to check in, airline personnel ask them questions in an effort to determine whether they are what they say they are, namely, innocent tourists or students. If airlines were required (1) to run background checks on would-be passengers to find out where they went to school (Yale? Choate? Madrassa? Jihad warfighter training? Kennedy School of Government?) and what they learned there; (2) to ask them questions at the check-in line, like, ¿do they have any friends who might be willing to sacrifice their lives to make a point (e.g., the pregnant Irish girl whose Arab lover packed a bomb in her luggage, set to go off while she was in the air)? -- then they might have a better idea about whether that white liquid in the bottle is breast milk or nitroglycerin dissolved in goat's milk.

It all depends on what's in the passenger's mind, not what he is carrying on board. A loaded pistol in the pocket of an Air Marshal is a protection for security. A box cutter in the hands of a terrorist is a threat to security. Know your passenger.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 6, 2007 1:36 PM

Anonforthis, you puppy kicker!

Posted by: Lil_Husky | August 6, 2007 1:44 PM

rcgottlieb posted at 12:07:

"I hate to think of what might have happened if they were formula fed."

Believing that breast is best is one thing. Assuming that possible disaster awaits all who are formula fed is, to me, absurd. Plenty of healthy, happy, smart and productive people were formula fed, despite what you may think.

Posted by: cturner | August 6, 2007 1:45 PM

"If we are all serious here, we need to start a concerted effort to remove Leslie from her duties. Show her what the free market is all about. LESLIE MUST GO!!!!"

Posted by: Baba Booey '02 MPP | August 6, 2007 10:02 AM

Here is an example of the wide gulf spanned by the modest Larz Anderson Bridge. Anyone with a Master's in Business Administration from the Right Bank of the Charles River, such as President George W. Bush '75 MBA, knows that the free market does not work according to the wishes of a determined, passionate minority of dedicated activists, but rather according to the "invisible hand" guided by zillions of independent buyers and sellers. This applies to the Washington Post as much as to the New York Daily News. Tom Paxton may have written, "seven little pennies in the newsboy's hand, and you ride right along to never, never land," but as far as I know, he didn't make a dent in the News's circulation.

Those who get a Master's in Public Policy from the Left Bank of the Charles River ought to take a stroll across the Larz Anderson Bridge once in a while to the B School, and learn what a real free market is, before they go bashing Leslie Steiner '87 in the name of their imagined "free market."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 6, 2007 1:49 PM

Matt, I don't want airlines to run background checks on passengers, or ask them where they went to school or what they learned. Airlines aren't qualified to do that. It's inappropriate. It's sheer security theater - it gives the appearance that somebody's doing something while providing little to no benefit.

What works? Yes, knowing your passengers - looking for tell-tale signs, inconsistencies, etc. Locking cockpit doors so that no one can ever again commandeer an airliner in flight. And the checks done for years for weapons do help somewhat.

The rest - bah! Waste of time and money.

I travel frequently; I know what to do to get myself through the process as quickly as possible; and I try not to let it bother me. But I don't have any false beliefs at all about what protection it's really providing me.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 6, 2007 1:52 PM

"Those who get a Master's in Public Policy from the Left Bank of the Charles River ought to take a stroll across the Larz Anderson Bridge once in a while to the B School, and learn what a real free market is, before they go bashing Leslie Steiner '87 in the name of their imagined "free market."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen

You were clearly formula fed!

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 1:53 PM

It's sheer security theater

Amen to that!

Posted by: educmom0615 | August 6, 2007 2:13 PM

leslie posted (re: Jayne): "...But as someone who breastfed three babies as a fulltime working mom I found your naivete pretty stunning, especially since this topic is about how public officials who were similarly naive about the realities of working motherhood got us in all this trouble in the first place with the breastmilk ban."

Maybe so. But. Not everyone who drops in on this blog has children yet, so how would Jayne have any idea why one would need to travel alone with breastmilk? Letting the rest of us know what coping with the whole working while child-rearing thing is like (before we get into it ourselves) is the point of your blog, is it not? Understanding works two ways, people...

