This morning I read about a young woman, a teen mother, who is trying to breastfeed her baby but her high school is making things exceedingly difficult for her to do so.
“The nurse, a counselor and a school administrator recommended Jaielyn only breastfeed her son before and after school hours. This recommendation would not be changed regardless of whether or not a doctor’s note is able to be obtained. This would mean Jaielyn could not pump for or nurse her baby for over eight hours every weekday.”
This makes me sad. Here is a young mother who is making her first decision as a parent, to breastfeed her child, and is also trying to finish school- which can only help her better provide for her child and I just don’t understand why her school is unwilling to support her!
I was a teen mom. My school had a nursery daycare so I brought my baby to school with me, and I was able to go down to the nursery and feed her during my breaks and at lunch time. It wasn’t disruptive to other students, and I graduated- which I may not have done if I hadn’t had the support of my school. I’m pretty sure I would not have made it to a year of nursing Hannah if I wasn’t able to feed her or pump for a huge chunk of the day. The school should be, at the very least, supporting Jaielyn’s decision to breastfeed by providing her with a space to pump.
I realize that my school was not the norm- and that many schools do not have the funding, space, or need for a daycare. The school I went to was in the same town as a busy teen mom shelter, I guess they made accommodations for the girls from the shelter. I’m beyond grateful that this was set up. The school also gave me a home tutor when SPD made it too painful to walk in my last two months, and they gave me another six weeks with the tutor after the baby was born. I was an emancipated minor living in a shelter at the time and life was rough for me and for Hannah.
I’ve seen a few people say that things shouldn’t be made easy for teen moms, because it just makes more girls want to have babies. That’s rubbish- Its going to happen- regardless of whether they help these young moms or not. But at least when the moms are supported they are more likely to finish school and perhaps even go on to college. Being a teen mom is tough- even when you have lots of help. My friends, those who stayed in touch after I moved to the shelter, were not envious of my life. They saw me struggle through caring for an infant alone, juggling feeds and homework and trying to find a job, fights with other girls in the shelter, the abandonment of my baby’s father and even several awful rounds with mastitis because I had no idea what I was doing. It was certainly not fun or easy.
I hope that Jaielyn’s school finds a way to accommodate her pumping schedule. A little support and understanding will go a long way to make life so much better for mother and baby.
UPDATE: Info courtesy of Jupiter
If anyone would like to advocate for this teen mom, here is contact info for the school
Assistant Principal John Berry: firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal John Filicicchia: email@example.com
Nurse Denise Blades: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lake Forest High School