Guest Post by Chloe Bennet
I have written often about the pitfalls that working and pumping moms face but there are also moms who are breastfeeding and in school.
Breastfeeding students experience obstacle after obstacle when it comes to finding the time and place to pump.
This guest post touches on this topic and what some universities are doing to change the culture of their campuses.
Breastfeeding and in School – How Breastfeeding Students Can Make it Work
Breastfeeding amongst students is often an ignored issue.
Socioculturally motherhood and its connected consequences are too often associated with a traditional family structure that envisions the mother staying at home with a baby for extended periods of time.
In today’s changing world, however, that is no longer the case. In increasing numbers, mothers of breastfeeding aged children go out to work or to school.
What the Law Says About Breastfeeding Students
While there are more and more protections under the law for working breastfeeding mothers, campuses are slower to meet the needs of their mothers who are breastfeeding and in school.
This is partially due to legal provisions for mothers returning to work and their awareness of these rights. The key to helping students who are breastfeeding is to change the dominant culture on campuses.
This is important even if the state were to enact laws that obligated campuses to create safe spaces and times for lactation.
While being upfront and honest with your teachers is the best, it can be an uncomfortable conversation to have especially if the professor is male and childless.
Conversations are unavoidable so it is important to prepare for them.
While there are no legal provisions for students like there are for working mothers, women education institutions have been encouraged to accommodate lactating students.
This document recommends that institutions provide for lactation as they would for temporary illnesses.
Concerns Facing Breastfeeding Students
One of the major concerns breastfeeding students will have is scheduling pumping sessions around their classes and study times while keeping up with their course work.
To help with this, students might try choosing a location that is central to where they need to be for their next class to cut down on time.
If a student can pump next door or even in the same building where she is studying she is less likely to feel she needs to choose between pumping and her coursework or lectures.
Often times, not knowing there are designated areas for pumping or where these areas are impede nursing mothers from taking advantage of the provision made for them. Contacting your university student center will be a good step in learning about what your campus might offer.
Changing the Culture on Campus
A culture on campus that recognizes it as normal for women to have children and breastfeed is the best way to guarantee the provision and support breastfeeding mothers need to meet their goals.
This would help reduce the number of times a student needs to have an uncomfortable conversation with professors about arriving late to class or leaving slightly early to pump.
While this could be avoided by pumping in between classes sometimes the breaks are not long enough.
In a campus where breastfeeding is seen as normal and there are centrally located lactation rooms, pumping related conversations would hopefully become less frequent.
A culture that sees breastfeeding as normal, makes pumping mothers feel understood and accepted.
It is a culture that acknowledges this is a reality for many while giving them the private space to pump.
“It also means that the support given helps women continue with their studies while feeding their babies. These student mothers no longer feel the need to choose between having babies and continuing with their studies,” says Amanda Smith, an educator at Academized and Paper Fellows.
The campus of Southern Connecticut State University is one university that is making a concerted effort to facilitate breastfeeding on campus.
Aside from providing a dedicated and centrally located lactation room, it has promoted the work of volunteer breastfeeding advocates. These are volunteers that help mothers out with whatever they may need to maintain a balance between their academic and breastfeeding goals.
The university was granted breastfeeding-friendly designation by the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition.
“This has meant that both students and staff that are breastfeeding have access to a lactation room in the main library, which is within easy reach of many lecture halls. This has meant a reduction in absenteeism and in health-care costs. This is because breastfeeding reduces the risk of disease in small children and of mental health issues in mothers,” explains Diane Brown, a journalist at State Of Writing and BigAssignments.
It also increases a mother’s productivity levels as she no longer has to worry about how she will breastfeed.
Removing concern about being able to pump while going to lectures or using the library, means mothers can focus on their coursework.
About the Author
Chloe Bennet is a mom and work-from-home blogger at English essays help and Buy essay UK. She writes about motherhood, daily challenges, and happy activities. Also, Chloe manages the proofreading process at Essay Roo academic portal.