Professor Who Breastfed Her Sick Baby in Class Needs Support, Not Hate

Rant 72

breastfeeding professorAdrienne Pine is an American University professor under fire for bringing her sick baby to class with her and nursing the baby while also teaching. Naturally, people are furious and up in arms over her "inappropriate" behavior. But I say: you go mom. She had little choice and she did what she had to do.

In general, we need to be more supportive of these situations as a culture. 

Having a baby is a 24/7 kind of job. Even those of us who have full-time jobs outside of our families are also full-time moms. Having two such rigorous "jobs" can often conflict. Sometimes we moms have to multitask.

The irony, of course, is that it was during a Sex, Gender, and Culture class. Here is our culture right now. Moms have basically no leeway.

As a working mom, sometimes you feel damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you take a sick day (especially on the first day of school as a professor), you are seen as not dedicated to your work. If you don't take a sick day and stay home, you are a bad mom. Then add in the bit about her being a single mom? Her choices were limited.

I am not saying it's the ideal to bring a sick baby to class and let him or her crawl around and spread germs. But I am saying working moms sometimes have to do what they have to do. It's all a balancing act, and I wish we lived in a society where we could cut each other some slack.

I have no idea what the tenure process is like at AU or even if Professor Pine was on that track. But I do know that when a mom takes off work for a sick kid, people automatically grumble. She is a slacker. She doesn't take her work seriously. Childless people are forced to "pick up her slack." It's the oldest load of crap.

It's hard out there for working parent, but particularly for a single nursing mother.

What she did wasn't ideal. It wasn't even probably the best move. But it was understandable. Until sick days are respected and no one secretly (or overtly) makes bad comments about a woman's "dedication" should she use them, then I say she did what she had to do. I support her.

Do you think what Professor Pine did was wrong?


Image via Cherice/Flickr



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Clearly you're missing the point Jennifer B Kinghorn, the baby was SICK!!! It should have been warm and at home! This has NOTHING to do with bf-ing.

count... countrygirl670

It is unprofessional to feed your baby in class because no one is paying you to feed and supervise your baby in class. They are paying you to teach the class at that time.  I don't understand this at all.  She has a job.  She has a baby.  Babies sometimes get sick.  Did she have no plan for what would happen when the baby inevitably got sick on a work day? 

jpfsmom jpfsmom

Cmon people, it has nothing to do with bf'ing and you know it. A child, whether they are nursing, on the bottle or even a sippy cup has no business in a college classroom, especially a sick child. Replace professor classroom with female lawyer cross examining at court, bridesmaid at a wedding who brought her sick kid and decided to bf while the bride and groom exchange vows, I would like to think even the most devout nip lactivist out there has some friggin common sense. This isn't about bf''s about situations that are appropriate for children to be at period...for the child centric narcissists that think they are entitled to do whatever whenever with your child...please seek therapy, that condition of yours is going to ruin motherhood reputations across the board.

Nicol... NicoleMarie1211

I missed the part where the baby had cholera.... It's a fever and a runny nose people, where's the compassion??

Also- I totally breastfed my baby at work once.... As a waitress.... On a Friday night rush. She was starving, was out of milk and wouldn't take formula, so I told my husband to bring her over and I nursed her in the bathroom for 15 minutes. In uniform.

Suck it, haters.

count... countrygirl670

Yes, but did you nurse your baby while standing at a table taking the customer's order?  Because that would be closer to what this woman did....

Summer Hinds

Wow. Why does everyone care so much? Were you in class? NO? Then don't get so bent out of shape. It's breast feeding, not stripping. Relax people!

cdjak cdjak

The professor is making this all about public breast feeding, but that is not what it's about at all. This was a crawling baby, who could have gotten into any number of hazardous situations in a classroom not designed for babies or small children. The article even pointed out that the baby at one point put a paper clip in her mouth, a clear choking hazard, and had to be 'shooed away' from an electrical outlet. Her teaching assistant felt impelled to babysit, which is not what she is being paid for. Not to mention the biggest issue, which is exposing 40 students to whatever illness this baby had. Imagine the horror which would have ensued if this baby had started vomiting all over the floor or had a leaky diaper full of diarrhea all of a sudden? Not to mention, a sick baby belongs at home, not at the mother's work, or even in day care. The workplace is not a standard "public" place where it is acceptable to bring and breast feed your child. I breasfed all three of my children, and many times in public. But never at work. 

Becky Martin Riccardo

How harsh and judgemental people can be. Do you really think her students minded? I'm certain most did not. I give her credit for showing up to class and still taking care of her sick child. Women, we need to support each other, not bash others choices! Keep up this lack of respect and support for each other and soon we will have no CHOICES to support.

nonmember avatar brandi

OMG! It's not a big deal. So she fed her baby In her college classroom. It's not like she was pulling her boobs out in front of a class of 1st graders and I'm sure she was covered anyway. Would you make a big deal about it if she was feeding her baby in a restaurant or some other public place? I say good job mom. Now personally, I would have had pumped milk on hand but to each his own. Everybody trashing her needs to get a grip. If college people can not handle seeing a nursing mother then they need to go back under the rock they crawled out from under. I was a single nursing mom and sometimes you can't pump or fond a secluded place to nurse. Does that mean the baby shouldn't eat? And yes I think she should have stayed home with her baby too, but its not always that easy. If you haven't walked in her shoes then who are you to judge?

GirlN... GirlNamedBillie

I am a huge breastfeeding supporter, breastfed both my girls, but you don't take a sick child into a classroom muchless a SCHOOL full of people. Irresponsible, sorry.

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