Let people feed their babies in public

Senator Tammy Duckworth and her daughter greet press.  COURTESY OF  FLICKR.COM    

Senator Tammy Duckworth and her daughter greet press. COURTESY OF FLICKR.COM


Kylee Watnick


For some reason, people today think of breastfeeding in public as some ungodly, sultry act that should be hidden from the watching eye. Even in places where breastfeeding rooms are completely absent, people shame feeding parents into whatever room is closest so they don’t have to watch what is one of the most natural occurrences in the world. Amongst all of the other stresses of having a newborn, do parents really deserve to have protests from strangers for simply keeping their baby’s needs met? 

Senator Tammy Duckworth has been making waves, as she has spearheaded two new rule changes to the Senate floor. For the first time, children are going to be allowed into the senate chambers, and parents can now breastfeed during votes. Inside Edition quoted Duckworth in saying that the Senate is being brought into a new age, where it recognizes that “new parents also have responsibilities at work.” Since voting on the Senate floor must be done in person, the new rule changes were necessary to allow parents to continue serving after having children. This was especially important for Duckworth, who just had her daughter on April 9, 2018. 

As for the rest of the country, I think we should be following in suit. It is time to forget the qualms of the past, when breasts were labelled “sexual organs” and kept hidden. Breasts should be seen as what they are: the organ that produces food for newborn children. This obsession with breasts has gone too far. People feel the need to complain about a crying baby, yet refuse to let parents do as they must to feed them due to the fetishization of breasts. Honestly, people, give it a rest.

Currently, there are few Whittier College policies that truly accommodate breastfeeding on campus. As far as employees on campus, the Whittier College Employee Handbook has a section called “Lactation Accommodations” which details that an employee is given two ten-minute breaks and their own lunch break to “express milk during [the] workday when separated from [their] newborn child.” Any extra breaks that are needed will “be provided as unpaid.” However, the handbook does not at all give allowance to parents to bring their children to work or to breastfeed them at work, as has been provided to the United States’ Senators. Why not? It seems to me that a self-described “family-friendly” college should allow for newborns to stay with their working parents and receive nourishment as necessary 

Furthermore, there is nothing in the Student Code of Conduct, the Student Employee Handbook, or  the Health Center webpage that addresses pregnancy, expectant parents, newborn children, breastfeeding, or lactation on campus or within the Residence Halls. There are, however, references to condoms, Plan B pills, and pregnancy tests on the Health Center webpage, so prevention is fully covered. How come pregnancy isn’t? 

While it might not be a common occurrence, students can become pregnant. If and when they do, The college should be ready to accommodate those students (if they do decide to keep the pregnancy). At least, the policies regarding such instances should be thorough and available.