US college professor apologises after telling student to 'wait until after' online class to breastfeed infant daughter

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its seventh month in the US, workers and students have had to incorporate online classes and meetings into their home lives. 

But one California college student says she was "shocked and upset" after her professor instructed her not to breastfeed her infant daughter during class, before doubling down with a class-wide email calling breastfeeding "inappropriate". 

Fresno City College student Marcella Mares told CNN her professor sent an email to the whole class last month requesting all students have their cameras and microphones on during online classes. 

Mares says she replied to her professor explaining while she was happy to have both her mic and camera engaged, she may need to briefly turn them off during class while breastfeeding her daughter. 

But her instructor's response was unexpected, telling Mares she shouldn't be breastfeeding her 10-month-old "during class time". 

"I am glad to hear that you can have your camera and microphone on, but please do not breastfeed your daughter... because it is not what you should be doing," the instructor replied. "Just do that after class."

Mares said she was "upset" at his response.

"I didn't like the feeling of him telling me what I can and can't do with my baby, especially in my own home because school is online right now."

To make things worse, the professor then reportedly sent a class-wide note that he received a "weird" email from a student who wanted to do some "inappropriate" things during class.

"He publicly outed me in front of the class," said Mares. 

Mares complained to the school's student coordinator and several days later the professor issued an apology to Mares, telling her she had the "right to breastfeed your baby at any given time during class". 

"You may turn off your camera at any given time as needed," he added. 

A college spokesperson confirmed to CNN the complaint had happened and had been subsequently dealt with. 

Breastfeeding in public has strangely long been a contentious issue for many. Last year Wellington City Council announced a ban on breastfeeding in its community pools, before renouncing the decision two weeks later due to widespread outrage. 

Earlier this year the owners of an indoor playground in Auckland were forced to apologise after asking a breastfeeding mother to move into the changing rooms.