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Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base – University Teacher Breast Feeds in Class

I saw this story on Good Morning America last week and had to write a post about it. On August 28, the assistant anthropology professor at American University woke up to a sick baby and knew daycare wasn’t an option. Apparently she is also a single mother and she didn’t want to miss her lecture (I believe it was the first day of class). In her mind, she had no option other than taking her sick daughter to work with her. The baby (around a year old) played on the floor for a while, was rocked by an assistant at times, but because fussy. The mother did what many mothers would do when the baby is sick and fussy: she breast fed her daughter.

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What’s the problem you ask? The problem people are having is that she breast fed IN CLASS while continuing with the lecture. She did inform students she was about to do so. One of her students Tweeted about it and has since deleted his Twitter account:

Jake C Tweeted:

“Sex, gender, and culture professor, total feminist, walks in with her baby, midway through class breast feeding time #wtf”

I also went to the GMA website as they mentioned they were taking a poll about this. After I submitted my response, take a look at the results:

Professor breast-fed child while teaching class: Was that inappropriate?

Yes, totally inappropriate. (302)
No, there’s nothing wrong with that. (54) 
I looked later in the day and the numbers hadn’t changed much, it was near 75% saying inappropriate and 25% saying nothing wrong with that. Now, how do I feel about this topic? Do I think the mother was wrong? 

As a breastfeeding mama and a work-outside-of-the-home mama, I wish I could take my baby to work and nurse her when she’s hungry. I wish it were more accepted and I wish it were made easier for mothers to breast feed. I think if it were more accepted and encouraged in the work place, more women would breast feed for longer periods of time.

Having said that though, I also have to say that work is not a place for babies all of the time and it is considered in many cases to be unprofessional to take your baby to work, breastfeeding aside. It would definitely be inappropriate to take the baby into a board room meeting, so what makes it ok for her to take the baby into her classroom in front of many students who can be easily distracted by a baby crawling around? I also have to wonder, if it were a student that were in this situation, having no sitter and baby was sick, would that teacher allow the baby in her classroom? I also have to say that as a professional working woman she takes a responsibility to make sure her students are taught and I think she was putting that responsibility aside. Putting it aside for a great reason: her own daughter, but as a professional and teacher you have to know that you have responsibilities to many outside of your child/children.  I am kind of thinking out loud as I am typing on this one because I am torn. I want to say there is nothing wrong with what she did. I want to support her decision as a breastfeeding mama, but I can also see how unprofessional it was. That doesn’t make the fact that it is seen as unprofessional ok or the right answer. Do I wish it were more accepted? Absolutely.

Be sure you stop by and see what Courtney from Joy of Momma Joyner has to say about this controversial topic! If you are a blogger, we’d love for you to link up! If you prefer, you can leave a comment and tell us your thoughts! We would love to hear what you have to say! Be sure you are respectful of everyone’s opinions and please don’t put anyone down for their thoughts.


Tuesday's Tastes on Second Base - Breast Feeding and Jury Duty
Tuesday's Tastes on Second Base - Scheduled vs On Demand Nursing


  1. A college classroom is not an appropriate place for a baby, especially a sick one. The breastfeeding isn’t really the issue, imo.

    • Great point, Judi! A sick baby should be AT HOME resting. I should have added that to my post because that really should be the bigger issue! 🙂 Thanks!

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