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Alyssa Milano's Airport Security Run-In Shows the Value of Breast Milk

The Short of It

While being screened by security at London's Heathrow Airport, Alyssa Milano had 10 ounces of breast milk confiscated. The actress wasn't happy. She Tweeted, "@HeathrowAirport just took my pumped breast milk away. 10 ounces. Gone. Not okay."

The Lowdown

If you've pumped breast milk, you can probably relate. Every single ounce of the stuff is valuable to a mom and her baby.

Alyssa Milano's milk was thrown away because she was traveling with more than 100 mL (3.38 fluid ounces) of the liquid, which is the maximum Heathrow's security allows through a checkpoint.

Several hours before the security incident, Alyssa Tweeted: "Pumping on a plane is difficult. Small FYI." I can picture it now: Alyssa lugging a heavy pump through the airport, cramming herself in the tiny bathroom, trying to find a flat, semi-clean surface to rest her pump on—and another one to actually sit on—figuring out how not to spill the milk, and maybe even dealing with annoyed fellow passengers banging on the door. Definitely not easy.

Heathrow airport apologized to Alyssa, saying, "Hi Alyssa. Unfortunately, without a baby present, the government requires all liquids in carry-ons to follow the 100ml rule."

That seems like a poor rule, right? The entire point of mom pumping while she's traveling is to produce and save breast milk for her baby, whether they're with them or not.

According to the airport's website, "Exceptions to the 100ml restrictions for liquid medicines and special dietary products, such as baby food, remain in place. However, following x-ray screening, security officers may also need to carry out additional checks on these items." Seems to me that breast milk could be considered both baby food and a special dietary product.

I once traveled from Las Vegas to New Jersey with three days' worth of breast milk in a cooler that I carried on. Vegas security checked each bottle with a specialized light, so it took me a little extra time, but I was ultimately allowed to take through all of it. I wonder why Heathrow doesn't do the same.

The Upshot

Alyssa, who's vocalized her pro-breastfeeding stance in the past, told People, "Every ounce of milk I'm able to produce for my child is nothing short of a miracle, and to watch that milk be thrown away without any regard for my baby was heartbreaking. It's not the fault of the security in the airport; they're following orders to keep us all safe. But I do feel it is a policy that needs thoughtful reconsideration. I'm glad this has started a dialogue. My only hope is to make things easier for moms, breastfeeding and formula feeding moms, everywhere."

I wholeheartedly agree!

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