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American University Professor Causes a Stir After Breastfeeding in Class
Adrienne Pine breastfed her sick child while teaching. Was she in the wrong? By Melissa Romero
American University professor Adrienne Pine's decision to breastfeed her baby while teaching a class has caused a stir on campus. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.
Comments () | Published September 12, 2012

Breastfeeding in public always seems to make headlines one way or another. The most recent controversy making national news: American University professor Adrienne Pine’s recent decision to do so in class. 

The Washington Post reported yesterday about Pine’s decision to breastfeed her sick daughter while teaching a 75-minute class to a group of 40 students. Since bringing a fever-ridden baby to daycare was out of the question, Pine had decided that her students wouldn’t mind the baby—after all, it was an introductory class to sex and gender culture. 

According to the article, when the baby began to fuss midway through her lecture, Pine breastfed her until she quickly fell asleep. Just hours after the class, she was contacted by a news assistant at the college newspaper, The Eagle, to discuss her decision. 

So began the heated debate on whether Pine was out of line to breastfeed while teaching a class. The article states that American University officials have frowned upon her decision, while students interviewed said that breastfeeding doesn’t belong in the classroom. On the other hand, Pine's department colleagues have expressed their support for her, some claiming it’s not the first time they’ve heard of this situation arise in a classroom.

Adding to the fire is an essay Pine published on Counterpunch called “ExposĂ©ing My Breasts on the Internet,” in which she wrote about her experience, saying, “For me, breastfeeding has never been any sort of transcendental act. It stretches me, hurts and traps me to my body—which regularly rewards me for the sacrifice with searingly painful mastitis. Breastfeeding is not a sacred or delicate feat. It has just been the easiest way (for me) to make sure the baby gets fed.” 

What do you think? Do you agree with Pine’s decision, or do you think it was, as some have called it, “unprofessional”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. 

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  • Vladnia

    WoW! Beyond unprofessional. Just plain weird. She must be an exhibitionist. What's next, taking a crap in the classroom? That's a natural function as well.

  • famforeva

    U go girl God made milk come out for a reason to feed ur baby im happy that u did it and for standing up for yourselves when a natural thing like this gets put down its just so stupid on everyone's part that says anything negative about it!!!

  • Lioness73067

    For the love of frog hair...shut up. Find a hobby. Get a f''''ing life. Do we NOT have more important things going on in this country?????????????????

  • Wendyrjm

    Thankfully, I live in Illinois. And we have a law here that allows breastfeeding anywhere. My personal feelings are, if you can drink a cup of coffee there, then the baby should be allowed to nurse...it is as easy as that...Additionally, we are talking about a sick infant, who needed comfort. Why are we even having such an absurd conversation is beside me!

  • Katharine_hicyilmaz

    Were these normal students? Tertiary education type, young adult students? If so they sound very immature and narrow minded.
    Breast feeding in public doesn't gave to be a "getting your breasts out for all to see" affair. It can be incredibly discreet in that the child's head covers the exposed area so nothing is visible. Discreet shouldn't mean that no one should know it is happening although in many cases they wouldn't. If discreet must go so far as to mean that members of the public should never know that a mother is feeding her child in the most natural way possible despite not flashing more than a little skin then society must look at itself to consider it's beliefs and the root of these attitudes.
    Why was she obliged to work while her child was too ill for daycare? That is the real question. Employment laws?

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