Pumping in Highschool

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ftmom's picture
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Pumping in Highschool

FELTON, DE -- Jaielyn Belong is a sophomore at Lake Forest High School in Felton, Delaware. ?She is a good student,? said her mother Betty Belong. ?She's a book worm and has occasionally gotten in trouble for reading during class.?

Five weeks ago, she welcomed baby Adrian Amir Belong into her arms at over eight pounds. Baby Adrian now weighs a whopping 10 pounds thanks to his mom who is exclusively breastfeeding him with the hopes of breastfeeding him for at least one year as is the current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Jaielyn, now a teen mom, will soon be returning to school to continue her high school career with the support of her own mother, family and a host of local moms. There?s only one catch:

"I feel the school is discriminating against my decision to breastfeed my son," she said. A sentiment which is seconded by Betty who feels the school is bullying Jaielyn.

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 recommendation goes against Delaware law which reads:

31 Del. C. ? 310

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a mother shall be entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation, wherein the mother is otherwise permitted.

Some view going to school as the job of a teenager, which would mean the Reasonable Break Time For Nursing Mothers in the Fair Labor Standards Act would also be important to this case, see the bottom for the full text. It states:

Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 19384 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

??An employer shall provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child?s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."

Even so, ?The school nurse called me on Thursday and told me they will not be able to accommodate my daughters need to pump or store milk during school hours,? said Betty. ?They said the electric pump is noisy and will draw attention to my daughter. Pumping milk is time consuming. They're not even sure she'll be pumping milk when she says so.?

According to Betty, the nurse added that her refrigerator was for medicinal only and that she believes Jaielyn would need to be supervised. ?Her peers may tease her,? the nurse told Betty.

Local La Leche League (LLL) leader, Heather Felker said, "It seems illogical that a place cannot be found for this teen to pump. If a teacher requested an area to pump, by law one would need to be provided. The teens mother also mentioned that there is a Bayhealth clinic on site."

Felker, who has alerted the LLL organization as well as the Delaware Breastfeeding Coalition of the situation, said Jaielyn "has shown great maturity by taking responsibility for her pregnancy and now her son. She chose breastmilk as the healthiest possible start for her son, and as a cost saving measure for her family. By not supporting these choices, the school is sending a negative message."

This negative message goes against the Lake Forest High School Student Code of Conduct which reads: "All Lake Forest students shall behave in a manner that promotes a school environment that is nurturing, orderly, safe and conducive to learning and personal/social development."

?I only want what's the very best for him and it is scientifically proven, breast milk is the best choice," Jaielyn said.

Her mom added, ?My daughter?s body made this milk for him and she wants him to have what's all natural and made just for him. My daughter just wants to be able to do her academic studies and care for her son's nutritional needs.

"When our children go through life and make positive choices we have to follow through and do what we can to help,? Betty said in support of her daughter?s breastfeeding decision. ?I'm so proud of the choices she's made and I have to help in any way I can. I thought I was fighting a losing battle, but knew I wasn't giving up without one."

Delaware teen mom denied breastfeeding accommodations - Momma Trauma

Should the school be required to make accommodations for this mother to pump or breastfeed?

Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
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They absolutely should. The response from this school system is crap. What a mature decision from a young teen mom.

Too loud? No room for breastmilk? Other teens may make fun of her (their weird issues NOT hers.)? They should be ashamed of themselves.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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This seems like common sense to me. She surely should be able to pump.

ClairesMommy's picture
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This is gross. It's appalling to me. Seems like this nurse is trying to find any possible excuse to force her own views on this young girl, who despite having a baby as a teen has the maturity and knowledge to do the very best for her son. A teacher would be given the opportunity to pump and store her breastmilk, but not a student. What a bunch of hypocritical bull $hit.

wlillie's picture
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Why can't she use the nurses office and pump during lunch? It's a terrible decision on the schools part. There has to be a break room for the teacher's food and she could store the milk there. Ridiculous.

Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
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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.

Ignore a doctor's note? Really? Way to get the district sued.

Breaks in the schoolday? How about the students who have to take meds daily at a certain time and wait in the health office briefly? Students who tease the girl? How the heck can a school say they would side with bullies on this? Perhaps students will tease anyone who has a medical condition. Is that a reason to keep a kid with cancer out of school because all of his/her hair fell out? Or Tourettes?

GloriaInTX's picture
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Ya I don't think it would be that hard to make reasonable accomodations. Seriously its not like a bunch of girls are going to fake breastfeeding to get out of class.

ftmom's picture
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Well, not much of a debate I guess Smile Glad to see. I agree with everyone else, was just wondering if there was a good argument for the other side that I wasnt seeing.....guess not.

mom3girls's picture
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Really tried hard to come up with an argument from the other side, cant do it.

Spacers's picture
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I would probably be LOLing at this if it weren't so sad that these people are serious. It really seems like they want to punish this girl for being a mother. The only argument I think they might have is that any place private enough for pumping, the kind of place where an employee could reasonably go to pump (empty classroom, private office, storage room, etc.) is probably off-limits to students. That just requires thinking outside the box. Maybe curtain off a corner of the girls' locker room? Book her into the counseling office or music practice room for 15 minutes twice a day.

And who cares if the refrigerator is only for medicines or staff lunches or whatever, you don't need one for pumping anyway. You get an insulated cooler & a couple of cold packs and you're set. And breastmilk stays good at room temperature for an incredibly long time, maybe 12 hours? I can't remember. I've pumped while out on field trips for 10-hour days.

ange84's picture
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I could try to come up with a good debate for the other side but frankly I couldn't get my head far enough up my own butt to do that. If my tiny workplace of like 15 people can make accommodations for me to pump a high school can. My boss even made more accommodation for me after the roof fell in in the area designated for me. And if there is no fridge, a cooler pack with an ice brick works well, I used to pump in the car on trips out of town and store my milk like that, I could be gone for 5 or 6 hours at a time and ther milk was still good.