American University professor Adrienne Pine has created public outcry over her decision to breastfeed her baby in front of her class. Pine said her baby woke with a fever on the first day of Pine’s course “Sex, Gender, Culture” making it possible for Pine to take the child to day care. Instead of canceling the class or turning it over to a teaching assistant on the first day, she opted to take the baby to class. At one point, the baby become restless and without ceasing her lecture, Pine picked up the baby and started breastfeeding her.
When contacted by a campus newspaper journalist about the incident, Pine scoffed in an email to student journalist Heather Mongilio, “…the baby got hungry, so I had to feed it during the lecture. End of story.”
Blogger Jim Romenesko got a hold of the transcript from the email conversation and shared it on his blog.
When Mongilio continued to press Pine on the story, Pine replied, “I slapped my palm on my forehead in frustration. What I wanted to say was ‘Who cares? Do university students really need to be so mollycoddled that they should not see something I do on public transportation nearly every day?’”
The debate now turns to journalism, women’s nursing and breastfeeding rights, professionalism and appropriate classroom and professor behavior. Everyone has an opinion. What is yours?