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Emily Calandrelli denounces the TSA for her terrible breastfeeding experience

Emily Calandrelli, star of Netflix’s popular children’s show Emily’s wonderful laboratory, shares the details of an overwhelming experience as a breastfeeding mother at LAX. Calandrelli, mother of a toddler and 10-week-old baby, says she was ‘humiliated’ by two male TSA agents when they told her she was not allowed to bring ice packs on her plane to keep her breast milk cool.

She took to social media to share her story of what happened and many other breastfeeding mums shared their support.

“Here’s what happened,” she begins. “Today was my first trip away from my 10 week old son, who I’m currently breastfeeding. I’m going through security at LAX. I brought my pump and 2 ice packs – only 1 of which was cold ( I won’t need the other one until I get home, when I have more milk).”

She said she currently has no milk on hand, but was preparing to pump shortly before boarding her 5-hour flight. She said that’s when two male TSA agents told her she wasn’t allowed to bring her ice packs on board because they weren’t frozen. She was told that because she had no milk on hand, she was not allowed to bring them.

On the same subject: Breastfeeding at the airport? Here are 7 things you need to know.

She tried to explain that she was getting ready to pump. She was told that if her baby was with her there would be no problem. (Because moms can’t travel without their babies? Make sense.)

“I asked several times to speak to a female agent and they wouldn’t allow it,” she said. She says she was escorted out of the TSA line and forced to check her ice packs.

“I cried at the airport,” she wrote. “I was embarrassed to have to explain breastfeeding to 3 grown men. I felt humbled and emotional so I deleted the post.”

Calandrelli had originally posted about the experience and deleted it, but after reflecting on the injustice itself — and checking the TSA rules herself — she decided to repost her story. Because, unfortunately, it’s all too common among new moms who travel.

“TSA rules specifically state that you are allowed to have gel ice packs (that they be completely frozen!!) for medically necessary purposes,” she says. “And emptying my breasts regularly and providing food for my child IS medically necessary (and especially important with the current shortage of infant formula!)”

She’s right about that. The TSA website specifically states: “Note that medically necessary gel ice packs in reasonable quantities are permitted regardless of their physical condition (e.g., melted or muddy). Please notify the TSA agent at the checkpoint for inspection. “

Related: Shawn Johnson says a TSA agent ‘groped’ her while traveling with breast milk

Calandrelli says she was inundated with messages from other moms in her DMs, who also shared their experiences.

“It’s extremely common to encounter TSA agents who don’t know the proper protocol around expressing and feeding babies – and it shouldn’t be that way.”

Calandrelli encourages all breastfeeding moms who have had similar experiences to share them with her on social media.

“Because I’m furious and won’t let them feel embarrassed by their lack of understanding and training and neither should you. #HandsOffOurMilk.”

breastfeeding, pumping