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Mom Alleges Airport Forced Her to Prove She's Lactating

Photograph by Twenty20

Gayathiri Bose, a 33-year-old mother of two, was going through security at Frankfurt Airport when officials spotted her breast pump. The working mom of a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old baby was on her way to Paris for her work at a transport company.

Bose, who's from Singapore, claims she was asked about the pump, which officials apparently didn't recognize. When she explained it was for expressing breast milk, she says they became suspicious because she was traveling without a baby.

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"[They had] an incredulous tone. 'You are breastfeeding? Then where is your baby? Your baby is in Singapore?'" Bose told BBC News.

Bose says she was taken out of the security line and into a room, where police asked her to prove that she was lactating. German police deny Bose's allegations and say such measures are not part of routine procedure.

Inside the room, Bose says she was asked by a female police officer to open up her blouse and show her her breast.

"She then asked how come I didn't have anything attached to my breast, if I was lactating and expressing breastmilk," Bose alleges. "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."

So, Bose claims, she was asked to demonstrate her milk ducts' productivity by hand-expressing a little milk.

Bose complied. She says she squeezed her breast to release a few drops, which was enough to prove why she'd have something like a breast pump with her at all.

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"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."

Officials then cleared the pump, returned her passport and let her board the flight. In the meantime, Bose asked for the female officer's name. She is considering legal action against the airport and the police officer.

A statement from the police acknowledges they are aware of Bose's allegations and that the policewoman—a mother of two herself—had deemed a follow-up necessary. However, police say they deny Bose's allegations that she was ever asked to prove she was lactating.

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