CHILD commissioner Leda Koursoumba yesterday called on airlines to adopt better policies on breast feeding.
The statement was prompted by a recent complaint she received from a mother who asked flight attendants to make arrangements for her to breastfeed her infant in a more private area.
After she was denied re-location and allegedly treated rudely according to the mother, another passenger gave up his seat so that she could feed her baby.
After investigating the case, Koursoumba submitted recommendations to the airline concerned. She refused to disclose the name of the carrier.
Koursoumba said breastfeeding during flights calls for special conditions to be put in place, which should be sorted out beforehand by parents and airlines.
When booking a flight parents should specify that they will be flying with an infant that needs to be breastfed, she said.
“If the airline does not have fixed policies on breastfeeding, they can let the parents know at that stage, giving them a chance to book tickets elsewhere,” Koursoumba said.
Resorting to makeshift solutions where no rules are set, or relying on the goodwill of other passengers, cannot be regarded as a policy, she said.
In August 2011, in a similar complaint involving Cyprus Airways, the airline responded by saying: “Cyprus Airways fully respects motherhood and the sacred right of in-flight breastfeeding and never refused or prohibited any mother from breastfeeding her baby on an airplane of the company.”
It added that thousands of mothers had breastfed on board Cyprus Airways flights and that: “Pilots and flight attendants demonstrate utmost respect towards mothers, especially when nursing their babies. (Cyprus Airways) offers every assistance and care throughout the course of the journey.”