Check Out These Lactation Rooms at the San Diego Airport!

Traveling just got easier for breastfeeding and pumping moms traveling through the San Diego International Airport!  Just in time for the holidays, right?

Last month, the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force was contacted by a local breastfeeding mom, Emily Mest, who frequently travels through the San Diego International Airport for work.  Here is Emily’s story, which set the wheels in motion to make breastfeeding and pumping easier for all moms traveling through the San Diego airport.


Over the last year breastfeeding twins as a fulltime working mom, I’ve had a lot of  “air travel adventures”. There was the first time I pumped in my seat on a packed plane, and the glorious time an American Airlines stewardess curtained off her jumpseat area to give me a clean, private space. I’ll never forget bringing 25lbs of frozen milk back for the twins after a week in Costa Rica, and the kind United agent who waived the overweight bag fee since all the extra weight was breastmilk. I’ll  also never forget pumping tucked into a dirty corner of the Houston airport, just to have a tiny bit of privacy without pumping in an even dirtier bathroom.

Through it all, I couldn’t stop thinking how uncomfortable and emotionally draining this all was. From being away from my small babies, the normal stresses of air travel, and dealing with pumping, to clogged ducts, maintaining supply, and the ever-looming threat of mastitis.  If I hadn’t fought with everything I had to breastfeed my 35-weeker twins, I’d likely have thrown in the towel. If I hadn’t found a savvy working moms breastfeeding support group on Facebook, I doubt I would have had the confidence for those moments when I chose to throw on a cover and pump in front of hundreds of people in a crowded airport (choosing that over pumping in a foul-smelling bathroom). I found myself sad for other mamas who would have to endure this. I was disheartened thinking that if they didn’t have strong support or entrenched stubbornness, maybe they would stop breastfeeding because pumping during air travel can push you to your limits.

I had seen other mamas posting pictures of beautiful lactation rooms or lactation pods in other airports, so I started to investigate a bit. I emailed some of the pod companies to ask about how they go about getting their pods installed in airports. I Facebook messaged Jenna Ikuta, the manager of the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force, responding to a post of hers about breastfeeding advocacy, and asked if she knew anything about Terminal 1 in the San Diego International Airport, where pumping is particularly hard. From Jenna, I found out that as of January 2016 a new law in California would require a place for moms to pump that is not a bathroom in all airport terminals that had over 1 million flights per year, except terminal 1 in San Diego.  

I became a mom on a mission: even if it happened after I was done breastfeeding, something had to be done about Terminal 1 in San Diego. As it turns out, my “mission” had really already been completed – the lactation room in Terminal 1 opened earlier this fall.  The San Diego Breastfeeding Coalition sent me an email to this regard, and I was shocked and excited. The following week I had a business trip and low and behold, after asking 5 employees someone finally knew what I was talking about and pointed me to the lactation room. It was beautiful.


There’s still a bit of work to be done: educating employees about the lactation room, putting up a well-placed sign or two, and spreading the word among nursing mamas. I posted in a few of the local breastfeeding groups, and added the location to the great app “Moms Pump Here” that helps moms find pumping locations around the country. I’m ironically writing this on my first business trip in over a year without a pump – I’m just gone for the day and the twins are only nursing morning and night now.  I hope that the next time you’re at the San Diego International Airport for a Southwest flight you enjoy the new facilities: just past security to your left, tucked under the escalators.


After submitting Emily’s letter to the San Diego International Airport’s Customer Relations Coordinator (with the help of the UCSD’s Lactation Supportive Environments Department), we were thrilled to report back to Emily that there were, in fact, THREE Lactation Rooms at the San Diego airport.  It appeared that the security and airport staff just had no idea that all three existed.  Since this misinformation was brought to the airport’s attention, they have gone above and beyond to make these Lactation Rooms available and accessible to breastfeeding and pumping moms.  First, they have placed the breastfeeding symbol on their interactive map, showing where all of the lactation rooms are located. Secondly, they have sent out a press release so that all of their staff members will know about the Lactation Rooms and where they are located.  

Hopefully the last step will be to take Emily’s advice and affix well-placed signs throughout the airport so that moms can easily find these rooms when they need them.  

We would like to commend the San Diego International Airport for making breastfeeding and pumping moms a priority in their renovation plans and for creating a wonderful space where moms may have some well-deserved privacy.

Thank you, Emily, for bringing this to our attention so that all breastfeeding and pumping moms traveling through our airport can benefit from these rooms!  And, for moms who would like to breastfeed their children throughout the terminal, remember that California law protects your right to breastfeed in public!  

Safe travels during the busy holiday season, and beyond!

Have you seen a Lactation Room or a Mamava Lactation Suite at one of the airports you have traveled through?  Snap a photo and place it in the comments so that we can share this information with other traveling moms!


Update on our Kickstarter Project


Well, our 30 days are up for our Kickstarter project and, unfortunately, our Nursing in Public Task Force website project didn't receive the funding that we had hoped for.  We reached about 10% of the funding we needed and I am so incredibly appreciative of the support we received from our generous donors!  

While I am sad that the Nursing in Public Task Force website project will have to be put on hold for now, I am not too discouraged to let it go completely.  Over the next few months, I will be updating the resources on our local Nursing In Public Task Force webpage, speaking at the Annual California Breastfeeding Summit about our project, and hopefully finding other funding sources to pay for this valuable online resource.  So, if you happen to have any ideas for other funding sources (or an amazing benefactor who'd like to pay for the website!), please email me so we can explore these options :-)  

If you would like to stay current on this project, please sign up for our newsletter, as we will be updating our website with new information and resources for nursing in public.

