How One Mother Says She Was Humiliated Over Breastfeeding on a Plane

February 8th 2016

Ingrid Holmquist

New mother Juliet Thomson claims that she was traveling on a United Airlines flight when a flight attendant told her to cover up while breastfeeding her 4-month-old baby after another passenger complained. She described feeling humiliated — and now, she will "absolutely [be] taking legal action," she said in an interview with YouTube celebrity Joey Salads.

Juliet Thomson interview with Joey Salads about breastfeeding on flight

Thomson said she believed it's against United's policy to ask a breastfeeding mother to cover up unless the activity is causing real harm to a child or another passenger. "In this case, it was clearly not causing harm to anyone," she said.

For its part, the airline told The Huffington Post it is looking into the incident:

“Both United Airlines and Skywest Airlines, which operated the United Express flight, welcome moms nursing onboard our aircraft and instruct employees to do their best to see to those moms’ comfort. Skywest is researching the circumstances of that flight whether the flight attendants efforts may have simply been to try to calm a difficult situation for Ms. Thomson.”

Thomson told Joey Salads, whose channel focuses on breastfeeding activism, that a woman sitting a row ahead of her became bothered when she started feeding her child on the flight.

Shamed on Plane for Breast Feeding (Interview)

This woman was shamed on a United Airlines Flight for Breast Feeding her childThis story is pretty sad, and we MUST make it VIRAL!!

Posted by Joey Salads on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The complaining passenger reportedly made a scene in front of flight attendants, one of whom eventually said to Thomson, “Listen I know it’s natural, but it’s offending this woman. So if you don’t mind covering up, it seems your baby is asleep now,” according to Thomson.

Thomson said she was embarrassed and “felt ganged up on.”

One of the best ways to keep children calm and keep their ears from hurting when traveling is to breastfeed, Thomson argued. "It's the most normal and healthy thing. But then when stuff like this happens, we're afraid to do it again because of the fear of being shamed again, [or] being embarrassed in front of an entire crowd of people that you don't know," Thomson said.

The incident inspired Thomson to start the hashtag #MomsDontFlyUnited.

Thomson also posted an Instagram picture of her breastfeeding her baby girl as a public letter “to the lady sitting in row 19a.”


To the lady sitting in row 19a: I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry that you feel that life hasn't dealt with your correctly. I'm sorry that feelings of anger arise in you when you see my feeding my 4 month old daughter. I'm sorry you're disgusted and put off at my form of good parenting. I'm sorry for your husband, sitting next to you, covering his face in disbelief and embarrassment at your tiraids against me. Surely you haven't been on social media in a while. I'm sorry you can take something so natural and turn it into a sick and twisted perversion. I can be honest and say I'm also a bit sorry for myself. The embarrassment is showing, I'm red now and sweating. I've never been mocked publicly in front of my kids. Thankfully, their minds are so pure, so beautiful they don't understand statements like "she had better cover up now or else. I will never fly with united again. Turn and look at her, just look. It's disgusting." They look at me, they have no clue what you could possibly be talking about. I hope my little world, my kids, never understand things like your mind does. I hope they never judge openly without understanding. I hope they learn to look deeper. To see the new mom, young and nervous before every flight praying her baby will stay happy and not upset the other passengers. I hope they don't judge. Cause look where judging has gotten you. You're being escorted off a United airways flight. Not like Beyoncé, No. Like some crazy looney who can't tell her head from her ass. I'm sorry this offends you, but the well being of my daughter will always be more important to me then your thoughts and public shaming. I'm embarrassed yes, you successfully made me cover up, both stewards saw to that. But bitch, I'm still standing up on the inside and this is what we do for life. #breastfeedingmoms #normalizebreastfeeding #fuckyou #unitedairlines

A photo posted by Juliet Summer (@julseyjules) on

Such instances of breastfeeding shaming are not uncommon, but are being more widely discussed as women stand up for their right to naturally feed their babies in public.

For more on the fight to normalize breastfeeding, check out this video from ATTN:.


Our society has a ridiculously hypocritical view of breasts.Here's exactly why: http://bit.ly/1MpZDcgLike ATTN: on Facebook for content that promotes feminism.

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, September 15, 2015