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Universities and breastfeeding...

(9 Posts)
DebbieTitsMcGee Sat 29-Sep-12 02:10:03

I posted in Chat about taking my baby to an OU tutorial. It's five hours long, it's in a fortnight, I was only told about it today and it's a long way away, so I've emailed the tutor to say I'd need to bring DS if that's ok. On the OU forum I've been told that I might not be allowed to take DS on the premises for insurance reasons though...really? I thought universities would be pretty right on about breastfeeding, so I wondered if anybody on here knew about it.

Please does anyone know how this (from the Maternity Action leaflet referencing the 2010 Equalities Act) applies in practice to HE institutions?

"Further and higher education bodies must not discriminate, harass or victimise a student who is breastfeeding in terms of admission or provision of education or by excluding the student or subjecting her to any detriment. This includes access to benefits, facilities or services."

DS will be 4m old and is a bottle refuser, never mind that I am rubbish at expressing and it would take me a couple of days to express enough for one feed, never mind a whole day's worth. He is also a big hungry type and I can't see him taking much formula from a cup (I don't really want to give him formula anyway).

When I registered for the module I didn't expect to be allocated to another city (or to have a total bottle refuser!), and the tutorials on my last module were once a month and only 2 hours long which I could have managed.

If I don't go on this one I won't get to meet my tutor until March. I know that it's not compulsory but in my experience of OU it is much better to meet your tutor and go to their tutorials because they mark all your TMAs.

So yeah, anyway, I'm not trying to be awkward or precious or anything but I sort of assumed that universities would be used to students needing to breastfeed.

The tutorial is in another university's premises in case anyone is confused about that!

I'm not sure what I'm asking really! I think I need to go to bed. Any thoughts would be appreciated smile

DebbieTitsMcGee Sat 29-Sep-12 02:11:36

ps I'm obviously not being harrassed or victimised but I did wonder if I can persuade them to let me take him on the grounds of discrimination. And like I said on the other thread he is a really chilled out baby, you can honestly forget he's there sometimes, and I'll take him out if he distracts anyone.

missingmymarbles Sat 29-Sep-12 05:15:32

I'd be really surprised if the insurance thing stood. I honestly can't see how they can get uppity about it, tbh. Not much help really but wanted to offer support to pursue it.

Pootle78 Sat 29-Sep-12 05:51:31

Sorry cant help withvthe feeding side, however, Can you transfer to a tutorial closer to home? When I did my ou class 2 years ago I was allocated a place over an hour away, went on to my ou login and searched for tutorials closer to home and got one just over 30 mins away. I never met my tutor who marked my coursework but my tutorial tutor was fantastic, I think I just needed to email her to ask if I could join her group.

BloooCowWonders Sat 29-Sep-12 05:56:58

At four months, your baby isn't yet mobile I presume so I can't see any problems. You feed the baby, put them back in a carseat or buggy and repeat! Is it really that the tutor wants to refuse to have the baby around but is trying to find an excuse? ('Health and safety' or 'insurance' are easy, almost anonymous terms)

DebbieTitsMcGee Sat 29-Sep-12 08:19:10

I only emailed my tutor at about midnight so will give him a chance to reply smile he might say it's fine, but if not I will apply to a closer to home one and ask to be reallocated - I know it "doesn't matter" whose tutorials you attend but I want to get the highest marks I can and going to tutorials of the person who marks your TMAs never hurts.

Someone on the OU student forum said it might not be allowed because of insurance, not the OU itself - don't sue me!

Longtalljosie Sat 29-Sep-12 08:21:39

This is exactly what the Equality Act is intended for - and that bit you quote couldn't be clearer. Take a copy of it with you and away you go.

golemmings Sat 29-Sep-12 08:40:31

I did a 5 hour walk leader course when DS was 4mo. The course leader was a bit unsure about having him there but was persuaded. It was fine. I took the car seat and the baby gym and he played, fed, slept and occasionally gurgled. The other course participants either ignored him totally or were desperate for cuddles and smiles in the breaks.
If you have a relatively chilled baby I'm sure he will be fine. If he's very high maintenance and likely to scream through your tutorial is there anyone who can come across with you and walk him around whilst you have your tutorial and bring him to you if he needs a feed?

DebbieTitsMcGee Sat 29-Sep-12 09:10:42

It's a big thumbs up to the OU - tutor has replied saying baby is very welcome! The lady on the forum had experience of "children" not being allowed, which i can understand and is different to babes in arms I think, I certainly wouldn't take my two year old! I think people who haven't spent time round young babies don't realise how quiet they can be, I didn't till I had mine.

Baby is a little cherub usually, so I hope he doesn't pick that day to explore his grumpy side. If he does we will just go home early.

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