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Keke Palmer Brings Awareness To ‘Breast Milk Discrimination’ After Airport Incident
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Keke Palmer Brings Awareness To ‘Breast Milk Discrimination’ After Airport Incident

Actress and singer Keke Palmer recently shed light on the 'breast milk discrimination' she encountered at a Houston airport.

The incident allegedly went down on June 16, when Palmer, who welcomed her son Leodis Jackson earlier this year with longtime partner Darius Jackson, revealed on Twitter that Houston airport employees ruined her mood as she was discretely pumping.

In the tweet, the 29-year-old elaborated that her aggravation stemmed from the alleged threats spewed at her, including potentially disposing of "over 16 oz" of her son's food.

"Breast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood," she tweeted. "I should've popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16 oz [of] my [baby's] food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime?? I'M A MOTHER, for crying out loud."

It is unclear if the issue was resolved because Palmer has yet to release any additional details regarding the matter. Still, the Nope star's post was met with fans' support, and many shared similar stories about their experiences at other locations.

According to the official TSA website, breast milk and baby or toddler-related foods and drinks are categorized as "medically necessary liquids." This means those items, including break milk, formula, and puree pouches, aren't required to meet the carry-on regulations and can be transported onto a plane as long as it's in a proper bag.

In addition to those rules, it is also reported that it is legal to breastfeed and breast pump in public. Although different states have different laws, in Texas, where Palmer was allegedly discriminated against, a bill allowing women to pump in public areas was passed in 2019.

In light of Palmer's tweet and the controversy surrounding breast pumping and breastfeeding in public, xoNecole is sharing the stories of other high-profile women who have openly discussed their experiences, positve and negative, with breastfeeding in public.

Michelle Obama 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed during a Workplace Flexibility Conference over a decade ago that when her youngest daughter Sasha Obama was an infant, she was forced to bring her to a job interview because she was still breastfeeding.

The star disclosed that she feared she would have been disqualified if Sasha's presence was a disruption. But because Obama had interviewed with the president of the company, who also had a child, they understood the responsibilities of being a parent and gave her the job.

"I packed up that little infant, and I put her in the stroller, and I brought her with me. And I prayed that her presence wouldn't be an automatic disqualifier. And it was fortunate for me that, number one, she slept through the entire interview. And I was still breastfeeding — if that's not too much information. And I got the job," she said.

"But I know that I was lucky, number one. I was interviewing with the president, that had just had a child himself and was very understanding and open-minded. But I know that most folks are nowhere near as lucky as I was."

In addition to her speech, Obama advised a plan to give tax breaks or credits to nursing mothers to cover breast pump costs, but the opposing party, unfortunately, scrutinized it.

Jada Pinkett Smith 

Another person who has discussed the stigma of breastfeeding in public is actress Jada Pinkett Smith. In an episode of her Facebook talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed that she was mom-shamed as she tried to breastfeed her children, Jaden and Willow Smith.

The Girls Trip star explained that when she attended public locations with Jaden and Willow --who were respectively born in 1998 and 2000-- and had to breastfeed, she tried shielding it, but it became a hassle.

"I remember me, myself when I would be out with Jaden and Willow breastfeeding... I used to have that little [breastfeeding] cover. It would make it so difficult. They're in there [and] they're suffocating. I can't see them," she said.

Pinkett Smith added that the experience gave her anxiety because, at the time, breastfeeding in public was stigmatized.

"I had so much anxiety about it because back when I had them, breastfeeding was like, 'what? What are you doing?'" she stated.

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Feature image by Noam Galai/Getty Images

 

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