It’s a battle she never should have had to fight, but Leah Sauvage wasn’t about to back down when it came to doing what’s best for her baby. When the college where the mom of two attended told her she should attend online classes instead of missing a few minutes of class time to pump her breast milk, she wasn’t about to budge.
She told Chicago Tribune that she requested to extend the 10-minute break given during the four-hour class by 10 to 15 minutes so that she could pump. She even offered to bring her baby monitor so she could listen from whatever private location in which she was pumping. The department chair told her that “current situation” was going to be too much of an infringement on her learning time, so she should take the class online instead.
For one thing, Sauvage, who is working on her master’s degree in education at Concordia University Chicago, said the school where she teaches won’t accept online classes. For another, what the hell?
After several days of phone calls and emails, the school did make adjustments so that Sauvage can take longer breaks and pump in private, which is great. It’s unfortunate, however, that she had to fight this battle at all.
With all of the proven benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby, you would think society would bend over backward to support the process. Instead moms are repeatedly met with challenges. From those banned or shamed from breastfeeding in restaurants, on airlines and even at the doctor’s office to those who face hurdles in the workplace, it’s outrageous that women are treated this way when they’re just trying to feed their children. There are breastfeeding laws at the state and federal levels, but they don’t cover every situation.
In some ways we’ve made progress, such as Target’s recently announced policy that supports breastfeeding in any area of its stores. In far too many other ways, however, we still have a long way to go.