John Banks IV
As of the 2017 school year CCBC has made accommodations in the hope of aiding mothers with a place to express (“pump”) or breastfeed on campus.
In America, breastfeeding in a public setting is often looked down upon. However, it is natural for women to breastfeed. Many experts say it creates a special bond between mother and child as well as helping to strengthen the bonds of a family.
The Suburbanstats.org states roughly “5,773,552 citizens live in the state of Maryland this year.” Narrowing this number further down to roughly 622,454 that reside in Baltimore County. In the figure listed on average there are (between the ages of 15-50) 60,000 women who are mothers of a newborn.
Entering this new chapter in any mother’s life can be exhilarating and frightening at the same time. It also is a very strenuous time when said mother is also a student trying to complete a degree.
An important question many ask is what does a mother do when it comes time to breast feed or “pump” for her child? This one question raises much speculation and the student is left wondering: Does she drop out of school to take care of her child? Where does she go to express milk for her child? Where can she go without being judged for what is a natural part of life?
CCBC Alumni Em Hendrix tell us her struggle to breastfeed while also taking classes. Thanks to the dedication of one of her teachers who allowed her to use a private space, Mrs. Hendrix was able to finish her semester and graduate with an AA degree while also properly caring for her child.
“It was my last semester for that degree and I did briefly consider taking that semester off, Hendrix said. “I probably would have just taken 'I' grades (incomplete) for that semester, which would have been a shame because I was graduating. However, I was pretty determined to breastfeed her (referring to her child) so if that's what it came down to, I would have done it. It was my first time nursing so it took a little while to get it down so it would go smoothly and having those offices to go to if I needed to nurse and having her with me really helped.”
The Community College of Baltimore County now has Lactating Rooms on each of the main campuses in order to accommodate these mothers’ needs.
According to an email forwarded to The Assistant Director of Student Life on the Dundalk Campus from Campus Director Tanya Jones, the current locations of the Lactation Rooms are:
1. Catonsville: Mathematics and Science Hall, room 231 Contact people: Knikky Balson Dreyer 443-840-4212 or (Joan Swiston, Campus Director 413-840-4101)
2. Dundalk: College Community Center, room 255 Contact people: Elaine Donoghue 443-840-3620, (Crissy Fabiszak, Asst. Director, Student Life 443-840-3660 or Tanya Jones, Campus Director 443-840-3740)
3. Essex: Arts and Humanities, room 120 Contact people: Pattie Crossman 443-840-1942, (Jaime Alvarez, Campus Director 443-840-1013)
According to the email, “Students, faculty and staff can access these rooms by contacting the appropriate contact person on campus. If someone needs to use the rooms after 4:30 pm, please contact public safety at 443-840-1111. These rooms can be accessed anytime the college is open.”
However, when looking into this matter many students still seem unaware of these new options. This could lead to some students feeling there is a lack of accessibility for their education when having to leave class to take care of their children.
“So many of CCBC students are nontraditional and they work and go to school, Hendrix added. “It would be a shame if they gave up breastfeeding because they didn't feel comfortable or supported.”
A recent survey done among 50 students demonstrated they knew little about any programs or aid for new mothers. Many faculty and staff are also unaware of these new resources. As time progresses various members of the college have assured that these new accommodations will be publicized more for the students who may wish to use them.
One of the core Values of CCBC is commitment. According to the website, “We prepare our students to succeed and make progress toward the completion of their educational goals through degree or certificate attainment, transfer, workplace certification, career enhancement, or personal enrichment.” These new accommodations seem to help the college in living by these words for all students.
CCBC will continue to improve its resources for breastfeeding on campus by supplying more education and resources for new, current, and transfer students who strive to balance the complex world of being a mother as well as a student.
*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.