Posted by: owl | August 6, 2007 2:19 PM

I'm the mother of a 3 y.o. and a 1 y.o. and when I had to travel for business while lactating, it was frustrating to have to explain TO OTHER WOMEN at airport security that the bottles in my carry-on full of white liquid were breastmilk. What should have been a discrete moment turns into the equivalent of a store price check (One woman asked me where my infant was). Then a manager would say it's okay, but everyone within 25ft knows more than I care for them to!
I went through a similar incident in Miami for the Super Bowl. I had a hand pump and bottle in a clear plastic bag, which was in a soft opaque sack (for discretion). When my bag was searched, the security agent (again, another clueless woman!) said I couldn't bring the pump and bottle in! My husband and I explained that I was lactating and needed them, a male agent said that the items fell under medical necessities and could come in, but I had to ditch the outer sack! So I had to walk around with my BF stuff IN THE OPEN until I got a giveaway bag by the stadium within security limits. First the TSA, next, event security...

Posted by: jhdungey | August 6, 2007 2:34 PM

I have to wonder how many of these bf'ing activists turn around and then take their kids to eat at McDonalds...

Posted by: Catwhowalked | August 6, 2007 2:37 PM

Now where is that MAKO when you need him?

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 2:43 PM

yes, owl, i think you are right that i overreacted to jayne. i just took her comments the wrong way.

i do very much want other non breastfeeding moms to understand why this is important. didn't mean to bite her head off!

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 2:44 PM

"I have to wonder how many of these bf'ing activists turn around and then take their kids to eat at McDonalds..."

For real. And the kid-centered meals that grocery stores sell ain't that much better, either.

Ah, but when you have little sproglets, you have to buy a McMansion and an S-MOO-V, so ya gotta cut costs somewhere!

Posted by: aNoN | August 6, 2007 2:50 PM

"I have to wonder how many of these bf'ing activists turn around and then take their kids to eat at McDonalds..."

Posted by: Catwhowalked


A lot! Their kids also use "baby-talk", suck their thumbs, and hang on their mothers' skirts longer than the other kids.

The BF activists drive the worst gas guzzlers and tend to be homely and shapeless.

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 2:50 PM

"Matt, I don't want airlines to run background checks on passengers, or ask them where they went to school or what they learned. Airlines aren't qualified to do that."

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 6, 2007 01:52 PM

How about putting Electronic Countermeasures on their airliners to jam or spoof the guidance systems of ground-to-air missiles? Are they qualified to do that, or should they rely on the police on the ground to track down and arrest terrorists before they can launch their Stinger missiles at an airliner taking off or landing?

It's not organizations that catch crooks and terrorists, it's trained individuals. That's why malls hire off-duty police as security guards. An experienced detective or intelligence agent, working for an airline as a gate agent, is just as qualified to interrogate passengers as a government officer. In fact, he can *be* a government officer in civilian clothes, just as long as he knows what he's doing.

"And the checks done for years for weapons do help somewhat." (Army Brat)

They do help somewhat, but background checks and interrogation of profiled selectees can find new, imaginative weapons that have never been used before. Consider the following, about the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, from Air Safety Week, August 12, 2002:

"Reid never should have been allowed to board the plane, sources averred. Reid first presented himself to take a Dec. 21, 2001, flight. But he was a profile selectee and in the resulting interrogation missed his originally scheduled flight. Security personnel in France cannot do physical searches, which can only be done by the police. A nose-to-toes 'Israeli-type' search was not done and Reid slipped through the porous system. 'The Israelis would have found the [bomb] as they do a very serious search on selectees,' one security expert declared."

If the American Airlines people had known that he had been going under the alias of "Abdul Ra'uff," that he had attended madrassa in Pakistan, that he worshipped regularly at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, and that he had stayed at the Hotel Dar Salam in the Arab quarter of Brussels, and if they had been allowed to do a "nose-to-toes" search on him, they would not have risked their crew's and passengers' safety by letting him fly. As far as I am concerned, guys like him can take the bus -- after they are searched "nose to toes."

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 6, 2007 2:50 PM

A lot! Their kids also use "baby-talk", suck their thumbs, and hang on their mothers' skirts longer than the other kids.

The BF activists drive the worst gas guzzlers and tend to be homely and shapeless.

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 02:50 PM

you have mommy issues don't you? tsk tsk.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 3:00 PM

"pressure on employers and our government to be supportive of women (and men) who breastfeed."

wait, what?

Posted by: fake1 | August 6, 2007 3:02 PM

(and men) who breastfeed."


like diniro in meet the fockers?;0

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 3:09 PM

diniro? (sp) De Niro

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 3:14 PM

"My son is incredibly independent, intelligent, never got earaches, etc. My 13 month old daugther is doing great, on the same course my son took. I hate to think of what might have happened if they were formula fed."