Thanks, again!  This has been an enlightening learning experience for me and I hope to have a huge announcement in the next few months that we have secured funding for this valuable and needed website!



Join our Movement to Stop Nursing in Public Harassment

We are so excited to announce that we have launched our first Kickstarter campaign today!  It is called the Nursing in Public Task Force Website.  


As you know, the ladies at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center are fierce advocates for protecting a woman's right to breastfeed in public.   This is exactly why we created the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force in 2013.  Too many local moms had been discriminated against and shamed for breastfeeding their babies outside of their homes and we just couldn’t stand by silently anymore!

In these past 2 years, we have helped over a dozen women mediate nursing in public harassment incidents, as well as countless of others to remedy discriminatory incidents on their own.  We feel like the time has come to expand these resources… to help breastfeeding women and businesses/organizations across the country uphold their state laws that protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers and stop these discriminatory acts.

So, how can you help?

Today we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a national Nursing in Public Task Force website.  The money raised will pay for a website designer, content creation, and a photographer/videographer for the website.  We would be extremely grateful if you would take a few moments out of your day to look at the Kickstarter project.  If you feel like this sounds like a worthy cause, please consider donating and share with your friends (by forwarding this article and sharing on Facebook).  Know that you will be making a difference in thousands of women's and children's lives, as well as creating more tolerant and supportive communities across our country.

Click here to check out our Nursing in Public Task Force Website Kickstarter campaign:


Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!  

Nursing in Public Task Force - Slogan Contest

Ok, all of you creative people out there!  We are looking for some super awesome, catchy phrases for our t-shirts and onesies for our upcoming Nursing in Public Task Force website!  Obviously, they need to have some sort of reference to breastfeeding and bonus points if they refer to breastfeeding in public.  The winners of this contest will receive a free t-shirt for both mom and child.

So, let those creative juices flow like your breastmilk after a long, night’s sleep and send your slogans our way!



The slogan contest will run from October 6 - October 13, 2015.  Please add your slogan in the comments, if you are reading this on Facebook, as well as add a comment to this blog post.  Comments MUST be added to our blog post to be considered! We will announce the winners on October 14, 2015 on Facebook and by email, so make sure to 'Like' our SDBFC Facebook page to stay updated on if you won!

Good luck!!!


UPDATE (10/13/15)

We have our winners!!!!

I Live for Letdown!

Breastfeeding: It's Not About You!  It's About Me!

Milk on Tap

Hangry for Boobs


Thank you to everyone who entered our slogan contest!  We are so grateful for your creativity :-)  Winners, we will be contacting you by email!

SDBFC's Newest Pumping/Working Mom Guru!

Written by Anna Choi, IBCLC

When I accepted my current position as an IBCLC at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, I knew what it meant…. time to dust off ye old breast pump and make it my new breast friend again. Clearly, I have one of the best work environments to pump breast milk in: I hang out with cute babies all day long {helps keep my prolactin levels and mama hormones happy}, my coworkers and boss are all fellow IBCLCs {help for any pumping concern is only a step away – literally}, and should I forget a pump part at home, odds are we have an extra in the office. But ladies, I didn’t always work in the land of boobies and after giving birth to my first daughter, I returned to my job as a retail manager and navigated the ups and downs of being a breastfeeding and working mother just like many of you have, or will soon, and I learned quite a bit about pumping and how to make this whole working breastfeeding mom thing work for me.

Here are three most important things I learned during my pumping journey:

1. Hands-on pumping, hands-on pumping, hands-on pumping. If you aren’t massaging your breasts during your pumping session, you are missing out on valuable ounces of liquid gold! I don’t remember what the circumstances were that led me to this valuable piece of information. Maybe I read an article, maybe a friend mentioned it to me, or maybe it happened by accident; but as soon as I realized that massaging and stroking the girls during pumping would yield more ounces [and drain my breasts quicker], you better believe I never pumped again without using this technique.

2. Speak up for yourself. No one else is going to advocate for you and ensure your pumping needs are being met. Yes, it’s fine to be a little flexible [as in bumping your 10am pumping session to 10:30am to accommodate a staff meeting], but do not be intimidated, scared, nervous, whatever to speak up for yourself and politely say that you cannot skip the pumping session altogether and will be pumping immediately following the meeting. Communication is key in these situations. When I worked in retail, we would get slammed on the weekends sometimes; and seeing as I was the Manager, I was working extra hard to keep the chaos organized. Even so, I would clearly tell every employee, “In 15 minutes, I have to pump, I’m doing X,Y, and Z before I take my pump break and then I’ll be back on the floor helping you guys.” It was never an issue because I made sure everyone was getting their breaks and they knew I was pulling my weight and working my butt off just like they were.

3. Relax. When it’s time to pump, leave your work outside and use your pumping time to decompress. I know this is easier said than done, especially when you have a deadline to meet or customers waiting for you. But stressing out about everything on your to-do list while you are on your pump break isn’t helping the situation. So when you sit down to pump, take a deep breath, scan a few pictures of your little one, take a sip of water and relax. Your milk will letdown easier and you will produce more if you aren’t worrying about the pile of work you’ve left behind.


SDBFC is so excited to welcome Anna as the leader of our new Working Moms Breastfeeding Support Group.  Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, from 10-11:30am, you can hang out with Anna and other working moms, sharing advice about keeping up your milk supply, pumping tips, and ways to keep your sanity as a breastfeeding and working mom.