Going back to work as a nursing mother is no easy feat, and for those with jobs that require a lot of traveling the idea of nursing can be even more challenging. With very few airports having designated places for mothers to breastfeed or pump milk, and with TSA having restrictions on the way breast milk is transported through security, IBM is launching a program that will make things a bit easier for its working mothers.
IBM spokesperson Carrie Altieri says the idea to ship breast milk back home to mothers on business trips came after a group of working moms expressed concern about the issue. Currently, mothers must tell TSA officials ahead of time that they wish to bring formula, breast milk and other juices in excess of 3.4 ounces in their carry-on bag, in which security will then screen the liquids. If a traveler does not want their formula or breast milk X-rayed or opened then they must inform the officer before screening. However, officers may be required to take additional steps that include a pat-down of the traveler and screening of the remainder of the traveler’s property.
While details of the program are still being worked out, IBM plans to start with mothers traveling domestically and paying for the packaging and shipping of their breast milk home. The company isn’t sure how many of their 370,000 employees will take advantage of the program, but they’re sure the plan will help free new moms from the frustration of airport security and it will help alleviate the worry for mothers who are on travel for an extended amount of time and concerned about getting their milk home.
“As long as there is one mother who finds this beneficial, I don’t have any threshold of usage of whether we continue the program or not,” Barbara Brickmeier, vice president of benefits at IBM, told The Huffington Post.
IBM’s latest program to help working mothers isn’t much of a surprise, as the tech giant is also one of the leaders in minimum paid maternity leave, offering up to six weeks of paid leave to new moms.