On August 28, the first day of classes, Pine woke to find her daughter running a fever. Anyone with kids knows that day cares won’t permit sick children to attend, so Pine took her baby to campus with her.
During most of Pine’s Feminist Anthropology class, Lee was quiet and well-behaved. A teaching assistant held her and there were no disruptions to the class, at least not until later.
Once Lee started to get fussy, Pine immediately breastfed her while continuing the lecture. Moments later, the baby was asleep and the class continued without incident.
Everything changed the next day.
Pine quickly found herself embroiled in a campus controversy that has made her work environment rather hostile. Some students didn’t mind her breastfeeding in class, but others took offense. And since the university has no clear policy prohibiting breastfeeding in the classroom, things have gotten even hairier.
I work at a college and can completely understand both sides of this issue. Yes, professors should be as professional as possible in class and with their students. But is breastfeeding a child so bad if it is done discreetly and doesn’t interrupt the class? It’s not like this woman dropped her top and let her baby suckle freely. She moved quickly, concealed herself and never missed a step in her lecture.
Personally, I think some of us are far too insensitive to the needs of others. And I remember a time when college students used to be more open-minded and tolerant. Some still behave this way, but I’m encountering more and more students who don’t. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs.
So the next time you see a woman breastfeeding her child, even if it’s in class, please know that she isn’t doing it to make you uncomfortable or angry. She is simply caring for her child. Young people may not understand this now, but I assure you that many of them will in the future.
Posted on September 13, 2012, in Family, Perspectives and tagged Breastfeeding, children, commentary, current-events, Family, Infant, motherhood, musings, news, Parenting, perspectives, Student, Washington DC. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.