College attempting to ban breastfeeding in class - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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NOt.  all.  babies.  are. disruptive. 
 


No, not all babies are disruptive, you are correct.  However, expecting ANY baby, normally quiet or not, to be happy quiet and content through an entire hour to hour and a half long class at the same time every single class period for the rest of the semester is expecting too much.  Do you honestly believe that a baby can be relied upon to stay quiet at exactly the time the parent needs the child to stay quiet for the entire time?  I know that my most content child tends to pick the time of day that I am cooking or taking a shower or whatever to decide she needs me NOW. 
 

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#122 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 08:20 AM
 
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Respectfully, I disagree with the notion that the OP (or any other woman in those shoes) deserves to be judged as "irresponsible."  We don't know the whole story.  I am a married woman who ended up pregnant during grad school due to birth control failure.  Am I "irresponsible" for not "planning ahead?"  Or was I supposed to just spend those 2.5 years in celibacy?

 

In our culture, a woman in these circumstances is damned if she does (i.e. stay in school and face an unsupportive environment), and damned if she doesn't (i.e. leaves school, can't find decent job, ends up stigmatized for going on assistance).  Women deserve access to the same rights and opportunities available to men regardless of their gestational status.  Feminism, at least for those of us who subscribe to it, is based largely on the notion that no society or social conditions should equate biology with destiny. 

 


No, women are not irresponsible if they get pregnant and have babies while in school.  What is irresponsible is to expect professors and administrators to bend over backwards and let you bring a baby into a classroom - its disruptive.  Yes, there are other things that are also disruptive, but bringing a child into a classroom is intentionally bringing a person in who will be distracting, and is against this professors rules - OP and her SEVEN (!!!!) pregnant classmates need to deal with that and find alternatives.

 

Just b/c a woman is required to find childcare to attend class and work does not mean that the environment is unsupportive.  I had a baby while I was in school, and the environment is very supportive - just not all that thrilled about babies being class b/c they are disruptive.  Especially in smaller classrooms where lots of class participation is required and expected.  As for feminism, she is NOT being discriminated against based on her gestational status - she is being told that the infant is not welcome in class.  Makes sense.  If she can't be away from her child for an hour or so (which she CAN be b/c she has alternative care options) then she should take the semester off.  If she can't do that, she needs to find alternative care for her child during class.  It's not difficult.

 

NOt.  all.  babies.  are. disruptive. 
 


Ya know we all heard you the first time. We just don't think that is the crux of the issue here. In the longer view baby's temperament really doesn't matter.
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#123 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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My DH is a professor at a college who's student body is 90-95% women with a large proportion of non-traditional students.  He, personally, has not seen or heard of anyone bringing a baby (newborn or otherwise) into the classroom. However, no student would ever fail a class just because they had a baby during the middle of the semester and were unable to return to the regular classroom that term.  He is expected to work with the student to come up with a plan to allow them to complete the semester.  Including but not limited to: receiving an incomplete and finishing the class at a later time; doing independent research and projects on the missed class material in lieu of attending class/tests; perhaps making audio recordings of lectures and getting digital copies of power point presentations (etc.); restructuring the class work and tests so they can be done from home.  Most likely it might be some combination of these. Yes, this requires extra work on his part, but it is considered part of his job. 
 

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My plan was to bring the baby with me and have help outside the classroom (my DH or mom) so that I could nurse but also be mindful of the disruption some people feel a baby is.

 

 

My DH also thought your plan was quite doable since if the baby was loud or fussy he could stay outside the classroom with your Mom or DH and you could just slip out to nurse when necessary.   He didn't think slipping out to attend to the baby was any more disruptive than people stepping out to go to the bathroom which happens all the time. 

 

DH suggests speaking  with the Dean to come up with a plan.  Also since so many in your class are going to be faced with the same issue, you might want to speak with them to find out how they are planning to deal with it and perhaps approach the Dean as a group and see what kind of accommodations can be made to allow all of you to complete the semester.

