Women at work should be able to breastfeed and succeed

Addrienne Pine – The Conversation – WNN – World News portal – Monday January 27, 2014 (originally published Jan 20)

Mother working on EU parliament with baby
An Italian Member of the European Parliament Licia Ronzulli, left, takes part in a vote as she cradles her baby at the European Parliament in Strasbourg eastern France Wednesday Sept. 22, 2010. She like mothers around the world today juggle the needs of feeding and caring for their babies and fulfilling their public work commitments at the same time. Image: Christian Lutz/AP

Days after Pope Francis told mothers to “not think twice” about breastfeeding at church and in public, Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer, called for women to be allowed to breastfeed at work, including during office meetings.


Some high-profile mothers like Davies and Licia Ronzulli, an Italian member of the European Parliament (pictured above), who has breastfed her daughter Vittoria during voting sessions, have already put these ideas into action.


Pronouncements and actions like those of Pope Francis, Davies and Ronzulli reflect and bolster a welcome societal shift in attitudes toward breastfeeding. But I know first hand how much trouble the idea can cause in practice.

I work as an anthropology professor in the US, and in August 2012 a childcare emergency led me to bring my 11-month old daughter to the first day of my Sex, Gender and Culture undergraduate course. While lecturing I breastfed her – not to make a point, but because she was hungry. . .

. . . read complete story . . .