Breast-Feeding Mother Reportedly Harassed By United Airlines Flight Attendant

| by Sean Kelly

A mother on a flight from Houston to Vancouver took to Twitter on March 9 to express her outrage after she was reportedly harassed by a flight attendant for breast-feeding her child.

Kristen Hilderman, mother to a 5-month-old son, posted a photo to Twitter of her story typed out in a note. The trouble began when Hilderman, wearing a breast-feeding tank top, fed her son without a cover during the flight.

“A male flight attendant named Keith walked up to our row and said to my husband (loudly, so that everyone around could hear), ‘are you two together?’ My husband replied “Yes…” And then the flight attendant tossed a blanket at him (didn’t even hand it TO him, but tossed it AT him) and said tersely, ‘Then HERE, help her out,” she wrote. “I had a blanket under my baby and a blanket draped across my knees and the plane was hot and stuffy… he wanted me to cover myself.”

Hilderman said she asked the attendant what exactly her husband needed to “help her out” with, but she was ignored. She said other passengers were horrified by the way she was being treated. “I felt so completely embarrassed, uncomfortable and self-conscious for the rest of the flight,” she said in the post. “A few passengers approached me to let me know that the flight attendant’s behavior was completely out of line, and that they didn’t even know that I was breast-feeding my baby until he tried to make an example out of me.”

On March 10, after her story went viral, Hilderman tweeted saying that she’d been contacted by the airline. “Sara from @United just called — she said sorry for my ‘frustrating experience’ and that she’d follow up in 48 hours about the incident status.”

Unitef Airlines issued a statement to Yahoo Parenting, responding to the controversy.

“United welcomes nursing mothers on board and we ask that crew members do their best to ensure their comfort and safety as they do with all customers. After we learned of Ms. Hilderman’s experience we spoke with her and offered an apology,” the airline said.

Sources: CNN, Yahoo! Parenting

Photo Credit: Aurimas Mikalauskas via Flickr