If you've ever traveled while pumping you know how hard it can be to find a private place to pump. Sometimes, the only choice is a bathroom stall—but that's about to change.

The newly passed Friendly Airports for Mothers Act will ensure moms have access to private, clean and accessible lactation rooms when traveling through large- and medium-sized airports.


Senator Tammy Duckworth, a mother of two, introduced the FAM Act back in 2015. It passed the House last year before passing the Senate this month, co-sponsored by Republican Deb Fischer and Democrat Claire McCaskill, because getting pumping moms out of bathroom stalls truly is a bipartisan issue.

Moms of all political stripes will benefit from the legislation that's going to make lactating during layovers way more comfortable, as Duckworth explained on Twitter.

Duckworth has long been advocating for this, and has a lot of personal experience pumping in less-than-ideal airport locations.

In September 2017 she penned an op-ed for Cosmopolitan, explaining how as a working mom who frequently flies back and forth between Illinois and DC, finding places to pump at the airport was way more difficult than it should have been.

"I had to stick to a feeding and expressing schedule, including when I was at the airport, but I quickly realized that finding a clean, accessible, private space was stressful and inordinately difficult. While I was comfortable breastfeeding my daughter in public, I did not want to express next to strangers using the same outlets to recharge their electronic devices. At many airports, I was redirected to a bathroom, forced to pump in a bathroom stall."

Thanks to the FAM Act, airports will be able to access grants to create pumping rooms. The airports will also be required to put changing tables in the women's (and men's!) bathrooms.

Parents should absolutely be able to change their baby in airport lavatories, and they absolutely should not have to use those facilities when pumping or breastfeeding. Lactation rooms are not a luxury, they're a necessity in public spaces, and it's awesome that the FAM Act recognizes that.

As Senator Duckworth once put it: "If a mother chooses to breastfeed their child, she should not have to worry about whether she can find a clean, private place to nurse or express breast milk while she's traveling; she has enough to worry about already."

Every parent who has ever traveled with a baby, a pump, or both can agree with that statement.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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