Breastfeeding in Uniform
Posted By: Kate Marsh Lord
Kate Marsh Lord is the mom of three young and very energetic kids: a 5 year old son, a 3 year old daughter and a “surprise” bonus baby boy born in March of 2012.
As a military spouse for more than seven years, I’ve spent my fair share of time around men and women in uniform. But until I saw the lovely photo of two active duty Air Force mothers breastfeeding, I’d never seen a woman nursing in uniform. The photo has sparked a lot of discussion on a twist of the ever present nursing in public discussion, which, I believe, is a good thing.
You see, there’s no official regulation which governs whether it is or is not acceptable for a mother to breastfeed her child while wearing her uniform. Discussion will hopefully lead to awareness, and awareness of a mother’s right to feed her child will hopefully lead to official support for women to breastfeed in uniform.
Clearly my position as a non-active duty person associated with the military is completely different from that of someone who wears the uniform but I have been pleasantly surprised by the breastfeeding support I’ve received on base. With my first son, I specifically remember the “team effort” to help my baby learn to latch correctly. I was holding my breast as a young (male) Airman Nurse’s Aide held my infant’s head in the correct position. I will always remember that young man in uniform helping me learn to feed my baby. With my daughter, I visited a Lactation Consultant several times on base at no cost. At our current duty station, there’s even a LC who will make a home visit to help new moms, again at no cost.
I have so much respect for everyone who serves our country through military service and can’t imagine the sacrifices that active duty mothers make. Feeding their children how, when and where they choose should not be one of those sacrifices.10:30am on Friday June 1
Kate, I love this post. I'm really curious to know if this is something that active duty service members feel strongly about one way or the other. Any ideas?
As someone outside the military, I never even realized this was something that would be up for debate. Seeing that the military finally came around to allowing gay people to be "out" while serving, I would think that the military should also be able to allow mothers to be "out" as moms who care for their children.
I did it all the time as an active duty parent just as I would in a suit such as I currently wear to work.