A mum has revealed her humiliation after allegedly being asked to squeeze her own breast to prove she was lactating when airport security became suspicious of her breast pump.
Gayathiri Bose was boarding a flight to Paris from Frankfurt airport in Germany when security became cautious of the breast pump she was carrying with her.
The mum of two was travelling alone but wanted to continue expressing her breast milk to ensure that she kept producing food for her baby while she was away.
Security staff reportedly stopped Gayathiri and continued to question the 33 year old about her motives for travelling without her children, before testing her breast pump which they suspected to be an explosive device.
Gayathiri has said that after X-raying her travel bag, security staff began speaking to her in an ‘incredulous’ tone.
‘[They had] an incredulous tone. “You are breastfeeding? Then where is your baby? Your baby is in Singapore?”‘
She claims that the security staff appeared not to believe that her breast pump was genuine and asked to question her further in a separate room, keeping her passport.
According to Gayathiri, that is when her experience became ‘humiliating’ and she was asked by a female officer to squeeze her bare breast to prove she was lactating.
OMG…it’s the day that I dread and look forward to at the same time;)
‘She asked me to open up my blouse and show her my breast. She then asked how come I didn’t have anything attached to my breast, if I was lactating and expressing breast milk.
‘And I said, there is no such thing that is [permanently] attached, we usually place the pump to our nipple and the machine does the job.
‘She wanted me to show her by hand-expressing a little.’
Gayathiri, who is from Singapore, told the BBC that she was ‘in shock’ and felt ‘traumatised’.
‘I was just in shock, I was going through the motions. I was all by myself as well, and wasn’t sure what would happen to me if they decided to make trouble for me.
‘It was only when I came out of the room that I began to slowly understand what had just happened. I just started to cry, I was terribly upset.’
The mum, who has has a three-year-old child and a seven-month-old baby, says the ordeal lasted for about 45 minutes and that afterwards the staff appeared to show no remorse.
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‘When they finally cleared me of the matter, I told them that this is not the way to treat someone. I said “Do you know what you just did to me, you made me show my breast?”
‘The officer just said, “Okay it is over now, please go”. She was totally nonchalant, she didn’t seem very remorseful or empathetic.’
A spokesperson from Frankfurt airport has confirmed that Gayathiri was stopped but denies that she was asked to show her breasts, to which the young mum is considering taking legal action.