Forget Breastfeeding in Public…What About in Uniform?

breastfeeding in uniform
Photo credit: Brynja SigurdardottirPhotography & Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group The United States Air Force does not endorse this photo, however permission was given to the individuals to have photographs taken while breastfeeding in their uniform.

What do you think when you see this photo? Are you thrilled to see two military mothers breastfeeding their children (one a toddler and the other a set of twins!) or are you horrified that they would do such a thing and bring disgrace to the uniform they are wearing? Would this photo have the same effect if it was two civilian mothers?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding any mother who breastfeeds in public these days.  It is apparent from reading the news and other media that more and more women everywhere are breastfeeding in public, and as a result many are being asked to leave establishments that run the gamut from restaurants to pools to the local Target. Many of these women are merely trying to feed their very hungry babies and have every right to do so without fear of ridicule or reprisal.  But what about the challenges that women in uniform face when breastfeeding in public (as in on base/post)? Not only do they have the associated ‘stigma’ that surrounds ANY woman who chooses to breastfeed in public, and the perceived sexualization/sexual act that MUST be happening, but they also face the very real problem that there are no regulations that specify whether or not a military member in uniform is even permitted breastfeed.  And unfortunately that means that women are left to the mercy of whoever is in charge at the base clinic, hospital, post exchange or child development center.

Consider this very common scenario:  Mom gave birth 8 weeks ago and is now back at work.  She is no longer on convalescent leave and so is in uniform.  Her baby has a well-baby visit at the base clinic for his shots and a check-up and the appointment is during working hours.  Mom leaves her workplace in uniform (remember, she is NOT on leave so she must be in uniform to be seen at the clinic) and takes her child to the clinic, once there her baby is hungry and so mom decides to feed him while waiting for the appointment.  She discreetly unbuttons her uniform from the bottom up and begins feeding her baby.  No skin is showing at all and the baby is content and not crying or making a fuss.  What is the problem here?  Apparently a big one as quite a number of active duty women have been told that they cannot breastfeed in uniform and must stop immediately, or that they need to feed the baby via bottle, or must move to restroom or private area.  Reasons given include that it is against military regulations, is not maintaining good order and discipline, or just because the person in charge doesn’t care for breastfeeding. Lets also note that nothing is said to active duty mom also sitting in the waiting room bottle-feeding her baby.  That is perfectly OK and in fact is often what the breastfeeding mother is told that she must do.  There is a double-standard, much like in the civilian world, that bottle-feeding in public is seen as OK but breastfeeding in public is not.

The crux of the problem is whether or not it is ever OK to breastfeed in uniform. The main argument seems to be that some military personnel feel that there is no way, discreet or not, that one can maintain a professional military bearing while nursing in uniform.  Period.  It is felt that breastfeeding an infant automatically makes the woman ‘out-of-uniform’, this is particularly true if she uses any type of blanket or covering thrown over the baby to ‘hide’ the actual act of breastfeeding, or ‘rucks’ up her shirt, unbuttons her overblouse to breastfeed. Some, women in particular, say that breastfeeding a baby in uniform undermines their authority as it is a very nurturing and feminine act and they need to be seen by their personnel in the capacity of an authority figure and not as a mother. Other arguments against breastfeeding in uniform include the regulations against PDA and cite that one is not allowed to hold hands or kiss in uniform and that breastfeeding is similar. In all cases, the personnel making the arguments state that it has nothing to do with the sexualization of the female breast (although I would argue that), but rather is simply a matter of maintaining discipline and good order and appearance. These views come from both men and women, supervisors and non-supervisors alike, lest you think that it is coming from old-school military members who believe that women shouldn’t be in the military at all let alone breastfeeding babies.  I have seen this attitude while writing my book and on various FB pages when a photo of a mother in uniform was shown breastfeeding. I continue to be surprised at the numbers of women in the military who have told me that they would never even consider breastfeeding in uniform as it is not considered proper to do so and would go against military etiquette, good-order and discipline.  Many said it just plain felt ‘wrong’ to do so.

Given that we are instructed that holding our children while in uniform is not maintaining a professional appearance, I never thought that breastfeeding my child while in uniform would be allowed. I have, but ONLY in my home returning from work and in the doctor’s office in the private room (not waiting area).  Petty Officer 2nd Class, USN

But lets get down to the facts here:

There are NO polices or regulations in any of the military branches that either approve OR disapprove of breastfeeding in uniform.

Let me say that another way:  There are no policies or regulations that permit or deny a mother’s right to breastfeed in uniform. It is left up to each individual command and/or superior officer or senior enlisted to determine if breastfeeding in uniform will be permitted, usually on a case-by-case basis.  Meaning for many women in the military they will never know if today is the day they get reported for breastfeeding while sitting in the clinic waiting room or nursing their baby at the base daycare.  This can and is a major deterrent for many women considering whether or not they even want to attempt to breastfeed when they return to duty at 6 weeks.

