Just over half the UK airports provide dedicated breastfeeding facilities

  • 01 Jun, 2023
  • Alice Fowler

breastfeeding facilities

Back in 2015, we ran an experiment with airports in the UK and Ireland and in May 2023, we ran it again to compare results. Initially, we wanted to see if the UK and Ireland’s airports were loud and proud tweeters, or simply the begrudging “we tweet because we have to” kind of crowd. Secondly, we didn’t just want to ask them some benign question that no one cared about; we wanted to ask them something that really mattered. Something that’s not always obvious from a quick trip to their website.

So we asked 28 UK and Irish airports via Twitter:

“Do you have dedicated mother and baby rooms for nursing mums?”

The results, needless to say, were very interesting. Below, you’ll find the 2015 results compared to the same experiment carried out in May 2023 to see if there were any changes or developments in the answers.

This time we took to good old Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Direct email addresses to ask the question;

“Do you have private facilities for mothers to breastfeed in?”

Often with very quick responses! If you want further information, simply click the 🤱 where it’s listed below to be taken to the relevant page on the airport’s website.

“Does my airport offer private breastfeeding facilities?”

Airport Facilities back in 2015 Facilities now in 2023
Aberdeen Baby change facilities both landside and airside, with nursing facilities landside. “We have a dedicated facility for breastfeeding landside (before you go through security) in the terminal. We also have baby changing facilities both landside and airside.”
Belfast City George Best No dedicated rooms but many quiet and comfortable seating areas. They do not have a private breastfeeding area but mothers are welcome to feed wherever they feel comfortable throughout the airport.
Belfast International No reply “We do not have a dedicated breastfeeding area, however we do have a quiet zone, which is free from flight announcements and the main hustle and bustle of the departure lounge. You will find the quiet zone en route to gates 20-29 in the departure area. Alternatively, we have 2 first aid rooms which you are welcome to use if they are available. Should you wish to have the privacy of the first aid room, just call us on 02894 484317 and we would be more than happy to meet you and take you there.” We love the answer!
Birmingham Neither their Twitter response nor website provided relevant information. “We have baby changing facilities in both landside and airside areas of the Airport. If you require electricity to power a breast pump then we recommend the sunflower room in the pier as there’s a power source there and the room is lockable.” That’s much better!
Bristol Facilities located throughout the terminal. “Every set of toilets has a parent and baby room which you are welcome to use for feeding your child. If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch or speak to a member of staff at the airport.”
Cardiff A room on 1st Floor Departures, but welcome to feed wherever. “You can use the ladies/baby change areas”
Dublin All baby changing facilities have seating within the unit. There are baby feeding rooms in both terminals, introduced in 2017. 🤱
East Midlands Dedicated baby changing rooms with seating for nursing adjacent to men’s and ladies’ toilets both before and after security. Slightly different response in 2023, “We have dedicated baby changing rooms with seating for breastfeeding next to the women’s bathrooms both before and after security. Please note that we promote feeding across our site and don’t restrict where this can take place.”
Edinburgh We have quiet rooms in the toilets in UK Arrivals, Gate 12, Gate 19 and just after Immigration. Their website states; “We welcome breastfeeding throughout the terminal, but for those who would like privacy to do this, we also have a lockable nursing room near Gate 21.” 🤱
Exeter No reply “We don’t have dedicated breastfeeding areas as such, however our toilets are all equipped with baby changing facilities, including our disabled toilets, which are fairly spacious too. However, the best place I can suggest is the quiet room we have available in the departure gates. This is a private room which can be used for a variety of things, of which breast feeding is certainly one. If you would like to use the quiet room during your visit, please contact a member of airport staff who will be happy to point you in the right direction.”
Glasgow We have a number of mother and baby rooms. You’ll find more info in the “terminal facilities” section on our website. “Yes, there are three changing rooms with lockable doors and plug sockets in them. One on each pier of the airport (where the gates are) and one in the main departures area next to Frankie and Benny’s. Additionally, we have a private breastfeeding area near Gate 1. Alternatively, if you pick up a help phone in the airport, an assistant can take you to a private room above Boots.”
