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Family Talk: Professor Adrienne Pine Breastfeeds Baby During Class

Assistant Anthropology Professor Adrienne Pine breast-fed her sick baby while teaching a course at American University.

Professor Adrienne Pine put real life meaning into her "Sex, Gender and Culture" course for students on their first day of class.

Pine began to breastfeed her daughter, whom she brought to the class due to the baby being sick. As reported by ABC, controversy has ensued over Professor Pine's decision to nurse her hungry child during a class she was teaching.

As a working mother of two children, I completely understand the dilemma Pine faced when her daugher was sick and she had no options for child care.

I don't, however, understand how she thought taking her sick daughter to work with her and breastfeeding her in front of 40 students was a feasible option.

It is completely irresponsible and unprofessional for a woman, an educator, a professor to take a sick baby to a class and then proceed to breastfeed her in front of everyone.

I am all for a woman's right to feed her child and am very much in agreement with the laws in place to protect those rights, allowing women to nurse in public. I breastfed both of my children.

Professor Pine's actions were wrong. She acted with complete disregard for her students, who are paying for the course she is teaching and not to watch her breastfeed her baby.

This kind of situation is different than those where a woman is nursing in public, at a park or store. In those settings, people who are uncomfortable seeing a woman breastfeeding her child have the option to look the other way and continue walking.

In a setting like her classroom, where Professor Pine is the focal point of all that is going on, those that may have otherwised looked away were not given that option.

Pine could have resolved her crisis in a number of ways. From cancelling class or holding an abbreviated session to excusing herself to nurse or packing breastmilk she pumped in advance, the list of alternative options could goes on and on.

Breastfeeding is the best nourishment for a baby and even moreso when they are sick, but it is unprofessional and inappropriate for someone to take such a personal act and implant it into a professional setting such as a university classroom.

Lorraine September 16, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Actually I think the feeding is irrelevant. I'm amazed that she thought it was her "best option" to bring her baby to class. She made that decision after a friend encouraged her to do so because they thought it would be a "teachable moment". Students pay a lot of money to be there. Does she not realize how distracting this is for students???? Apparently not. My own son is super busy working his way through college and he knows to speak up for himself when there is a problem like this. I was thinking of him when I read this story. I’m a working mom myself and never did I bring my kids to work with me. My mother was a single mom with 6 kids and NEVER did she take us to work with her. You either take the day off or have one of your back up babysitters help you. If you don’t have back up sitters then start getting sociable so you can have people’s phone numbers when you are in a pinch like this. That’s called having priorities. That’s why 99% of parents don’t bring children to work with them. . I think this professor is irresponsible, inconsiderate and selfish to not think of how her students could be distracted or even gotten sick themselves from her sick baby. But the students themselves as young adults would have to speak up and state their opinion on whether it's distracting for them. Any competent professor knows that they need to get students full attention. Minimize if you can't eliminate distractions. Behave and dress professionally.
Lena September 16, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I believe that breasts are for feeding children. Period. THE. END. However, yes, she could've cancelled class or pumped milk. The bringing a child to her class is not much of an issue with me. An infant is FAR less distracting than a 6 year old. My mother brought me to the classes she ATTENDED as a full time working mother and a full time college student (I was 8, 9, 10 years old). I brought homework and crayons was the rare well behaved child who DID NOT interrupt lessons.) I taught college courses from 1998 to 2006 and have let parents bring their children to class in emergencies, with varying results. If SHE thought that bringing her infant who was still nursing was the best option then that is is HER right and choice. I would've pumped my milk or excused myself for a bit if I couldn't cancel class. But there is nothing wrong with her nursing her child under a nursing shawl (yes my students have done that too) in class. She could've turned her back to the class and maybe worn a mike as she was nursing the child IF she felt that she had to nurse the child during class and that taking 15 minutes out of the room was not an option. Breasts are not dirty. Their PRIMARY purpose is for the nurturing of children.
Harriet Brown September 16, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Sorry. I think that she had other options. Man people, especially students who pay a lot of money to attend those classes, find public breast feeding distracting. I believe that breastfeeding is a very personal choice that we make. But, bringing a sick baby to her class, and breastfeeding the baby in front of all her students, is NOT a wise choice.
Kristen September 17, 2012 at 07:04 PM
its weird to see so many women who are non-supportive about women's issues. I dont see what the uproar is about, especially in a woman-centric class. Additionally, if more women could bring kids to work there would be a lot less conflict and glass ceilings in women's lives.
Kristen September 17, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Personally, i have an interest in seeing a world that's friendlier to women. i am not sure what the interest is in the people who judge her negatively for breastfeeding and/or bringing a kid to class

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