And that is very sad for so many reasons. First, we all know that breastmilk is by far the best nourishment and straight from the tap is so much better for both mother and baby for many reasons. Second, by breastfeeding, the military mother is helping her command, and by extension the military, as it reduces her baby’s illnesses and thereby her need to take time off. Furthermore, she may also stay in the military longer rather than getting out if she feels supported and not stigmatized.  Making her feel badly or worse yet, writing her up for breastfeeding in uniform, is a sure-fire way to make her second guess her commitment to staying in.  Finally, for many mothers who are struggling with milk supply issues, it can be a death-blow to her supply to ask her to give a bottle when instead she could be boosting her supply by breastfeeding AT THE BREAST.  Not only will she have to use up some of her precious stockpile of milk, but she will then have to pump to make up for the missed breastfeeding session.  This is a losing proposition for mother and baby.

When a baby needs to be fed a mother in uniform should do so, with no repercussions. There should be no debate on this issue. I would further add, that if women are told not to breastfeed in uniform (for the reasons cited above) then any policy needs to also address bottle-feeding in uniform.  The very arguments used against breastfeeding apply to bottle-feeding:  both require the mother to be ‘out of uniform’, both show affection (PDA) and nurturing, both are ‘unprofessional’.  As of 2012 there are still NO uniform regulations or military policies in place that specifically address the question or provide guidance on breastfeeding in uniform.  This seems like a very simple issue to clear up.  Make a DoD-wide policy (or amend the ones in place) that states that military women in uniform have the right to breastfeed anywhere that they or their babies have a right to feed. Definitions of what is allowable and how to best wear the uniform, where bottle and breastfeeding is allowed, and when feeding in uniform can occur should be included (meanwhile if you have questions please see this page for tips on breastfeeding in uniform). Doing so would both match the federal law regarding breastfeeding on federal property but also show mothers in uniform that breastfeeding is valued and their service to the nation is appreciated.  It may also have the effect keeping a few more women in uniform who might have otherwise gotten out due to a lack of support for breastfeeding in uniform.

What are your thoughts on breastfeeding in uniform?  Is it ever OK to do so or does it cross an invisible military boundary?

Interested in reading more on this subject?  See part 2, here.

678 Responses to Forget Breastfeeding in Public…What About in Uniform?

  1. I did it, and never had a problem. Considering there are men and women who look like dirt in our uniform, why would it be a problem to see a woman nursing her baby in uniform? If they are going to attack a mom for nursing in uniform they need to address the people who don’t wear the uniform properly and don’t care about the regs.

    • And you should correct everyone who looks like dirt in their uniform! Breastfeeding in uniform and not following regs are two separate issues. The military isn’t about being nice or fair.

    • Just from seeing your way of thinking leads me to believe you were no model soldier. People look like crap in uniform anyway, so why should I look professional? Hope you were discharged with no benefits, because I know you never made it to NCO with that attitude. I see something wrong I correct it, and set the example for others to follow. Not do whatever the hell I want because others with weak leaders look unprofessional. You are the reason the Military weakens every year.

      • I was the REAL soldier- combat arms; we always looked like crap, unless in a parade!

        Looking good has zero to do with military professionalism. That is something thought up by people trying to make the military an important place to look pretty- even though being pretty other than actual effectiveness and efficiency- has nothing to do with soldiering.

        The MOST ridiculous thing about that actual military services is the fact we’re training people to kill someone, yet also expecting them to iron the same uniform.

        The Dress Uniform is where they need to show their uniform discipline, not combat gear…

        If it isn’t combat arms, it’s a civilian in uniform! Dress accordingly.

        Now dress right dress all you socks!

  2. I left the Marine Corps as a Captain after I had my first daughter. I pumped while at work, and worked to get a nursing room (with success). Unfortunately, I had to pump in the bathroom. The pro was that I was able to talk to all the young female Marines while I was stuck pumping and encourage them to breastfeed, even if working. Now that I am a civilian, I freely nurse on my base.

    However, I would never nurse in uniform. I took my child to the bathroom or a private office when her nanny brought her to me. I never even nursed in civilian attire in front of my fellow Marines. Not because I was ashamed of nursing, nor of being a mother. All the guys knew I pumped. The military is not a civilian job. We go to combat and we make life or death decisions, and not just for ourselves but for those we lead. The same reason I would never nurse in uniform is the same reason, I do not chew gum, or walk and talk on my cell phone, or even run into the store in my utility uniform. It is the same reason LtCols and LCpl do not “party” together. We are warfighting professionals. Women before us have worked too hard to earn and retain the respect of their male peers. I don’t want my Marines to look at me any other way than as a Marine. When I am asking them to fly into combat with me and do a dangerous mission, I do not want them to have the mental image of a babe at my breast. I want them to only see me as a Marine. Let’s be a realistic folks. We give up many freedoms being in the military…Breastfeeding in front of my fellow Marines was one of them. We are in a service profession. Do not forget for one second that we are warfighters and everything you do should better yourself and your unit to wage battle regardless of your MOS.

    • My question to you is, Would you eat your meals in the bathroom? If not then why should your baby have to eat their meals while you sit on a germ infested toilet?

      • I will stand firm on what i believe is inappropriate-whether it be a uniform, celebrity, civilian,etc. The old fashion nourishing is out the window when it comes to respect, and putting others in an uncomfortable position-there’s is private places or other modern supplies for and need time. If a mother leaves her home it’s her responsiblity to pump extra milk, bring a bottle, find a private section; whatever to assure others their rights. I witness this on Tuesday and it was a annoying and embarrassing situation-the waiting area at the doctor office was full and people was invoicing the opinion-while the mother breast is out on display,and baby spitting the milk out. If it had been my family member or friend i would have given them some tuff love and walk out. There’s no excuse of justification for the recklessness of public breastfeeding and i hope it’s file the same as public indecency bc that’s exactly what it is bc the overall females show there breast(body part). I have 3 daughters and it’s still not appropriate i’m not self-righteous bc i consider others feelings about situations. It’s a way to do anything and the right way is all right with me.

