Poll Question: “Is it appropriate for a college professor to breastfeed her baby during a class lecture?”

Poll Question: “Is it appropriate for a college professor to breastfeed her baby during a class lecture?”

Here’s the question we asked our readers:

“Is it appropriate for a college professor to breastfeed her baby during a class lecture?”

Here’s how readers responded:

18 Percent           Yes, what’s the big deal

9 Percent             Only if there’s no other option

73 Percent           No

0 Percent             Can’t decide

 We came to ask this question because of the news story about the controversy swirling around a college professor who breastfed her baby during a lecture.  Breastfeeding is exceptionally beneficial for babies and their mothers.   We at United Families International are definitely “pro” breastfeeding.  However, we wonder about the wisdom (and the propriety) of breastfeeding a baby while delivering a lecture.  It would seem that both students and the baby deserve better.

When an individual is hired to teach a class, or for that matter to perform any job, that person needs to give their full attention to the job at hand.  Unless it is agreed to in advance by the employer, a child should not be such a prominent feature in a work environment.  To say the child, in this situation, is an unwarranted distraction seems to be understatement.  The college professor had a professional obligation to make other arrangements for her child or to find a substitute.

Anyone else want to weigh in?


  • Camille Bell
    Posted at 21:15h, 08 October

    UF is right. There is a time and place and during a lecture is not the time. A teachers baby would be a distraction in the classroom at any time let alone during a lecture.

  • Meagan
    Posted at 07:02h, 10 October

    This is a hard decision. Should companies focus on “this is what we expect, take it or leave it?” Or should they be more accommodating? I remember reading an article that claimed that professional women shouldn’t have to dress as nice as their male counterparts because they’re individuals (as if men are not?). I don’t buy the whole idea that companies should have to do everything possible to appeal to women who otherwise wouldn’t be in the workforce–like letting them wear what they like and raise their children on site. Yet at the same time I want them to be pro-family and understanding. Couldn’t a compromise be reached like letting her pump between lectures and have the babysitter pick up the bottles?

  • Meagan
    Posted at 07:23h, 10 October

    Okay I just read the article you linked (I need to do that more)–apparently this child normally goes to daycare, but since the baby was sick and had to come to class, she decided that she could put the baby right to the breast instead of the pumped milk the baby normally drinks in daycare. If the baby regularly drinks from a bottle its a lot harder to be sympathetic.

  • Timios
    Posted at 08:53h, 25 October

    I think it appropriate and necessary in some cases, that a nursing mother breast feed her baby whenever she needs to do so, no matter what the setting.

  • Andrea Woolley
    Posted at 00:45h, 01 November

    If the baby had been given a bottle of breast milk would we even have this controversy? The answer is no! The only problem here is that breasts are sexualized in American society. Daycare didn’t work out that day. I’m ecstatic that the professor fed her baby in a natural/healthy way during a lecture to who? Wasn’t it anthropology students or something along those lines?! So sad that those students had a problem with it. I had a college professor with a startling amount of wiry chest hair poking out of his unbuttoned shirt. Did I let this distraction keep me from learning or cause me to complain. Of course not. This is a poor reflection on the students who were “offended.” How often do you think the students are “distracted” by or complain about immodest clothing in the classroom? My husband is a university professor and I can tell you there are a lot of students that show a lot more skin than the typical breastfeeding woman! I’m content to know that my five children have many many breastfeeding examples in their lives and not once have they ever been given a bottle btw! Frankly I expected better results/comments/position from UFI and it’s subscribers. Breastfed is best fed. Perhaps the baby only “regularly” drinks from a bottle when the mother is not available. Why would she give a bottle when she is with her child? Sorry you’re not sympathetic Meagan. Are you saying feeding with a bottle during the lecture would have been acceptable or preferable? Clearly the baby in the classroom is not controversial in your mind, putting the baby to breast is. I have breastfed in many settings including church meetings some even led by me. Breastfeeding on demand is key to the health and nutrition of babies and toddlers. Thanks to mom’s breast milk I’ll bet that baby wasn’t sick for long!

  • Timios
    Posted at 07:52h, 03 November

    Thank you, Andrea! Yours is the voice of reason and commons sense!

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