LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Austin woman says she ended up in a janitor’s closet at LAX after she couldn’t find anywhere else to pump her breast milk.
There is a new law requiring airport nursing rooms by January 2016. But so far, there is only one open and ready at LAX.
But new mother Haley Picchini, who shared with CBS2/KCAL9 pictures from inside the crowded, messy janitor’s closet where she says she pumped breast milk before boarding a flight, says mothers shouldn’t have to wait.
“I was mortified,” she said. “I was scared. I didn’t want to do anything that would endanger my baby.”
Picchini said both on the day she arrived and when she left she tried to find a place to pump.
Signs directing her to a mothers’ area seemed to lead nowhere; one worker said there was a nursing room in Terminal 7, another thought Terminal 6 and another suggested finding a less busy area in between terminals.
“That’s like someone telling you that you should sit and have a bowel movement, covered of course, in the middle of two gates where people can see you,” Picchini said.
Picchini said she paid $50 for a pass into a United Airlines lounge. But there, after she set up near a power outlet in the hallway, she says said was directed to a storage room.
A United spokesperson said that while workers did ask Picchini if she wanted a more private spot, they did not insist or require her to move there.
Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating that by 2016 all major California airports provide sanitary spaces with chairs, electronic outlets and sinks for nursing mothers.
“It happens every single day, and for a nursing mom every three to four hours a day. It can’t really wait,” Picchini said.
A LAX spokesperson said officials are working on providing mothers rooms at every terminal. Two are scheduled to open later this summer. For now, there is one open in Terminal 5 — the one Picchini says no one could help her find.