        • yeah i believe the picture is very inappropriate. Women breastfeeding should cover themselves up. Modesty is very important and what is it teaching teeangers when women are out there revealing there breast out in public, for any reason whatso ever. Think about this question. If it were your teenager or even college age daughter out there breastfeeding like this in a public place, would you want her to have her picture taken. Give me a break! I know i wouldn’t, and it seems that women who things like this for publicity are just wanting to be shocking and become celebrities-because how many other people that have their pictures taken have also. especially the mother who breastfeeds her son on Time magazine, or other magazines!

      • Are you joking us , sitting on the toilet isnt going to give a kid or your breast any germs .
        the military isnt a place to allow a kid to be feeding .you dont train the military with a kid on your reast nor will you go to war with a kid breast feeding ..the military Is a training institution for war time not a nursery so dry up and get back to work…

      • all you people need to come to one true thought your young child can find porn on the internet women run around in thongs on the beach an in many tourist spots but to take care of the one thing that means more to any man or women that needs fed you want to hide that give me a break look the other way and let any mother uniform or not

      • it is as OK to breestfeed in public as much as it is to take a leak or to take a crap in public. Do you want to see people walking around naked with an erection or masterbating in public? How about picking their nose or scratching their crouch? These are all natural acts, but you really don’t want to see this in the shopping mall or the community playground.
        These all should be done in an appropriate place.
        It makes me very uncomfortable to see a mother breastfeeding in pulic, and I shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable to go to the dentist office only to have a mother feeding without being covered up.( It’s not just about being covered up or breastfeeding. Do it in a private manner.)
        However, I do like seeing women and all their curvy parts,but in the right setting.

        • perhaps the problem here, you “do like seeing women and all their curvy parts,but in the right setting”. Sexuality is ok with you…as long as it’s a bikini on the beach…lingerie in the bedroom, nakedness in a boy magazine…but seeing a woman use her breasts for what nature intended, bothers you. Breastfeeding is not sexual or perverted. It’s natural. There are many things that “offend” me as well. Hunters offend me. Men who allow their pants to hang off their butts infuriate me. Unruly children piss me off. But you know what? I can’t tell all these people to stay home cause I’m uncomfortable with them. Wish I could…..but it is what it is.

          • You want to breastfeed in public when there are perfectly fine private areas to do so fine. I’m sick of this argument…

            Every god damn mother I see breastfeeding in public I am gonna stare right at em and not stop staring until they are done. Lets just see how strong your conviction of this natural act is when I’m taking a nice long mental picture of your naked breast in my head.

          • Well, now, thegame346, that would just make you a perv, and my response would simply be to ask if you were jealous of the baby, then ignore you for the childish man who is lead around by his genitals that you obviously are.

          • Angi if you’re gonna whip it out in public then you deal with the consequences sweetheart. If I whipped my penis out in public to take a piss I’d fully expect people passing by to stare.

          • When men feel inferior, either physically or mentally, they start to objectify women as a defense. See this as a lesson for your sons.
            So tell me, when you had to use open bathrooms in basic and while deployed did you stare at the other men? No. You did what had to be done and continued on.
            Go ahead and stare it only makes you the morally corrupt one. Thank god I was in a MOS where the men had an IQ greater then then the amount of push-up they could do and knew that a woman’s value was greater then some degraded sexual being.

    • I am curious if you feel the same way regarding bottle-feeding mothers in uniform looking unprofessional. While they may not need to untuck their uniform blouse, they certainly do not look professional feeding/holding a baby, burp rag, blanket and/or diaper bag.

      I also wonder whether the authority/respect you need as an officer, that you feel is undermined by having lower ranking individuals see you breastfeeding (something that is obviously feminine and nurturing), isn’t also undermined by doing an equally feminine and nurturing act, when bottle-feeding.

      When making a policy regarding feeding in uniform, would you make it apply to ALL mothers (and fathers for that matter) that need to feed a baby while in uniform? Because bottles and diaper bags and all that paraphernalia is not professional looking nor is it part of the uniform. If a breastfeeding mother is not allowed to breastfeed in the waiting room of the clinic, then the bottle-feeding mother should not be allowed to either. In which case a room (and not a restroom) must be set aside for ALL parents of infants/toddlers, where they can feed their children in private. Those would need to be set up in all public areas on base (Exchanges, Clinics, Hospitals, etc) and then the regs would need to be enforced equally.

      • Valid points BFinCB. This is a great discussion. I realize that I come off cold. I joined this group because I am a huge advocate of breast feeding, especially for military women. In an ideal world, I could breast feed in uniform. But the reality is that the Marines that work for me are 18 year old boys who laugh when I use the word “box.” And before anyone jumps at me for not respecting the junior Marine, I don’t think that I have more respect for anyone in the world as I did for the crew chiefs and mechs that worked with me and the Marines I carried into combat. I am just saying they don’t get it. They are young and inexperience in what it takes to feed a child. As a Marine officer my responsibility it to lead. As a mother, it is to take care of my child. And I was perfectly capable of doing both. I always have found a discreet place to nurse. Never once did my child go hungry. Trust me, I love the ease of breastfeeding, but not at the detriment of good order and discipline. Find a room, go to your car, ask someone for their office. It’s not hard.

