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Breastfeeding professor: Students get lesson in nursing debate

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So, the baby spent the 75-minute class either on Pine’s back, crawling around the floor, or being held by a teaching assistant. At one point, Pine nursed the infant. 

“When Lee grew restless, I briefly fed her without stopping [the] lecture, and much to my relief, she fell asleep,” Pine wrote in her essay. “The end of class came none too soon, and I was happy to be able to take the bus home and put my sad baby in bed where she belonged. It seemed like things had gone as well as they could, given the circumstances.”

But then a college newspaper reporter e-mailed.  And here, Pine gets snarky.  See, according to Pine’s recount of the e-mail, this reporter, Heather Mongilio, asked to talk about what happened in class, while saying that she understood “the delicacy of the matter and I do not want to make you feel uncomfortable.”

Pine wrote that she was “shocked and annoyed” at the e-mail’s anti-woman implications, that nursing her baby would be considered “delicate” or “uncomfortable.”  Later, as Ms. Mongilio pursues her story – even having the nerve to try to interview Pine in person! What shoddy journalism they’re teaching over there – Pine becomes ever more offended, writing disparagingly about how the young reporter called her breastfeeding in class an “incident” and how the student newspaper overall was anti-feminist. (She quoted a rather unfortunate and unrelated date rape column to prove her point.)

Meanwhile, the university has not appeared particularly pleased with its professor, noting in classic institutional language that perhaps sick babies do best at home. According to the Washington Post, here’s part of the university’s position statement: 

“A faculty member’s conduct in the classroom must be professional. Faculty may maintain a focus on professional responsibilities in the classroom by taking advantage of the options the university provides, including reasonable break times, private areas for nursing mothers to express milk, and leave in the case of a sick child.”

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