Honestly...probably the same thing. You're being pretty insulting to those of us who were not breastfed. In fact, everyone I've asked was formula-fed growing up, and we're not exactly stupid or clutching at our mothers. I don't think I've ever had an earache, and aside from a propensity to sunburn and acne when I was a teenager, I don't think I ever had any health problems. And I don't think breast milk could have saved me from fair skin and hormone-induced acne. So while you can generalize that your children are better off for having breast-fed, I can generalize that myself, my sisters, their children, my boyfriend, my best friend, etc., are all doing just as well despite the *gasp!* formula we were fed. I do agree that breast is best; after all, food that it as natural as possible is generally better for you than food that is not, but feeding your children formula is not a death sentence, nor is it a one-way ticket to stupidity, retardation, chronic earaches, dependence, etc.

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 6, 2007 3:19 PM

.
.
.
.

Why can't these women just do that thing in private -- the way GOD meant it to be? If GOD had meant for it to be done in public, he wouldn't have told EVE to put on a shirt!

.
.
.
.

Posted by: asd2 | August 6, 2007 3:22 PM

Mona, alas, that one-way ticket to stupidity appears to be an equal-opportunity transport. With lots of takers today. Why is it that boobs bring out the, well, boob in people?

Posted by: laura33 | August 6, 2007 3:27 PM

"It's not organizations that catch crooks and terrorists, it's trained individuals. That's why malls hire off-duty police as security guards. An experienced detective or intelligence agent, working for an airline as a gate agent, is just as qualified to interrogate passengers as a government officer. In fact, he can *be* a government officer in civilian clothes, just as long as he knows what he's doing."

Okay, I agree with you on all but the "airline employee" bit. The point is that there should be (and are) Government employees - trained intelligence and law enforcement offers - doing this work. It's inappropriate for that to be an airline employee. The airlines neither want nor need the role. It's the Government's role to provide air safety; let them do that and let the airline gate agents worry about boarding the flights and handling passenger issues.

"They do help somewhat, but background checks and interrogation of profiled selectees can find new, imaginative weapons that have never been used before."

What would you consider an acceptable "background check"? In order to board an airplane, should I have a formal Government Top Secret security clearance based on a full-scope polygraph? Is a Secret clearance based on a National Agency Check sufficient? What do you want?

My point is that it's impractical and a waste of time and money to run a "background check" on a passenger who buys a plane ticket. In theory, the TSA's "Secure Flight" program will let approved agents check various databases to determine whether individuals can fly or not, but that program is fraught with problems. First of all, how do you know everything is in the database that should be? Second, how do you know you have the RIGHT person? Remember the story of Sen Kennedy being stopped because the name "T Kennedy" is on the no-fly list? And he was told just to buy tickets as "Edward Kennedy" to solve the problem? How many people named "David Nelson" have been hassled while trying to fly?

"Consider the following, about the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, from Air Safety Week, August 12, 2002:

"Reid never should have been allowed to board the plane, sources averred. Reid first presented himself to take a Dec. 21, 2001, flight. But he was a profile selectee and in the resulting interrogation missed his originally scheduled flight. Security personnel in France cannot do physical searches, which can only be done by the police. A nose-to-toes 'Israeli-type' search was not done and Reid slipped through the porous system. 'The Israelis would have found the [bomb] as they do a very serious search on selectees,' one security expert declared." "

True, but the Israelis are unique in the world (with reason). Israel also has only one international airport, which makes it easier.

"If the American Airlines people had known that he had been going under the alias of "Abdul Ra'uff," that he had attended madrassa in Pakistan, that he worshipped regularly at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, and that he had stayed at the Hotel Dar Salam in the Arab quarter of Brussels, and if they had been allowed to do a "nose-to-toes" search on him, they would not have risked their crew's and passengers' safety by letting him fly. As far as I am concerned, guys like him can take the bus -- after they are searched "nose to toes.""

Okay, now get back to my earlier question about background checks. How would American Airlines have known about his alias, and would they have cared? After all consider Ahmad Rashad (formerly Bobby Moore), Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson), Muhammand Ali (formerly Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) and numerous other professional athletes who have taken Islamic names. Should they be prohibited from flying because of it?

The madrassa in Pakistan is an example of the first point I made - in what database would that have been kept? Where would American Airlines have found that information if he didn't give it to him?