        • Emily, I praise that you were always able to find a private and convenient place to feed your child, but I really beg to differ on your idea of how to ‘lead’ a group of young men.
          The idea of breastfeeding is only taboo because society perpetuates it. Your 18 yo marines might actually learn something about the NORMALITY of breastfeeding, particularly if they see it being demonstrated by their superior whom they look up to and respect.
          Lead by example.

          • I am sorry, I just don’t agree. At first I felt this was a great discussion. However, I do not feel that way any more. Look, breastfeeding is normal. I get that. I actually want to use my GI Bill to get a masters in nursing and become a lactation consultant. I don’t think it is professional to nurse in uniform. I also don’t think it is professional to smoke or swear in uniform but that is allowed. If I saw a mother nursing in public, I wouldn’t say anything. If I saw someone wearing the uniform incorrectly, I would stop them. I also think that Marines wear there uniform differently than Air Force. This is not an insult, it is just a difference in our regulations. We cannot leave base in our utility uniform. We cannot go to restaurants or to the airport in our utility uniform. So I feel that probably sways my opinion a little.

            Instead of arguing whether it is right or wrong to nurse in uniform…all those on this page have nursed their child while active duty, we should be encouraging young women how to breastfeed their child in a manner they are comfortable with. We each have a different leadership style. I tried to remain professional to a fault, not saying I always succeeded. I would always be there to listen to my Marines but I tried to reveal very little about mine. Being a leader is never about me, it is always about them. I don’t fault anyone for having a different leadership style. Just don’t insult me for mine. I am now out of the Marine Corps because I wanted to be a stay at home mom and it would be too difficult for me to balance the responsibilities of both. I don’t think it is wrong to remain active duty, it was just wasn’t for me. I do think it is possible to do both, just not for me. There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a lot of ways to be a good one.

            Semper Fi and please continue to encourage your young Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen to nurse and encourage your commands to comply with the current order (which do support nursing).

          • I have to agree with Emily on this. Let’s take the uniform out of this discussion and consider a normal office workplace. Is it appropriate for a senior executive (or anyone for that matter) to nurse her child in the board room as other employees trickle in for a meeting? I have nursed my children during my lunch hour in my private office. Would I ever nurse them in the lobby outside my office with a bunch of my 18-22 year old college students milling about, even though I was on “break” and on my own time? No. Even without a uniform, just being me in a certain place at a certain time has connotations beyond “off-duty, not at work breastfeeding mother”. I have nursed plenty in public, just not at work.

          • Barton, this is why the Marines have some of the finest Officers in the Military.

            Leadership is not only about technical and tactical proficiency but of military bearing and image, and a command presence. Babies have no place in an environment where men and women train to kill. Leaders must portray themselves as infallible so their subordinates have full confidence in them. Seeing them drunk/emotionally unstable/crying/losing control/complaining/submissive/breast feeding makes the subordinate see them in a different light. There is no way in hell I would let my soldiers see me in anything but a cool calm and collected professional manner. I would never cry in front of my soldiers, be drunk or do anything else to make them lose confidence. I expect my leaders to not be giving me orders while they have a child latched to their breasts. They can do that at home in the privacy of their room or an empty office.

        • Emily, your expression was well said, I am a mother of three with much pride; yet i have much respect for my body as well. They can stop the excuses for the self-righteous acts because there’s to many private places to breast feed. I was sitting in the doctor office on May 27th 2012, and a young mother was breastfeeding in the waiting room full of people. Thank God i didn’t know her because i would have told her how annoying that was-and the comments the patients was making on the issue. I am a fair person so i will say those babies lived in a came out with all kind of body fluids-so feeding them in a restroom if necessary is not unthinkable. Some mother’s has worst germs than the bathrooms. That is some from the heart of a respectful and protected mother. The risk of the bathroom or any discret place is better than the risk of some psycho-seeing them. I may not be as fluent as others, but i know yall understand my message.

          • OK, so since bathrooms are so clean and comfy, are you stating that you would bottle feed a baby in one?

        • can’t believe that someone is saying that bottle feeding and breast feeding are even remotely similar. Obviously a bottle is not a human attachment to a body. Breast feeding reveals obviously the breast, a bottle isn’t a part of anything that needs to be covered. So the argument that women should go into a seperate room to bottle feed their babies, because breastfeeding should be done so, or at least hidden so other people in the room can’t see it; is ridiculous, and irrelevant!

    • I would argue that you, breastfeeding mama, are the best kind of warrior there is. When I see pictures of beautiful, strong, well-uniformed women breastfeeding, I feel proud of my country and of their profession. I’m not military, but I grew up an army brat, and I commend you for using your position to encourage young women to breastfeed. I think chewing gum and breastfeeding are quite different, and the latter, in my opinion, should be allowed.

      • I grew up in a heavily military family, and it may just be that we are also considered “ethnic” as my grandparents were 1st generation Americans, but there is N-O-T-H-I-N-G more authoritative than a strong mother standing tall breastfeeding as she barks orders. Its AWESOME that you’ve worked so hard promote breastfeeding, but I think you *might* be selling yourself short.

