Even if you love the feeling of a plane taking off and slicing through the clouds, the experience at the airport beforehand can be stressful. Not only do you have to maneuver your way through a sea of busy travelers, but dealing with the strict TSA policies can throw a huge wrench in your itinerary.
When Heather Andi Jones arrived at the Denver International Airport with her three-month-old daughter, Amelia, she was nervous to fly for the very first time with the toddler. However, she had no idea that a crying baby on the plane was the absolute least of her worries…
Colorado mom Heather Andi Jones knew there was a chance her three-month-old daughter, Amelia, might throw a tantrum on the flight they were taking from Denver International Airport to Los Angeles.
She took every precaution she could to prevent a total meltdown. She found that when it came to children and planes, they were either total saints or complete disasters. There really was no in between.
A few days before the flight, Heather researched the best ways to keep children calm on a plane. She brought along plenty of Amelia’s toys to keep her occupied, but more importantly, she brought milk, the ultimate secret weapon.
Amelia was one of the most well-behaved children Heather knew. She rarely made a scene when they were out in public, so Heather was hopeful things would go smoothly. But of course, the two had never been on a plane before.
Milk was always what Heather turned to when Amelia started fussing. It didn’t matter whether they were at a restaurant or if it was simply late at night; Amelia would start to feed and immediately calm down.
Heather never had problems pumping enough milk, but in preparation for this trip, she pumped an extra amount of milk for Amelia. She couldn’t risk running out of the liquid before the flight was over. That would surely have spelled trouble.
The entire process of physically and mentally preparing for the flight was hard work, but Heather knew being a mom, in general, was hard work. She was mentally prepared to take on her biggest challenge of motherhood to date.
In her research, Heather learned the best way to transport milk and baby formula was freezing it overnight so it would stay cool throughout the trip. It sounded simple, but she did have some concerns.
She packed the frozen bottles on the morning of her flight and headed to the Denver International Airport. Collecting and prepping the milk was a time-consuming process, and she hoped the TSA wouldn’t give her any problems.
The airport was packed when Heather arrived. Two lanes of airport security were shut down, so the entire process was taking much longer than expected; it felt like they’d never leave. Heather hoped the milk would stay frozen and Amelia would remain calm.
Finally, Heather reached the TSA agents at the front and they began inspecting her things. Worry wasn’t on the new mother’s mind when her things were inspected, but that soon changed…
Heather knew she didn’t have anything she shouldn’t in her possession, so she patiently waited with Amelia. However, once the agent came to the milk, their demeanor completely changed.
Since TSA guidelines allowed for both fresh milk and breast milk, she was confused. Never before had she been pulled out of an airport line by security. She always followed the rules, but now she was getting nervous.
Then, the agent told her that after running the frozen liquid through one of their machines, it tested positive for explosives! The reason? Trace amounts of glycerin. Heather was stunned.
Now, glycerin is a common additive in baby wipes and hand lotions, which are completely safe products. However, the chemical can also be used to make dynamite, which is exactly why the TSA machine picked up on it.
The mother could have easily tainted the milk by mistake after handling wipes or lotion. Even if she washed her hands, trace amounts still could have trickled into the liquid, causing a false positive in the machine.
Because of the traces of glycerin, Heather was asked to stand aside until a female TSA agent arrived to give her a thorough pat down. The agent made her place Amelia in her stroller, and the toddler started bawling. Heather was overwhelmed from the stress.
Finally, the pat down ended and Heather scooped up Amelia, trying to calm her frantic baby. The agents made her dump out all of the milk, so Heather retreated to a waiting area to feed her toddler. If this entire ordeal wasn’t enough, a different TSA agent approached Heather and asked her to stop publicly feeding Amelia.
Everything that had happened was appalling. Luckily, she was able to finish feeding her daughter, and they soon caught a plane to Los Angeles. There, Heather found a great nursing room to give her daughter her next meal.