Worshipping in the mosque - at the time of Reid's arrest, the North London Central Mosque wasn't widely known as a hotbed of radical Islam, and so even if there were a database accessible to American Airlines that listed every known member or attendee of every mosque in the world, it's not clear that this alone would have raised flags.

The Hotel Dar Es Salaam - again, do you want the airlines to have instantaneous access to a database of all guests at all hotels/hostels/inns in the world? And what would it mean?

The bottom line is that the only thing that would have detected Reid and his attack was the security officers who identified him and interviewed him sufficiently thoroughly to cause him to miss his original flight. It's possible that a 'strip search' would have turned up his weird footwear; it depends on how well-hidden the fuse was.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | August 6, 2007 3:32 PM

I've decided to be atb again. I was posting as demandabanana. This may sound crazy, but I felt different as demandabanana. I think I need to go out as someone else one weekend. I would still be married with a baby, of course. I'm sure Mona has done that...

Posted by: atb2 | August 6, 2007 3:34 PM

Good for you, now maybe we can get our old MONA back, her new name sounds fishy..:)

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 3:37 PM

Fine, breast milk is a "medical necessity." How long does anyone think it will it take for someone to lie about the liquid they are bringing onto a plane, if it suits their purpose?

By the way, neither I, nor my 3 siblings were breastfed at all, nor were any of my four nieces and nephews breastfed for any appreciable period of time and none of us has any meaningful health issues. The adults are all college grads, 3 with graduate degrees and one an senior officer at a major investment firm and the children are all academically advanced. I am still trying to figure out where Mom and the rest of the women in my family went wrong...

Posted by: Babz325 | August 6, 2007 3:37 PM

leslie posted: "yes, owl, i think you are right that i overreacted to jayne. i just took her comments the wrong way.

i do very much want other non breastfeeding moms to understand why this is important. didn't mean to bite her head off!"

Just saying. Cleansing breaths, everyone. ;)

Posted by: owl | August 6, 2007 3:38 PM

"This may sound crazy, but I felt different as demandabanana."

Exhibit A for the plaintiff...

Posted by: anonforthis | August 6, 2007 3:38 PM

Why are you so sure? Though that does sound like fun...

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 6, 2007 3:41 PM

People who weren't breast fed don't develop health issues, they develop mental issues.

We can solve the whole problem and satisfy the holy-roller prudes and terrified security fanatics at the same time, ban all airplanes.

Posted by: DEFJAX | August 6, 2007 3:41 PM

But atb,
demandabanana is such a cool name. I can understand why you would feel different under that name though. Personally, I love the moniker.

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 3:48 PM

pATRICK, very funny. Yeah, Gatuna does sound fishy. The reason is that "Mona Gatuna" in Spanish means "Feline Monkey," my cat's name is Mona, she jumps around like a monkey, etc. I'll probably keep this name. I'm too lazy to change it, and once classes start, I'm not sure I'll be very involved in the discussions. We'll see, though. If people keep associating me with tuna, I may have to change it.

Posted by: Monagatuna | August 6, 2007 3:50 PM

Mona,
Between you and demandabanana, this blog is just a barrel of monkeys!!!

Posted by: Emily | August 6, 2007 4:10 PM

No, Leslie. It's because of knee-jerk fear of terrorists. Not because of some belief that there aren't working moms.

I think you're trying to stir something up that's not there. In doing so, you make a mockery of what ARE real issues facing working parents.

You should be ashamed. Both as a woman and a worker.

Posted by: NoVA-RM | August 6, 2007 4:12 PM

Wow - why is everyone so nasty these days? Do online forums give everyone the right to say things they never would say in public (without being smacked)? Take the time to read your comments and realize how vicious everyone is being - and then get off your computer and go something productive with your life other than fighting with online stangers. Peace out.

Posted by: jen5 | August 6, 2007 4:19 PM

NoVa-RM -- I save "shame" for rapists and murderers. Breastfeeding IS a real issue for working women of all income levels. What do you think the "real" issues are?

And men CAN breastfeed (although not as nutritiously as women). See June 27 "Breastfeeding Hiatus is Over" for full discussion.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 6, 2007 4:21 PM

peanut butter jelly
peanut butter jelly
peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat.

Posted by: dctony | August 6, 2007 4:26 PM

Posted by: jen5 | August 6, 2007 04:19 PM

jen5, jen5, if this is so "nasty" perhaps you are too tender a reed to be here. This is a nice day at the beach for OB.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 4:39 PM

LA GRITA, Venezuela -- Aboard the presidential jet, a grinning Hugo Chavez put a hand on Sean Penn's shoulder, praised his acting and added: "And he's anti-Bush!"