        • If one of my military leaders had stood tall breastfeeding as she “barked orders” at me, I’d have had a hard time from laughing in her face.

      • I agree with the education part of breastfeeding;yet i done condone it in the public eye. I am also, a military brat-my father, brother, brother-in-law retired after 23 to 30yrs. I have a host of siblings and other relatives in the military now. This is a form of public indecency and it done matter how yall try to dress it up. It is one of the main reason i choose not to breast feed, but if i had-there’s not that much proud in the world to do it in the public eye. The bible word proud to be a sin anyway” A proud look ” is one of the seven deadly sins. proverbs 6:16-19 and he mentions about a proud heart-have some pride bout yourself, but never to proud of the worldly things….people need wisdom to see, knowledge to think, and understand to know-seek wisdom and one’s will make better choices bc breastfeeding openly is not wise

        • Public indecency? Are you serious? Have you seen music videos? Magazines? bathing suites on beaches? Do you watch TV? How can you equate feeding a baby to indecency? Most women I have seen in public breastfeed under a cover and I have never seen an exposed breast. Do not confuse pictures made for shock value and discussion with real life. Learn the difference please.

    • Breastfeeding is about nurturing… but so is bottle feeding, and so, really, is the very act of being a parent. If the sight of a uniformed soldier breastfeeding is a threat to the nature of the job, then soldiers should not be allowed to serve in a combat capacity if they have offspring. Period.

      This should hold true for both enlisted personnel and officers.

      • I grew up in a military family as well. And I will tell you, I didn’t understand the culture until I was in it. My dad, also first generation in this country and a retired Colonel, said there is nothing wrong with being a Marine and a princess. In fact, he flew out to Okinawa after I had my first daughter to support me. My mother and my father forced me to feed my daughter in public so I could get comfortable doing so. My mother breastfed 5 children and was so encouraging.

        I would argue that a breastfeeding mother is NOT the best type of warrior. A breastfeeding mother cannot go to combat as she is a way from her child for 7 months at a time. A breastfeeding mother’s boobs hurt and are leaking while she is in her 4th hour of flight (at least 6 hours since her last pump) in a helicopter as her vest and harness are snug against her. A breastfeeding warfighter is one who finds a balance in her life, but not necessarily the best warfighter. And I am extremely proud of such women…there are two right now that are some of my best friends. One of whom I have seen nurse, without a cover on base and in uniform. I love her and call her for advice all the time. I still think it is unprofessional.

        Additionally, the act of being a parent should not be confused with being a warfighter. I know some great dads who were terrible Marines and vice versa. I do think bottle feeding a child in the work place is appropriate. I don’t think children belong in the work place other than during a lunch or dinner break or if you are on leave visiting the office in civilian attire. Like I said, I nursed my child at work, but not in the open. And for the record, I would find it disturbing if my lawyer feeding (bottle or boob) her child right outside the court.

        PS Just spoke to my sis-in-law, an AF vet who worked in a hospital. She breastfed both her children and would never do it in uniform either.

        Look, if there was no other option, I would feed my child in uniform in the open. But since I always found a place, it was never an issue.

        But everyone is entitled their opinion, and this it what makes this country great.

        • Emily,
          You are a truly amazing person! You are inspiring professional and as a mother. You are the only one who can draw boundaries that work for your situation. I think it is easy for those who do not know your situation, but think they do, to you and your decisions. Ultimately, you know what is best!

    • Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. As a woman I believe that breastfeeding should be treated with respect. Respecting me and my child. This should be done privately. It should not be done in a restroom. I believe that it should be performed as normal as possible and a blanket or appropriate cloth laid over the child and the breast of the Mom. When I see this treated in this way I admire the Mom for who she is. When I see pictures as I do in this story with 2 children pushed to 2 breast it does not seem respectful. You are using a precious moment like this with your child that needs to be private because you body is a temple of Christ. You are a good Mom so cherish this time.

    • I almost stopped reading after I was a “Captian” but I did stop reading after “when her nanny brought her to me” Must be nice to have a nanny how many of your female enlisted soldiers were able to have a nanny?

      Officers normally dont have a clue

    • I agree with Captain Barton, there is nothing wrong with Breastfeeding but for the same reason I did not smoke in uniform in civilian areas, or talk on a cell phone while walking. When we are in uniform, we are expected to be professional, not some of the time but all of the time, sorry ladies as much as I think you have a perfect right to breastfeed, I just don’t think you should do it while in uniform.

      • Uniform is clothing, whether it represents the armed forces, navy, or whatever doesn’t matter. I would love to know ONE way they are disrespecting their status by breastfeeding. Just one. Also…it would appear you are implying that walking and talking on a cellphone is bad….What if an emergency happened where your husband/wife was suddenly in the hospital? Oop, no can do. I can’t walk and talk on my cell. Bad manners right?

        • Per Marine Corps Order, you are not allowed to be in motion and using an electronic device (cell phone) at the same time while in uniform. I don’t know about the other branches. It is not bad manners, it is against orders.

          • Thanks Emily. I only listed a few but you only support my point that it is not an attack against breastfeeding it is a matter of image and respect.