Humberside We have baby changing areas within our ladies facilities. “Whilst we do not have any dedicated breastfeeding facilities at the Airport we would always be happy to assist any visitor or passenger to the airport in finding an appropriate area where they would feel comfortable breastfeeding.”
Inverness No reply “There is no dedicated breastfeeding space within the terminal at the moment, although there are chairs suitable for breastfeeding within the terminal toilet facilities.”
Leeds No reply “Please note, we do not have dedicated areas but we do have quiet areas which can be used.”
Liverpool Just by the toilets both landside and air side (through security). “We have dedicated family facilities and breastfeeding facilities throughout the terminal. Check in – dedicated family toilet with child and adult toilet, baby change and feeding seating area. Upper retail departures – Baby change and toilet plus separate feeding room. Eastern departure lounge – Family room and breast feeding room. Western Departures – Baby change and combined accessible room.”- We love the detailed responses!
London City We do have baby changing rooms within the airport but no dedicated nursing rooms. Their website states: “If you require privacy, mothers are permitted to use the First Aid room located before security. Please ask a member of the customer services team to take you there.” 🤱
London Gatwick Equipped rooms for feeding and changing babies are shown by either a bottle sign or a babycare symbol. “We have specially equipped rooms for feeding and changing babies, which are indicated by a babycare symbol. Changing facilities are provided in the check-in area, en route to the gates, in the transfer area, and after passport control in arrivals. There are also fold-down tables provided in some male and female toilets.”
London Heathrow We have dedicated family areas within our terminals. Seating is available throughout the terminal and people are welcome to feed baby wherever they are comfortable. “We don’t have any dedicated breastfeeding facilities available at present, but passengers are welcome to approach any member of staff who can direct them to a quieter area to breastfeed.”
London Luton Sorry, we don’t, but if you contact a member of our passenger services team prior to security, we can find you somewhere you’d be able to get some peace and quiet. Please visit the desk in the concourse under the welcome sign for assistance. They simply directed my enquiry to their website but the website doesn’t have anything regarding breastfeeding facilities. We’ve chased them up but still no response yet!
Manchester There are baby changing facilities available in the terminals. Their website states “our baby changing facilities include chairs to make breastfeeding easier. Manchester Airport promotes breastfeeding across our site and we do not restrict where this can take place” 🤱
Newcastle You can find a list of our facilities for babies and children on our website. (We’ve taken out the link they gave us as it no longer works!) “We have a quiet area available in Gate 31.”
Norwich Baby change facilities but no dedicated feeding rooms. “Nursing mothers are welcome to feed wherever they feel comfortable within the airport. We do not have dedicated facilities however, if a quiet, more private space is required, they can speak to our customer service desk as we will always try our best to accommodate.”
Shannon Yes we do, of course, nursing mothers can feed wherever they feel most comfortable. “We have a designated feeding room past our information desk on the right-hand side, but we welcome mothers to feed wherever they feel most comfortable in the airport.”
Southampton Facilities on our main concourse have a nursing seat and facilities airside have baby changing (after Security). “We have a dedicated breast-feeding cubicle conveniently located within our baby change room.”
Southend No dedicated rooms. But there are areas upstairs and downstairs which are quite quiet both landside and airside. “All mothers have the right to breastfeed their babies anywhere. The Southend Supports Breastfeeding scheme encourages venues across the city including shops, cafes, leisure centres, libraries, museums and transport services to welcome families who want to breastfeed.”
Stansted In our departure lounge adjacent to the main toilet block there is a mother and baby room. Their website states “There is a breastfeeding room located in the main departures lounge, as well as family rooms located near several of the gates. On arrival there is also a family room at the International Baggage Reclaim. Please note that we promote feeding across our site and don’t restrict where this can take place.” 🤱.
Teesside International No reply “All toilets (including male) both before and after security have a dedicated private baby change area. We also offer a Changing Places facility which can be used for breastfeeding if required.”

