Parents

College professor encourages student — a new mom — to bring baby to class

When Sarah Thompson first met her math professor Josie Ryan, she was just one day away from her due date.

Ryan took a look at Thompson's belly and told her to bring the baby to class anytime.

Five days later on Friday, August 26, she gave birth to her son Isaiah, who became the youngest student in class the following Monday at just 3 days old.

"I thought if I could make her life easier with breastfeeding and everything, why not do it?" Ryan told TODAY.

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While Thompson usually attends the University of South Carolina, she and her boyfriend Christopher Maggiacomo, both 26, moved a little over an hour away to be close to both of their parents in Greenwood, South Carolina.

In an effort to graduate as soon as possible, the applied mathematics major is taking classes at Lander University through the spring.

Courtesy of Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson and Christopher Maggiacomo looking at their new baby Isaiah, right after he was born.

"I feel so lucky to have such an understanding professor. She even made a point to show me where the breastfeeding room is," Thompson told TODAY.

The first five minutes of class have been dedicated to "oohing and aahing" over the baby and then it's time for Isaiah to take a nap.

"I was worried about him being a distraction, but it's actually made me focus better, knowing he's right there next to me," Thompson said. "My classmates feel similarly and say it puts a smile on their faces, which in return, help them in class."

Courtesy of Sarah Thompson
Baby Isaiah looking super cute.

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Though the baby rarely makes a peep during class, when he does, Ryan has offered to hold him.

"Sarah doesn't have enough hands to take notes and hold him and it's a lot easier for me to hold him while lecturing," Ryan said.

Ryan has always been great with kids, but hasn't been able to hold a baby in 10 years, since her niece and nephew she lived with for six years have grown up.

"He's getting heavier," Thompson said. "Let's hope she doesn't regret her offer!"

Courtesy of Sarah Thompson
Sarah Thompson and boyfriend Christopher Maggiacomo holding baby Isaiah in his carriage.

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Isaiah has become an integral member of the class, so much so that when Thompson doesn't bring him one day, they're asking where he is.

"The class has become really close since it's a hard class and we spend a lot of time in office hours," Thompson said. "Isaiah comes with me to that too and has become quite famous among all of Professor Ryan's students."

Thompson doesn't know how she'd be able to juggle school and the baby, even with the help of her parents, so she feels extra grateful for Ryan.

"We all have rough places in life. Sometimes a little help can make it possible for people to find their way, to succeed, to become the person they want and are meant to be," Ryan said.

"I wanted to help Sarah and Isaiah and if I can make it all a little easier, then maybe they both can go a little further."

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