            Any Service man or woman will tell you that it is a lifestyle. You agree to it when you join. You are under a contract and should adhere to the contract. If you dont want to reup your contract, don’t.

            If you want to have all the liberties afforded to the public then turn in your combat boots and find a new career.

    • Excellently expressed! The ONLY comment/response that has complete common sense in regards to breastfeeding in uniform. You absolutely DO NOT do it in uniform! Thank you, Emily.

      • Alright, just let me know when all the other armies in the world start thinking we are bad for this or weak. I HIGHLY doubt this is even effecting the status of the military whatsoever. Or are we worried about disrespecting the clothes? I’m so sorry clothes….We mourn for your pains.

    • I commend you. It all comes down to respect. I loved your comment and am so glad you accomplished what you had to do. You showed courage and common sense to work it out and show respect for all. You didn’t let the “I’m a female thing” come in to the equation. You’re in a pre-dominantly male workplace and you all are soldiers, no special “I’s or You’s”. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I agree that there needs to be protective regulation for nursing mothers, but in my own experience I have noticed that I am extremely uncomfortable breastfeeding in uniform and it *does* look sloppy to have one’s uniform blouse rucked up and undershirt untucked. If I were in charge of writing the regulations, I would protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in a number of places to include any medical clinic/facility/hospital, in or around any childcare facility, in the exchange/commissary or basically anywhere she would be allowed to wear her working uniform (for Navy, the utilities regulations to include stops to and from work and at any place the mother needs to stop with her baby). We have the added burden of working 24/7 and it is impossible to expect a military mother not to nurse at all in uniform, but I would take issue with a woman who was just milling about, nursing downtown on a saturday. Besides, they are not the most comfortable clothes to wear when nursing. Just my two cents!
    CTI2, USN

  4. This is already making the rounds, at least within the Air Force. Having had the pleasure of serving with many nursing mothers, and having my ex-wife pump on duty I am absolutely in support of breast feeding.

    We had offices that were set aside for this at work. Use of the public fridge was no problem. There was _no_ problem pumping at work. However a baby does not belong in a military work place, out in the open for everyone to see as you make yourself available to your child. It always struck me as a special thing between a mother and their child. I love it when women breast-feed. It’s beautiful.

    I do not understand the nature or purpose of this photo. Your discussion of it, and tying it to women breastfeeding discretely is absurd. These Airmen felt the need to hike up their shirts, in public, have a professional photo taken and then allow it to be posted online? To what end? It’s not pornographic, but it is disrespectful of the uniform. (They’re not even covering with a Air Force themed blanket, on sale at the Bx!).

    To say a there’s no specific regulation against it is to go down the rabbit hole of saying anything not explicitly allowed in regulation must be ok. The military is inherently conservative. Men can’t have mustaches beyond the corners of their mouths, and women can’t have a skirt over the tops of their knees, excessive makeup, faddish nail color, or anything besides stud earrings. But because breastfeeding in uniform isn’t addressed in 36-2903 it should be allowed everywhere/anytime? Is this really even an argument?

    When my wife finally comes back from deployment and she’s in her uniform can I hold her hand on the way to the car? Nope. Can I hold my kids hands when we walk to the BX and I’m on lunch? Nope? But this NCO and SrA believe this ok is baffling to me.

    Sacrifices are why it’s called serving. If a Airman want’s to breast feed at the check in counter of the med clinic I would argue she doesn’t want to make those sacrifices anymore and should seek being an awesome mother out of the uniform.

    Lt JT

    • Yes it is an argument, and if are to go down the rabbit-hole of what is and isn’t allowed in the regs then we must also start looking at the fact that bottle-feeding in uniform is also not professional looking. Diapers bags are not part of the uniform, holding a bottle and feeding a baby is not professional and can be construed as a form PDA, similar to holding hands with your kids.

      Why is bottle-feeding given a pass and breastfeeding is not? Both are forms of feeding an infant. And if regulations are going to be made regarding breastfeeding in uniform, then they need to apply to bottle-feeding in uniform as well. Otherwise it is discrimination, plain and simple.

      • To be honest I’ve never personally seen a mother actually nurse a baby in uniform. I’m also wracking my brain, but the only time I can even think I’ve seen a baby get bottle fed is at an office picnic/celebration and that’s been mother and father doing it.

        Again, within the workplace neither are appropriate.

        Granted, I’ve let my young single Airmen mothers bring their babies in on the weekends twice. I don’t remember them getting fed in the office. It was such a huge disruption just having the little ones there.

        As far as a diaper bag goes, if it is in line with the bag requirements of 36-2903, then it can be allowed and deemed professional.

        I disagree that it is discrimination. One can be done with the uniform fully in place and worn properly, and the other can’t.

        Also got some more background on these photos. It’s for a breast feeding campaign at the local support group (cool). The mothers originally took photos in civilian clothes, and it appears they then changed into ABU’s for more pictures. I’m determining this because the babies clothes are the same in all pics. Again… the point was already made in civilian clothes, what greater purpose does it show to do it in uniform?

        You’re not going to feed your baby at a change of command, check in counter, flight line, server room, etc. Nursing in uniform at home, in a private office, in a restroom, at the CDC, or a mother’s room is great! I personally don’t even have a problem in your car covered with a blanket. But these pictures are not that. I don’t know what these pictures are.