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#124 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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I went to community college when my ds was small. On the occasions that I had to bring him with me, I operated under the premise that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. So I would just show up with him in a ring sling or wrap, as inconspicuous as possible, and nurse him when he got fussy. I got some dirty looks and I think one professor asked me not to do it again, but I muddled through.

 

 

In a lot of situations this might work. For example, in a class with no syllabus policy this might be a decent plan -- you come with the baby in a sling the one time you absolutely have to, everyone sees the baby is quietly nursing or fast asleep, and then you're golden if it needs to happen again. However, in this specific situation, where there are several other mothers expecting mid-semester and where a new syllabus policy has been put into place in response, "asking forgiveness" is likely to be construded as a disrespectful, disruptive, willful, and deliberate violation of the stated rules. The OP needs to work this out PRIOR to showing up at class with a baby in tow.

 

OP -- Are you still watching this thread? What is your plan at this point? Have you been in contact with the other mothers? Emailed or contacted the professor?


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#125 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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My DH is a professor at a college who's student body is 90-95% women with a large proportion of non-traditional students.  He, personally, has not seen or heard of anyone bringing a baby (newborn or otherwise) into the classroom. However, no student would ever fail a class just because they had a baby during the middle of the semester and were unable to return to the regular classroom that term.  He is expected to work with the student to come up with a plan to allow them to complete the semester.  Including but not limited to: receiving an incomplete and finishing the class at a later time; doing independent research and projects on the missed class material in lieu of attending class/tests; perhaps making audio recordings of lectures and getting digital copies of power point presentations (etc.); restructuring the class work and tests so they can be done from home.  Most likely it might be some combination of these. Yes, this requires extra work on his part, but it is considered part of his job. 

 

I've been wondering about this. It is one thing not to allow children in class, it is another to not allow any accommodations for the birth/recovery.
 


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#126 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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My DH also thought your plan was quite doable since if the baby was loud or fussy he could stay outside the classroom with your Mom or DH and you could just slip out to nurse when necessary.   He didn't think slipping out to attend to the baby was any more disruptive than people stepping out to go to the bathroom which happens all the time. 

 

DH suggests speaking  with the Dean to come up with a plan.  Also since so many in your class are going to be faced with the same issue, you might want to speak with them to find out how they are planning to deal with it and perhaps approach the Dean as a group and see what kind of accommodations can be made to allow all of you to complete the semester.

 

What great advice! OP, you all should definitely start a group. We've had a group off & on in my grad program (hard to keep going when the number of parents/mothers fluctuates year-to-year... and we're a busy lot!) and it really helps not only with getting things done on campus (e.g. access to the employee pumping room) but also as a conduit of information among students (e.g. "financial aid told you what?! they told me something totally different..."). It's not too much to ask of the Dean to come up with a policy to accommodate parents in a reasonable way -- Maybe the school can even purchase an audio recorder for students to check out when their little ones are sick or they're in the early days of breastfeeding or in labor or etc. After years of lobbying, my school has finally started listening to us & realizing that parenthood is a reality for some of their students (albeit a small minority) & they can't approach it on a purely ad hoc basis.
 


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#127 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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NOt.  all.  babies.  are. disruptive. 
 



Ya know we all heard you the first time. We just don't think that is the crux of the issue here. In the longer view baby's temperament really doesn't matter.


Well, people keep satying babies are disruptive.  I say not all are.  So waht is the problem?  If a baby is quiet, what difference does it make?  REally?

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#128 of 144 Old 02-01-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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Well, people keep satying babies are disruptive.  I say not all are.  So waht is the problem?  If a baby is quiet, what difference does it make?  REally?


I think the difference it makes (theoretically, not saying I necessarily agree or disagree) is setting a precedent. Baby A never makes a peep & so is allowed in class. Baby B has severe colick so is not allowed in class. But what about Baby C, who occasionally coos & gurgles, or Baby D, who only cries for a second or two when wet or something, and Baby E, who is quite most days but hates when the class next door watches a movie? How do you determine what's acceptable, when it's not as clear-cut? How do you tell the mom of Baby C that her baby isn't allowed because she made a peep one day? And it's so subjective... what is 'quiet & non-disruptive" to the mom? How about to the professor? And what about to the other students??

