Huffpost College

Adrienne Pine, American University Professor, Starts Controversy After Breast-feeding During Her Lecture

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

American University Professor Adrienne Pine is exasperated and tired of talking about the debate she supposedly sparked when she breast-fed her child in front of her "Sex, Gender and Culture" class.

The act was no stunt. She said she needed to since her daughter was sick and couldn't attend her normal childcare.

The Washington Post reports that the child crawled around the lecture hall in a onesie and was rocked by a teaching assistant who volunteered but didn't have to. Faced with a fussy baby on the first day of her 75-minute lecture, she fed her daughter.

In a blog post that Pine wrote in anticipation of the controversy called Exposéing My Breasts On The Internet, Pine explained why.

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 admit those lectures haven’t always gone so well (baby can get fidgety), but as a single parent without help or excess income, my choice has been between sacrificing my professional life and slogging through it.

American University students' reactions are largely split, not surprisingly, between those who thought she was inappropriate and others who consider breast-feeding totally natural. American University officials, quick to note its breast-feeding policies are in accordance with D.C. and federal law, focused on the sick condition of her child and expressed some level of disapproval that Pine decided to bring her into the classroom, saying that personal days and other options are available in these instances. The university did not comment on breast-feeding in the classroom but said Pine's blog post was unprofessional.

Summarizing, Pine wrote:

“So here’s the story, internet: I fed my sick baby during feminist anthropology class without disrupting the lecture so as to not have to cancel the first day of class. I doubt anyone saw my nipple, because I’m pretty good at covering it. But if they did, they now know that I too, a university professor, like them, have nipples. Or at least that I have one.”

Around the Web

American University professor sparks debate after breast-feeding baby during ...

Professor Sparks Debate After Breast-Feeding Sick Baby in Class

Did prof go too far by breast-feeding sick baby while lecturing?

New Breastfeeding Policy Debate Follows Anthropology Prof's Decision to Bring ...

Professor notified that breast feeding while teaching "incident" would be ...

College professor breast-feeds during class

The Soapbox: Breastfeeding Professor Brings Sick Baby To Class, Heads Explode

Breast-Feeding Debate Fallout

AU Professor, Newspaper Fight Over Breasts

Exposéing My Breasts on the Internet