        I think doing this will only cause leadership to further restrict the opportunities nursing mothers have on base, which is sad.

        That these Airmen are med group is not lost in our discussions at work.


        • Actually, the use of a public fridge for breast milk IS a problem because public health considers is to be a “bodily fluid” aka biohazard so you must have a separate fridge just for breastmil, and it must have a biohazard label on it.

          • Where is breastmilk considered a biohazard? Just because it’s a bodily fluid doesn’t make it a biohazard, and according to OSHA it isn’t one. I don’t understand who’s policy you’re citing.

          • Breastmilk is a biohazard? Whoah! better not feed it to a baby then.

            I know, let’s just get some milk from a random cow and put it in the fridge for our coffee or breakfast cereal.

            It’s only a potential hazard if someone unintended is going to consume it – seems those who steal milk from baby bottles in fridges may get a few antibodies they weren’t planning on.

          • From the Centers for Disease Control website:
            “CDC does not list human breast milk as a body fluid for which most healthcare personnel should use special handling precautions. Occupational exposure to human breast milk has not been shown to lead to transmission of HIV or HBV infection. However, because human breast milk has been implicated in transmitting HIV from mother to infant, gloves may be worn as a precaution by health care workers who are frequently exposed to breast milk (e.g., persons working in human milk banks).”

            Even most daycare workers are not required to wear gloves when handling breastmilk and it is stored in the same fridge with other baby’s formula, just labeled differently (at least every daycare I have used). I have a small cooler in our office fridge that I put my bottles in after pumping and it’s never been an issue.

    • Very well written and some GREAT points, Lt JT! I am an active duty nursing mother, have participated in “nurse-ins” and feel VERY strongly about a woman’s right to nurse in public. But I would not nurse in uniform unless it was alone behind closed doors. When I am ‘off-duty’ I freely (and discretely) nurse my child in public with no reservations and encourage other mother’s to do so. But I believe I will find a private place to nurse my baby for Family Day on base next month as well, even though I will be in civilian clothes. And not because I am ashamed of nursing or think it is something to be hidden (Ms. Barton said it very well in her post). I have a tremendous amount of repect for the USAF and this uniform, and I personally feel nursing in uniform leads to a lack of military bearing… Also, it is so controversial right now that for a civilian to see a woman with her shirt pulled up nursing in uniform could potentially bring discredit to the Air Force because of how it would be percieved by an individual.
      What a great conversation! I look forward to reading more opinions on this matter!

    • With all due respect, I don’t think that public feeding in uniform is the right thing to do. There are a lot of rights and privileges that the military men and women who serve our country ensure. However, the men and women who serve our country give up several of those rights to do so. In other words, restrictions come with the territory.

      I’m sure there is a middle ground that we can find here but I’m astonished at the number and tenor of comments that are more or less saying, “I am woman hear me roar,” and telling the military to ‘get real’ or ‘get a grip’.

      For goodness’ sake, it’s the military. There are rules and regulations, traditions and decorum. No one is saying it’s wrong for a nursing mother to breastfeed. However, if you believe you have carte blanche to be ‘out of uniform’ whenever and wherever you feel like it, then perhaps it’s time to consider a different place to serve.

      • I do not believe they are “out of uniform” and you to are now playing the role of “I am man, hear me roar”. It never said that they could or could not breast feed in uniform, so they are NOT breaking regulations, therefore do not have to sacrifice that privilege because it is not against regulations.

  5. I used to take my blues shirt off and put on a tshirt for 2 reasons. Firstly the safety of my baby’s face from metal attachments but also so there was no dribble or puke on my uniform.
    If I was wearing camouflage I don’t think I’d have bothered changing.
    Well done BICB. The pics are empowering for all women.

  6. Too bad the gals are exploiting the uniform for private and commercial purposes – that’s my only issue here.

    • Your statement is 100% incorrect. I know both of the females personally and they are part of a free organization on Fairchild AFB called Mom2Mom which is a breast feeding support group for active duty, guard, and dependent moms on Fairchild AFB. The photos were shot for a breast feeding awareness campaign on base. Neither of those females or the several others who were shot in civilian attire for the campaign made any money off of the photos. In addition the photographer donated the time for the shoot to occur. There is no exploitation going on. The purpose is to let other young nursing military moms know that they are not alone in their quest to continue to nurse after returning to work.

      • Military mothers can nurse freely at the base Child Development Center — this is considered breastfeeding in PRIVATE. If this photo was taken at the CDC, that’s one story. It’s quite another story for military mothers to breastfeed in PUBLIC on or off post/base while in uniform. As a mother in uniform, my view is that PUBLIC breastfeeding in uniform is inappropriate, unprofessional, and unbecoming. But I’m all for breastfeeding at the CDC, in uniform or not.

        • Unfortunately, many AD mothers have been told that they can NOT breastfeed in uniform at the CDC which leaves them with the same problem that I spoke of in the original post. Not all CDCs have the same rules. I am contacted on a regular basis by AD mothers who have been told that cannot breastfeed at their command CDC. This is a very real problem.

          Also, WHY is breastfeeding in uniform unprofessional, unbecoming and inappropriate when bottle-feeding is not? What is it about the breastfeeding that makes it so? If it is because breasts are considered sexual, that is beside the point. Breasts biological function is to FEED a child. Plain and simple. There is nothing sexual about feeding a baby from the breast. If breastfeeding mothers must feed in private than so too should the bottle-feeding mothers, military or civilian.