 

I made arrangements with my job to be able to work from home full-time when my son was born. This was a HUGE deal to get them to agree, and I almost became unemployed because of it (a risk I was willing but terrified to take!) I definitely had a sense of 'entitlement' about it because in a perfect world, I do feel babies should be accommodated in most work/school environments, with appropriate supports. It wasn't so much about, "I am entitled to work full-time & care for my DS full-time simultaneously" but more, "this is what my DS & I need, so I need to find a way to make it happen" -- so maybe 'entitlement' isn't quite the right word, but anyway. The other idea I threw out to my bosses was bringing DS with me to work. They thought that was hilarious so obviously we didn't get too far with that discussion. DS was VERY high-needs so it wouldn't have worked out anyway. But the work-from-home thing has worked great, and I wish more companies/schools/etc. would be willing to try that out with certain employees. It's hard because there are some people who simply aren't good candidates for working/schooling at home for whatever reason -- poor work ethic, frequent client contact, laboratory work, etc. -- so then it starts to feel 'unfair' that some employees 'get' to work from home & others don't. It's a tricky situation & looking back, I can empathize much more with my employer than I could at the time. 

 

I also had to attend a couple of long meetings at work when DS was younger... DH took those days off from work & hung out nearby my workplace so DS could nurse as needed. It worked out fine, and I see no reason why this wouldn't work for the OP (though obviously I don't know all the details of her situation!) It was also good bonding time for DH & DS because I was otherwise reluctant to be away from him while he was so little. I don't know how heavy your course load or how long your classes are, OP, but if it's only an hour or two a few days a week, I don't see that being detrimental to your baby, especially if you can step out as necessary to nurse. It's awkward at first (imagine being in a small business meeting with your company's most important client, going over critical information, and having to discreetly sneak out to nurse!) and was hard on me to be away from DS at all, but it's doable and it's not as big a deal as I thought it would be. 

 

OK I could probably go on forever about this... I have very mixed feelings on the issue but I really feel for you, OP, and I hope you can figure out a good solution. Don't let this stress get in the way of enjoying your pregnancy & birth!! :) You will find a way to work things out, just keep an open mind & be creative if you need to!


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#129 of 144 Old 02-02-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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My DD is one of those dream babies who is normally quiet and content no matter what's going on so I took her with me to my college orientation. DP and DS weren't feeling well and the orientation was one of those BS presentations you have to go to because someone decided you're too stupid to read the college catalog. That was a hugely embarassing mistake to bring her! Everyone noticed her (how could you not? she's adorable!) and started cooing at her, waking her up right in the middle of naptime. She whined, fussed, blew out her diaper (I excused myself at that point) and took 30 minutes to settle down to quietly nursing. She only napped for another 30 minutes, blew out her diaper again (let's not forget, babies tend to need diaper changes upon waking!) then decided to blow raspberries at the man sitting in front of me...which had everyone "awwing" over her.

 

Just to correct myself, I said the orientation was BS, but the truth is I was too busy attending to DD to really pay much attention. It was good for me though to have that experience, because after that, I'll NEVER bring a baby to class with me.

 

Oh, and she absolutely refuses a bottle (I've literally tried everything) but does just fine while I attend a 3-hour lab course with a 30 minute drive each way.

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#130 of 144 Old 02-07-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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The OP hasn't had her baby yet so we don't know if the baby is quiet or not.  It is also not a loss to be away from your children for a few hours nor is getting an education a loss.  A loss is when someone dies and you can't have a relationship with them.  Working moms and student moms are still mothers and they have wonderful relationships with their children just like moms who stay at home.  Having a trusted person care for your child while you do what is necessary for your family, be it work or furthering your education so you can eventually have a job with a living wage, is not a loss. 

 Rock on sista!

 

(one mama who is privileged to BE working!)


