I'm an M4 due to have my first baby mid-December. My first "rotation" back starts 6 weeks after my due date; it's a series of lectures the whole graduating class has to take. It's a few hours a day, just 3-4 days per week in a giant lecture hall. I think most days I'll be able to find somebody to watch the baby, between my husband, mom, mother-in-law. I really don't want to put the baby in daycare at that age if I can avoid it, and plus, the daycare we'll be using is all or nothing--we'd have to pay for full-time care.
So that's the situation. My question is, do you think it's unreasonable, with the lecturer's permission, to bring the baby to class on occasion? This would be my back-up plan for those days no one else is available, because my school has made it very clear that these lectures are mandatory attendance (i.e. DON'T SCHEDULE INTERVIEWS THIS MONTH BECAUSE WE WON'T LET YOU GO). The baby will be approximately 6-10 weeks old. I plan to breastfeed and wouldn't mind doing so in the back of the lecture hall under a cover. It doesn't strike me as an unreasonable accommodation to make for a new mom, but I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this.
I would totally absolutely do this. Heck, I would make it my primary plan, as long as it worked for me - pumping is a total drag, and often it's way easier when a baby is easier just to have him/her with you!
With my first, I was (looking back..) shockingly anxious about nursing in public in any way. I got over that. By my second, when I was a resident, I would bring my baby in a front carrier with a nursing shawl (a peanut shawl in particular - they work great for this) to all sorts of seminars and classes. I loved it. I got no complaints. Others started going it as well.
I think one thing that really helped me was a single lecture when I was a MS2 when one of our primary neurology lecturers had a ~4-6 week old infant, and just gave her lectures with her baby in a sling each time, without a word about it. She was a pretty straight laced, got-it-together and highly professional person in general. Noone seemed bothered. It made an impression on me. And I have been very grateful for the example - and have felt hopeful that my own actions have been able to provide a similar example for others.
Thanks for your reply, AmmaMD. Now that the time has come to go back to school it's pretty funny to read my original post along with your reply and see how much more I identify with the latter. Pumping is a total drag, and despite being so lucky as to have both grandmas available to watch the baby, I find that I would prefer to take her to class with me. The current plan is to take her the first day and see how it goes with her in a front carrier (we love the Moby). That seems a lot better than taking a 25 minute pumping break in the middle of class. If she's too fussy or it's otherwise not working out I'll have someone on stand by (at least the first couple of days) to come pick her up.
I've never had an in-person example like the one you describe, so thank you for sharing that story. I've gotten pretty comfortable nursing in public and no longer use a cover, unless you count an infinity scarf, so I hope I'm doing my part to normalize nursing in public so other moms feel comfortable doing so.
Well, I took the baby to class today and it literally could not have gone better. She mostly slept in the carrier, and I managed to get her on the boob before she had a chance to get upset upon waking from naps. I sat in the back corner of the room, and I don't think anyone other than the person sitting next to me and possibly the lecturer was aware of me nursing. I even had classmates approach me at lunch surprised to see the baby, saying they didn't realize there was a baby in class all morning.
So here I am celebrating my victory when I get an email from the administration saying it's against university policy to have children in class. I had emailed the lecturer ahead of time and received their permission but the course coordinator stopped by lecture and apparently ratted me out to the administration. I can see why they have the policy on the books, but it seems to me like a rule that can be selectively enforced as problems arise. If she'd been disruptive or another student had complained, I'd have no problem leaving her at home with grandma, but it's kind of sad to have to do that just because "policy".
For anybody reading this who is facing a similar situation, I would still recommend giving it a try if you want to bring your newborn to class. Obviously you want a back-up plan in case you get shut down as I did. Good luck, and I hope your medical school is more new-mom friendly than mine.
I do not think it is professional to bring any child to class and to be honest would assume it is hard for the student mother to concentrate and participate in class with a child. I have children myself but not grown adults and I think that there is a time and a place for children and the lecture hall is just not one of them.