Only babies should fuss about feeding time

Lourdes Ginart/Staff Writer

Public breastfeeding can be an unsettling sight for some or something beautiful for others.

So when Adrienne Pine, a professor at American University, breastfed her child in the middle of a lecture, controversy followed.

Pine is a single mother and, at the time, had a sick infant and no babysitter. So she took her child to work and, shortly after the lecture began, the baby began to fuss and cry. It was feeding time.

Pine believed it would be easier to continue one of the first lectures of the semester rather than end it, so she breastfed her child amidst gawking students.

Although it would have been easy for Pine to end class early and tend to her child, it was something she was reluctant to do when there was an easy solution, just one breast away.

Pine has been criticized for an act that is both publicly and professionally unaccepted by society. Ironically, Pine teaches a “Sex, Gender, and Culture” class: a feminist anthropology course about breaking societal norms.

Essentially, Pine did what any mother would have to do; she took care of her sick infant.

Beyond that, the lecture was filled with young adults (and the keyword here is “adults”) who all understand the biological need an infant has for breast milk.

While a bit unprofessional, Pine saw herself in a situation that had no other resolution. To dismiss class would have set her back, excusing herself would have taken too long, and, according to Forbes, “she had a new teaching assistant who most likely couldn’t take over even while [she] observed.”

All in all, the incident should not have stirred such controversy. Maybe the greater question at hand should be what is American University, and other universities alike, doing to help their single-parent staff members when such occasions occur.

However, there are a few things to criticize about Pine’s attitude towards public breastfeeding.

In a Huffington Post article, Pine states, “If I considered feeding my child to be a “delicate” or sensitive act, I would not have done it in front of my students. Nor would I have spent the previous year doing it on buses, trains and airplanes; on busy sidewalks and nice restaurants; in television studios and while giving plenary lectures to large conferences.”

I feel that Pine has become too comfortable with the idea of public breastfeeding.

The child being a year old already, Pine should have an established feeding schedule, and if it interferes with her time at a nice restaurant, she could easily excuse herself and go to the restroom. If she knows she will be giving a lecture at a conference, there is enough time to hire a caretaker.

Breastfeeding may be an act of nature, and in many situations I understand the need to do it in public; but please, be decent.

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