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#131 of 144 Old 02-16-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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i didn't read all the responses.  as a former professor, i would have allowed this.  however, i'm now working in an academic environment that forbids 'children on campus.' 

what my tack for this might be is to speak to your ob/gyn/midwife if you have one and the pediatrician you have selected.  see if they can write a prescription for you to exclusively breastfeed your newborn.  take that to the disabilities office ( i know, i know.  it's NOT, but that's how you're going to get this done) and request accomodation.  if you work that right, they cannot refuse you.  also, you might want to discuss with the physicians how long you should be out of work/school and get a note to that effect.  They CANNOT legally refuse you medical necessities. 

good luck.

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#132 of 144 Old 03-14-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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I JUST found this today. Hope it gets to you in time.

http://www.llli.org/nb/nbnovdec99p220.html

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#133 of 144 Old 03-14-2011, 08:46 PM
 
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It's not just the potential for crying and gurgling noises.  Newborns pee.  Newborns have blowout diapers.  They spit up (sometimes in a projectile manner).  And sometimes all 3 at the same time.  All of these things can and do frequently happen without warning--no matter how non-distracting a baby's personality is.  What happens when one or more of the potential 8 babies in class spits up all over mom and her note taking materials and the open text book of the person who is sitting next to mom/baby?  Or what happens when baby has a huge blowout diaper and gets poop all over everything?

 

The reason people take college classes is to study high level academic material.  And that just doesn't allow for an environment that is conducive to newborns, who require a lot of their caregiver's attention.  I'm not just thinking about the other students.  I'm thinking that a mom would be trying to split her attention between the class material and her baby (even if baby is quiet and not disruptive--let's face it, when I was newly postpartum, even when ds was sound asleep all I could do was look at him... couldn't think about anything else).  And this means that both babe and class are going to be getting less attention than they deserve from the mom.

 

I agree with many pp's that it seems the best solution would be to have dad or grandma taking care of the baby in the lobby and then texting mom when baby needs to nurse.  Then mom slips out quietly in much the same way some one would do if they needed to go to the bathroom.  Let professor know ahead of time that this is your plan. 

 

If you say something like:  I understand your request not to have children in class.  I plan on nursing my baby when s/he's born, and I want to find a good plan that works for everyone.  I thought I would have DH keep baby in the lobby while I'm in class and then text me if she needs to nurse.  I can keep my phone on vibrate and leave quietly so that I don't disrupt the class.  What are your thoughts?

 

I think that if you let your professor know that you are trying to be considerate of their wishes, they will be more likely to work with you.

 

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Edited to add: It also drives the feminist in me bonkers that the other student in my program who is expecting a new baby one week before I'm due is at no risk of being unable to complete the semester, because he happens to be becoming a father and not a mother.  There are some gender/social/discrimination/unfairness issues here for sure.



 I don't get this.  The reason that you are at higher risk of being unable to complete the semester is that you will be passing a baby out of your body and then using your breasts to nourish the baby.  Your classmate will not have the same kind of need for physical healing that you will.  He also will not have the ability to feed his baby with his breasts the way you will.  These might be gender issues in that they are issues created by gender differences... and it might seem unfair that he doesn't have to juggle the same issues that you have to juggle surrounding the birth of a child... but neither of those mean that you're being discriminated against.  The fact is you're a woman.  You have a uterus and a vagina and breasts.  Physical healing and breastfeeding are part of giving birth.  That's life.  It's just part of the process and no organization in the world has any control over the fact that women physically need more time to deal with birth than men do.

 

Now, it sounds like you tried to schedule things so that you would be able to complete your coursework, but then university course scheduling changed unexpectedly.  In this case, they should be making some medical accomodations for you so that you can complete your coursework.  If they aren't, then I think that is an issue.  But I would only see it as gender discrimination if they made accomodations for someone who say had previously scheduled a major surgery and couldn't reschedule the surgery for whatever reason (and especially gender discrimination if that other person were a male) and at the same time refused to make accomodations for you.  But if they aren't making medical accomodations for anyone, then that isn't gender discrimination... it might be physical/disability discrimination, though.  And you could probably get them on that using ADA or FMLA or something similar.  But I just don't see it as gender discrimiation on the part of your university or any person who works there.

