Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Readers back uni on baby in class

Herald readers have overwhelmingly backed the University of Auckland's discouraging a mother from feeding her baby in class because it would be too distracting for other students.

But mum Holly Blair said they would never know whether her 6-month-old son Jude would distract others if she wasn't allowed to try.

The 30-year-old student wanted to take her young son to classes at the School of Business so she could still breastfeed him while completing her master of professional accounting. She first approached the university when she was pregnant and couldn't find him a place at any of the city campus' three childcare centres.

Her proposal was rejected on the grounds that having him in classes on a long-term basis could affect other students and their grades in a postgraduate environment.

Herald readers have sided with the university, saying it was selfish to take a baby to class.

Reader Jenny Gainsford said it was hard enough to stay focused in class without having a baby there.

"Using the breastfeeding as leverage is unfair and unreasonable."

Kylie Jones posted on the Herald's Facebook page that "using the breastfeeding card is just a cop-out".

Many readers suggested practical alternatives for Mrs Blair, such as using a breast pump.

Mrs Blair said a place becoming available for Jude at a university childcare centre since speaking to the Herald was a "good enough outcome", but feared the policy was still a grey area.

- NZ Herald

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