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

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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