 

 

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#134 of 144 Old 03-15-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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 But I would only see it as gender discrimination if they made accomodations for someone who say had previously scheduled a major surgery and couldn't reschedule the surgery for whatever reason (and especially gender discrimination if that other person were a male) and at the same time refused to make accomodations for you.  But if they aren't making medical accomodations for anyone, then that isn't gender discrimination... it might be physical/disability discrimination, though.  And you could probably get them on that using ADA or FMLA or something similar.  But I just don't see it as gender discrimiation on the part of your university or any person who works there.

 

 


Even that is unlikely to get you anywhere, at least IME... I missed most of my first semester of college due to being in the hospital... I missed all my midterms so I 'failed' them... I tried to withdraw from the courses but they wouldn't let me because I had missed the withdrawal date (even though I had been in the hospital up to/including that date). I find colleges to be incredibly unaccommodating when it comes to things like this.

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#135 of 144 Old 03-15-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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It's not just the potential for crying and gurgling noises.  Newborns pee.  Newborns have blowout diapers.  They spit up (sometimes in a projectile manner).  And sometimes all 3 at the same time.  All of these things can and do frequently happen without warning--no matter how non-distracting a baby's personality is.  What happens when one or more of the potential 8 babies in class spits up all over mom and her note taking materials and the open text book of the person who is sitting next to mom/baby?  Or what happens when baby has a huge blowout diaper and gets poop all over everything?

 

The reason people take college classes is to study high level academic material.  And that just doesn't allow for an environment that is conducive to newborns, who require a lot of their caregiver's attention.  I'm not just thinking about the other students.  I'm thinking that a mom would be trying to split her attention between the class material and her baby (even if baby is quiet and not disruptive--let's face it, when I was newly postpartum, even when ds was sound asleep all I could do was look at him... couldn't think about anything else).  And this means that both babe and class are going to be getting less attention than they deserve from the mom.

 

I agree with many pp's that it seems the best solution would be to have dad or grandma taking care of the baby in the lobby and then texting mom when baby needs to nurse.  Then mom slips out quietly in much the same way some one would do if they needed to go to the bathroom.  Let professor know ahead of time that this is your plan. 

 

If you say something like:  I understand your request not to have children in class.  I plan on nursing my baby when s/he's born, and I want to find a good plan that works for everyone.  I thought I would have DH keep baby in the lobby while I'm in class and then text me if she needs to nurse.  I can keep my phone on vibrate and leave quietly so that I don't disrupt the class.  What are your thoughts?

 

I think that if you let your professor know that you are trying to be considerate of their wishes, they will be more likely to work with you.

 

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Edited to add: It also drives the feminist in me bonkers that the other student in my program who is expecting a new baby one week before I'm due is at no risk of being unable to complete the semester, because he happens to be becoming a father and not a mother.  There are some gender/social/discrimination/unfairness issues here for sure.

 


No, the reason it doesn't affect him the same way it does you is that he has childcare lined up.  If he was the ONLY childcare option that his family had, the policy would affect him just as much.  I really don't think there are any discrimination issues here.    Otherwise, I agree with everything else in this post.

 

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#136 of 144 Old 03-15-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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If the OP is going to have issues because of the new schedule, is it possible she be "grandfathered" in via the old schedule? 


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#138 of 144 Old 03-25-2011, 05:52 PM
 
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The OP hasn't had her baby yet so we don't know if the baby is quiet or not.  It is also not a loss to be away from your children for a few hours nor is getting an education a loss.  A loss is when someone dies and you can't have a relationship with them.  Working moms and student moms are still mothers and they have wonderful relationships with their children just like moms who stay at home.  Having a trusted person care for your child while you do what is necessary for your family, be it work or furthering your education so you can eventually have a job with a living wage, is not a loss.  It is sad to see that this thread is reverting to mommy wars.  The objections to kids in class has nothing to do with whether or not the people who don't want kids in class were able to bring their own and I am not sure where that idea would even come from.  I object to having kids in class and wish that all of my professors had banned them, and I did have the opportunity to bring my dd to class and could have done it more often than I did and I still don't think class is a place for kids (last resort situations are the only exception to that but this isn't a last resort).  If you don't feel that you and your child can survive being apart for a few hours then school is something that should wait until you are willing to give your education the serious attention you will need to make the best of it.