The Venezuelan president reveled in his role as host to the Hollywood star as they flew across the country Friday and traveled through the countryside in a military jeep with Chavez at the wheel, stopping to greet cheering supporters.


Sean Penn is very fortunate, if the tables were turned his "buddy" chavez would have him shot as a traitor. He is chavez's "useful idiot". All dictators need one.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 6, 2007 4:48 PM

"- TSA and national lab researchers decided to allow 3-ounce bottles of liquid because they determined that there's no explosive of which 3 ounces will bring down a plane

- they decided that combining materials from different 3-ounce bottles once past security isn't feasible"

This is truly frightening.

When is TSA going to stop allowing drink service on planes? How about handwashing?

There are multiple opportunities for obtaining liquids on a plane.

Posted by: mallemployee | August 6, 2007 4:51 PM

«Wow - why is everyone so nasty these days? Do online forums give everyone the right to say things they never would say in public (without being smacked)? Take the time to read your comments and realize how vicious everyone is being - and then get off your computer and go something productive with your life other than fighting with online stangers. Peace out.»

«Posted by: jen5 | August 6, 2007 04:19 PM»

A thousand thanks, Jen 5, I agree, why cannot we all get along in peace?

«If airlines were required (1) to run background checks on would-be passengers to find out where they went to school (Yale? Choate? Madrassa? Jihad warfighter training? Kennedy School of Government?) and what they learned there;»

«Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 6, 2007 01:36 PM»

A madrassa, that is where children go to learn to be good Muslims. Ivy League, was not the Unabomber from Ivy League?, but we do not say, Ivy League = terrorist, cannot fly on airplanes. Do you want Muslim children to learn to be atheists, what about freedom of religion, Pierce v. Society of Sisters 268 U.S. 510 (1925)? Some madrassas, evil terrorists teach children war, not religion of peace, most madrassas do not teach suicide bombing any more than most Ivy League schools, they do not teach Unabombing.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 4:51 PM

«Posted by: | August 6, 2007 04:51 PM»

August 6, that is Hiroshima Day, like Pearl Harbor Day in reverse. If only we can all get along! Not live by Hiroshima Nagasaki mushroom cloud. Not live by Pearl Harbor «Tora, Tora, Tora». Live in peace together, no atom bomb.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | August 6, 2007 5:02 PM

Leslie, thanks for responding. I must say that I'm amazed at how right I was. You are someone that likes to stir things up that aren't there. You fabricate.

I never said breastfeeding wasn't an issue for working moms. I never said anything about income levels. I never said anything about men not breastfeeding.

You fabricated what I said in order to be more sensationalists (rapists?!?). That's honest, but since you seem to feel that anything goes as long as it's not rape...

What I said is that this particular issue... not allowing breastmilk on planes when there is no baby... is an issue with how stupidly airport security is done. I do not believe that it was an attack on working women any more than a ban on carrying box cutters is an attack on minimum wage workers.

Leslie, every time I read something you've written, I realize that you are just as harmful to women as a a pin-up calendar.

Posted by: NoVA-RM | August 6, 2007 8:54 PM

I agree that the blog no longer serves the purpose for which it was intended. I used to read it for interesting insights from parents. Now I just check it out of curiosity to find out what the crazy topic of the day will be. A recent post on cleavage was just plain inappropriate and irrelevant (resulting in even more inappropriate and absurd comments) and new TSA regulations regarding breast milk not terribly interesting. Both topics just ask for ridicule in my opinion. Since this is the only blog I read, I have no idea if this is typical of other blogs or not. I doubt I'll be reading much longer unless I continue to need some entertainment/comic relief.

Posted by: lomalley | August 6, 2007 10:21 PM

I always kind of liked pin-up calendars, myself.

But I'm sorry that you are not getting as much out of the blog these days. We are making a transition to required registration, which naturally reduces the number of comments...and a good thing, too, since so many comments had become unproductive. The blog may not speak to your exact issues every day, but hopefully over time you will see your issues reflected here.

And if not, send me a Guest Blog...that's why Tuesdays are for different voices and different views.

Posted by: leslie4 | August 7, 2007 7:24 AM

Exposed boobs on a plane = Yes.
A baby attached to them = No

Posted by: richierichsr | August 9, 2007 12:43 PM

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