 This data was compiled in January 2015 and again in May 2023

It’s all about privacy

Being a new mum can be quite an overwhelming experience, and if it’s not your first child you may well have a toddler in tow. Airports are busy, daunting experiences at the best of times and trying to find somewhere to feed baby amongst it all can be pretty complicated.

Bear in mind back in 2010 it was made illegal for anyone to ask a mother breastfeeding in public to leave, so you could find a comfy seat and get on with it. This is more than acceptable, but the lack of privacy may not be for everyone, especially with there being so many different cultures within airports.

16 out of 28 airports offer breastfeeding facilities

Now, 16 out of the 28 airports asked replied that they had dedicated mother and baby rooms that could be used for nursing mums. That’s around 57%. This is just about more than half which is surprising given the number of families that are on the move nowadays!

“Yes we do! Of course, nursing mothers can feed wherever they feel most comfortable. #familyfriendly #flyshannon” – @ShannonAirport

In 2015, Shannon, Southend, Cardiff, and Belfast City George Best all encouraged breastfeeding mothers to use wherever in the airport they felt comfortable, although George Best and Southend said they did not have anywhere dedicated. Today, It is still the case for George Best and Southend who are without dedicated rooms but advocate feeding wherever the mother feels comfortable.

And the award goes to…

Aberdeen, Gatwick, Glasgow, Liverpool and Shannon all win our award for the “Best Response” – offering helpful, detailed information in a timely manner, and actually answering our question in full. If you’re a nursing mum, there should be no worries travelling through these airports!

Birmingham Airport is in receipt of both our “Needs Improvement 2015” award and “Most Improved 2023” – their rather mediocre response in 2015 was:

“we do, please follow this link to our website for details;” – @bhx_official

Which provided a (now broken) link to the Special Assistance page..!

However having spoken to them 8 years later, they advised that “We have baby changing facilities in both landside and airside areas of the Airport. If you require electricity to power a breast pump then we recommend the sunflower room in the pier as there’s a power source there and the room is lockable”. Nice one, Birmingham!

Finally, the “Was It Something We Said?” award goes to Durham Tees Valley, Exeter, Inverness and Leeds Bradford who didn’t respond in 2015. However since conduting it again, they’ve all replied so well done guys!

Airports doing breastfeeding mothers proud.

A special mention must go out to Southampton Airport who replied with this lovely photo of one of their mother and baby rooms in 2015:

Southampton Airport mother and baby facilities - copyright Southampton Airport
Southampton Airport mother and baby facilities – copyright Southampton Airport

And one should also go to Dublin Airport for showcasing their 2 dedicated Baby Feeding Rooms, built in 2017.

Let’s also give a huge “Thank you!” to Aberdeen, Bristol, East Midlands, Gatwick and Stansted for all mentioning they had dedicated breastfeeding or family rooms available in the terminal!

More UK airports need dedicated breastfeeding facilities.

Overall, we were impressed at the response rate, and, we’re pleased that there has been improvements in the number of airports with dedicated facilities! However, let’s hope the next time we revisit this subject that the number of UK airports with a dedicated breastfeeding facility has risen closer to 25!


About Alice Fowler

I love to travel and working in the airport parking world for nearly a decade has given me inside out knowledge of the industry. I love to help travellers get the best out of their trip, and their journey to the airport is an important part of that. Whether it's using our data to spot trends and pinpoint when people can save money, or opening the lid on airport parking tips and tricks, if it helps our customers, I'll write about it!

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19 responses to “Just over half the UK airports provide dedicated breastfeeding facilities”

  1. I’m pleased to say that Stansted have a basic but perfectly adequate feeding room which I used to pump this morning, unfortunately Edinburgh airport do not have any facilities or available spaces to feed or pump so I’m currently sat facing a corner in the special assistance area to do the return journey course 🙁

    • Oh Kelly, we are sorry to hear that! Is that what they meant by “We have quiet rooms in the toilets in UK Arrivals, Gate 12, Gate 19 and just after Immigration” 🙁

  2. Hey, I can confirm that in July 2016 there was a lovely parent room at Stansted with three lockable cubicles for nursing, each with a comfy chair and plugs for pumping too. I can’t rememeber where it was, but sure it was airside.