I guess we have different views of breastfeeding.  To me, it would be a loss to not be able to keep my baby close, especially in the early days. 

 

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#139 of 144 Old 03-25-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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Start a petition!

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#140 of 144 Old 03-26-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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I guess we have different views of breastfeeding.  To me, it would be a loss to not be able to keep my baby close, especially in the early days. 

 

 

Then don't go to school the semester that you are giving birth, and wait until you are ready to leave the baby with a sitter or in daycare.
 

 

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#141 of 144 Old 03-26-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Then don't go to school the semester that you are giving birth, and wait until you are ready to leave the baby with a sitter or in daycare.
 

 


THat's what I was privileged enough to do :)  It just stinks that people who don't have that privilege have o be away from their newborn :(

 

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#142 of 144 Old 03-26-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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Im with Swede on this one.

 

It is discrimimatory against women to disallow babies in certain settings because women have babies. having a baby is not irresponsible, and not wanting to be separated from one's newborn does not come from a sense of entitlement. 

 

However, a baby can be distracting. This we all know. So it is a matter of  balancing needs.

 

If a baby is distracting the class, then the mother can walk out. Why does this have to be such a big issue? Why is this making some posters so incensed?  Why not rephrase the law 'no children or pets allowed  if they are distracting.' Isnt it possible to have a sense of trust in the mother that she be considerate enough of others to remove her baby if the baby is causing a problem? And cant this consideration likewise be applied by others to a nursing mother? 

 

I have been in situations where babies are not normally welcome, and find that usually it is fine.  When the baby is too distracting (crying for eg) then the baby is taken out. Usually there is minimal distraction, even though there might be a little ruffling here and there.

 

This is definitely about a broader principle of accepting that reproduction is a normal part of life, and requiring separation from mother and baby us effectively excluding many mothers/women

 

OP, if i were you, i would want to feel it was ok to bring my baby. But like most mothers, i would be hyper sensitive to those around me, and want to take baby out if baby was distracting.

 

Whats the big deal?

 

(oh, patriarchy, thats right)

 

 

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#143 of 144 Old 03-26-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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However, a baby can be distracting. This we all know. So it is a matter of  balancing needs.

 

If a baby is distracting the class, then the mother can walk out. Why does this have to be such a big issue? Why is this making some posters so incensed?  Why not rephrase the law 'no children or pets allowed  if they are distracting.' Isnt it possible to have a sense of trust in the mother that she be considerate enough of others to remove her baby if the baby is causing a problem? And cant this consideration likewise be applied by others to a nursing mother?

 

FIrst off, this is a REALLY old thread that needs to go to thread heaven.

 

Second, the OP stated that SEVEN women in her class are having babies this semester.  ONE baby might not be distracting.  SEVEN would be distracting.  Especially in a small seminar class that the OP talked about.  Seriously, I would be LIVID if I was in a seminar class in a higher educational setting and there were SEVEN babies in it - thats when it starts to look more like a new mom/baby playgroup than a college class.
 

 

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#144 of 144 Old 03-27-2011, 08:24 PM
 
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Why not rephrase the law 'no children or pets allowed  if they are distracting.' Isnt it possible to have a sense of trust in the mother that she be considerate enough of others to remove her baby if the baby is causing a problem? And cant this consideration likewise be applied by others to a nursing mother? 

No, people cannot be trusted to make this decision. Haven't you ever been in a religious service or at a wedding and someone is letting a baby SCREAM? I've actually been in services when the minister has had to stop and request that someone leave the worship area because he can't be heard over a baby crying. Unfortunately, some people aren't thoughtful and considerate, which is why the blanket policy is in place.
 

 


It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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