It seemed insane that something as simple as milk created such a stir at the airport. She had no idea her day would turn into such a stressful situation. Luckily, Amelia received her meals, but this was a lesson to Heather: it can be hard for breastfeeding moms to travel.
There’s a lot moms and soon-to-be moms must consider. Before even going into labor they’ve gotta make sure they’re ready for a lengthy hospital stay and get the house prepped for the baby. But one new mom recently learned of something else she should’ve considered…
On April 4, 2018, Elizabeth Eden was in labor at a Baltimore County hospital. Then, while suffering painful contractions, the doctor delivered bad news.
The doctor walked into the room, looked her straight in the eyes, and told her she tested positive for opiates, the same drug found in heroin — they’d have to take her baby away. But Elizabeth, below, had never done drugs in her life!
Racking her brain for an explanation, the soon-to-be mother remembered something she’d learned in a high school health class that explained the false positive.
See, earlier in the day, before she ended up at the hospital, Elizabeth stopped at her favorite cafe to pick up something for breakfast. She ordered her usual — a bagel.
More specifically, she ordered strawberry cream cheese on an everything bagel — a bagel coated in poppy seeds. Poppy seeds, Elizabeth knew, had been known to wreak havoc on drug tests — but why?
Farmers harvest poppy seeds from the poppy plant which contain the opiates found in opium, heroin, codeine, and morphine. While the seeds are perfectly safe to eat, they can turn up false positives on drug tests. This was what Elizabeth remembered.
To save her baby, Elizabeth tried explaining herself to the doctors and nurses. “I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast.'” But the doctor shook his head.
The second he saw the failed drug test, the doctor followed protocol and reported Elizabeth to the state as a potential drug user. Immediately after birth, doctors took baby Beatrice away.
Doctors told Elizabeth, “for the next five days, every 4 hours, we’re going to check her for withdrawal systems.” Elizabeth was in shock. “It was traumatizing,” she said. Was there nothing she could do?
At the end of a grueling five days, the hospital released Beatrice back to her parents: but that wasn’t the end to their awful ordeal.
Even with Beatrice home, state social workers continued investigating Elizabeth, dropping by the home to ensure Beatrice was doing a-okay — and that the mom wasn’t actually a drug addict.
For three weeks, social workers dropped by the house at random, checking in on the family. Meanwhile, Elizabeth presented the poppy seed defense to her assigned social worker. But did that have any real legal standing?
Jessica and Lon Binder / flickr
You might remember the episode of Seinfeld where, after eating a poppy seed muffin, Elaine failed a drug test, but ultimately kept her job thanks to “the poppy seed defense.” But the defense has legal precedent in reality, too.
In 2013, a Pennsylvania woman won nearly $150,000 in a lawsuit after the state took her baby away when she tested positive for opiates. She argued it had been poppy seeds that caused the false positive — and won!
So Elizabeth Eden gave the poppy seed defense to her caseworker, and, after putting up with even more bureaucracy, the official ultimately closed her file. Her family could be whole! Still, she wasn’t satisfied quite yet…
Elizabeth wrote to the hospital and detailed her research on poppy seeds and their effects on drug tests. She wanted to the hospital to either change what constitutes a “positive test” or warn expecting mothers about poppy seeds.
“We don’t typically educate patients” on the poppy seed drug test potential, Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the chief of the department of OBGYN at the hospital, below, said. Elizabeth’s letter, she said, made “a really good point.”
After writing the letter, Elizabeth posted in an all-moms Facebook page, warning others about the dangers of a poppy seed bagel. Her post received “a flood” of responses.
Facebook moms told her “‘Oh, this happened to a friend of mine,'” she said, “or, ‘Oh, this happened to me.'” The problem, it seemed, was a lot more far-reaching than she ever imagined. So she gave some advice…
“If you’re anywhere close to delivery,” she said, “avoid poppy seeds!” Just one more thing for pregnant mothers to worry about, but a precaution worth taking all the same — your family could depend on it!