    • Hi Cat,

      Thank you for confirming that! It’s great to hear they do have a comfortable room for breastfeeding. Sounds like they have thought it through well!

      Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  3. Hi Alice

    I realise this blog is more than a year old now but I was googling how to complain about Stansted airport and your report came up.

    I travelled to Mallorca yesterday from STN with my new baby who is 10 weeks old. I was very anxious about finding somewhere to feed him in the airport and was relieved when I saw a facility for ‘feeding’ in unit 19 in the far corner. Little reassuring baby bottle symbol, not the mum and baby symbol hoped for but still, rather obviously a dedicated symbol.

    As we approached, it was clear that we has been relegated to this far corner as some kind of punishment for daring to have children. The signs diminished for a ‘feeding room’ and just ‘toilets’ remained. Within a maze of uninviting boarded walls, I asked an attendant and she pointed to a changing room. Within this smelly room was what can only be described as a cell which was the alleged feeding room, and my husband and I stared inside in horror. It was a disabled toilet with no lock and the worst plastic chair attached to the wall directly in front if the loo. It was not inviting, there was no lock, it wasn’t clean. I felt tearful as I sat and fed my poor baby there. I felt totally dehumanised and punished. And how dare Stansted claim they have a dedicated mother and baby feeding room. It’s a fucking base lie.

    I took pictures if you’d like to see them. I am determined to make a big deal of this. I cannot bear other young bf mums going there and experiencing the same thing.

    • Hi Sophia,

      Thank you so much for your comment and I am so, so sorry to hear about your experience. This is exactly the type of thing we were trying to highlight by writing this blog post and it’s shocking that a year on their facilities are clearly not as described.

      I would be very interested in seeing the photos and making some noise about this – would you perhaps email me on alice @ fubra . com (no spaces)?

      Once again I am very sorry you had to go through that, as you say, I feel sorry for any mother who finds that this is on offer for a quiet space to feed her baby!

      – Alice

  4. Aberdeens baby change facilities are in the disabled toilet. No breastfeeding faciities provided. Toilet doesnt have a lid. I had to feed in the main terminal which was full of men due to aberdeen being an oil airport. My baby doesn’t feed well under his “sheet” so I had to just whip it out in public. Not very happy with aberdeen. I’m travelling again tomorrow so will ask the question this time to see if I can access a lounge perhaps?

    • Oh and heathrow t5 rooms are lovely, but need more of them! Plenty room for a family in them, just not enough to service the airport, especially when so many people use them only for changing and not feeding.

    • Update from abz…nursing facilities landside, but not airside. Lovely email from them though! Will be considering during their refurb.

      • Many thanks for your comments and help, Helen! I’ve updated our table according to what Aberdeen informed you.

        Good to know that T5’s facilities are lovely, if not plentiful!

  5. I’m surprised that at least 1 airport appears to have woman – only changing facilities. What happens if baby poos while mum is checking in? Or single dads?
    Nursing rooms = female spaces, but baby change areas should be parent/carer spaces.

  6. Again I agree with the above, interesting how mothers feeding their childen could be directed to a changing area or toilet!!!
    As a previous breastfeeding mum i think this is outragious, would we eat in a toilet? As mentioned yes it reflects the views of many regarding breastfeeding!!

    • Quite so, changing rooms appeared to be seen as synonymous with breastfeeding facilities – when there is no guarantee of there being a nursing chair/somewhere to sit to be comfortable feeding baby!

  7. Dear Alice, what an interesting report. I am a midwife and lactation consultant in Southampton, I am also part of a ‘breastfeeding in public’ project http://www.breastfeedinginpublic.co.uk
    It seems to me that the report reflects the way British people see breastfeeding,
    why on is a public toilet seen as a suitable place to feed a baby? Let’s hope your report helps people to realise that mothers need to feed their babies while out and about. Thank you.

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