  7. I think it is a wonderful photo! It is something that needs to be normalized, not just in the military but in our society. I am active duty Air Force and have breastfed my daughter MANY times while in uniform. Not just at the hospital or CDC, but wherever she needed to be fed. I have even done it off base at a civilian airport while waiting for my husband’s delayed flight. I have never received any negative responses. If I notice someone glancing my way, I offer up a smile and they always flash one right back.

  8. Thank you for sharing and your support! Mom2Mom:Breastfeeding Support Group located at Fairchild AFB, WA are very proud of our campaign. There are MANY more photos from our Mom2Mom photo shoot! This is the start of our Breastfeeding Campaign and it has already gotten bigger than expected! 🙂 All of the photos from the blog will be made into posters and distributed everywhere we can!

  9. Breastfeeding is as natural as the wind blowing you hair and the rain that falls from the sky. Yes, there is a respectful, tasteful way to do it but there is nothing shameful about it. Reading some of these posts makes me ashamed to have ever been affiliated with the military. These women can serve there country and should be proud of that but not of being a mother doing the best thing for their child? Really? The shame is not that they choose to breast feed, nor is it that they were strong enough to stand up and volunteer to be part of an overdue campaign letting young military/military spouses know it is okay. The real shame is how people are so small minded and critical that they do not see the beauty in the loving bond and natural way of feeding their young child/children. I would like to commend these women and the photographer for keeping it tasteful and respectful and the people responsible for the campaign for taking the time and having the courage to tackle such an issue. Good Job Ladies!

    • I agree with you. If there is awareness about breastfeeding, it will make women more comfortable, which will mean babies will nurse longer!

  10. So a lot of people are saying that they should not “endorse” breastfeeding in their uniform. There happens to be an AFI stating you cannot take a politcal stance on something, or vote in your uniform – is breastfeeding a political issue? No. There is an AFI that supports breastfeeding. How can one look at this photo and say “this must mean the Air Force is anti-formula” You don’t know these mothers opinions on formula, all you know is that they chose to breastfeed their babies. If you she is representing the AF’s opinion on breastfeeding by doing so in her uniform, then you can’t drive a “Chevy” in your uniform because therefore you are endorsing “Chevy.” You can’t drink a Coke in your uniform because therefore you are endorscing “Coke”
    No one bats an eye when a sexy women is in her undies with a uniform top on barely covering her breasts. No ones says that is disrespectful. Or when a newborn is wrapped up in dad’s top for pictures, or a pregnant momma has her belly showing inbetween unbuttoned buttons of a uniform top for a maternity photo shoot. No one complains.
    If the Air Force decides to finally make some clear AFI’s on breastfeeding dos and don’ts in uniform, they need to be across the board for formula fed and breastfed babies with no differance between the two. If they decide you cannot breastfeed in uniform, than they need to provide a room (not a stroage closet or bathroom) in every squadron on every base for a mother to feed or pump for her child. The AFI already states a room and time needs to be providing for pumping, but ask an airmen if this is true. I’ve known mothers who only lasted 2 weeks nursing once off of maternity leave because time was not allowed and/or her male conterparts teased or embarrassed her about pumping and the the noise of the machine. It is hardly a comfortable enviroment to pump in. If people focused on the more pressing issues facing our country today with the intensity that they have spent attacking those photos, maybe our country wouldn’t be in the sorry state is is now. Just maybe…

    • I agree completely!! This is non-issue really. There *does* need to be some sort of regulation regarding feeding in uniform, whether it is breast or bottle. It should NOT discriminate against breastfeeding mothers only by telling them that they have to cover up with a blanket (that looks unprofessional too) or that they have to go to a private area. As you state, any regulations must be enforced equally for bottle and breast feeding parents.

      As you state, why isn’t anyone worried about the scantily clad models sporting uniforms or pregnant moms getting photos taken in uniform (and plastering them all over Facebook)? Why do we knock the breastfeeding mothers who are only trying to give their babies the best possible start in life by doing a healthy, life-giving, nurturing act??

    • What great points! A mom nursing her baby in public is simply meeting the need of her child, the same as a mom bottle-feeding or the mother of an older child giving her kid a sandwich. Often the ‘exposure’ in such a situation is very minimal.

      Yet people are misusing the uniform just for the purpose of taking a picture–for no practical need–and nobody complains? Ridiculous!

  11. As a military member and mom, I would never dream of breastfeeding while in uniform — or, for that matter, in public in any location where the personnel (military and civilian) with whom I lead and serve might recognize me. Those of us who serve in the military do so with the awareness that our behavior on and off duty is held to a different standard. Normative standards of professional military decorum entail modesty and discretion, among many other attributes. While breastfeeding is natural, it does not look natural in military uniform — nor does it look professional. I would no more expect to see female military members in uniform breastfeeding their infants on post/base than I would expect to see female attorneys breastfeeding their infants outside a courtroom. I won’t delve too far into the distraction breastfeeding presents for the males serving alongside the nursing mother, but why cause the distraction when there are other many other viable options? Discretion is the better part of valor…as Emily Barton clearly appreciates.

    • Yes those who serve have internal/external expectations of a different community standard, so why would breastfeeding be a negative standard rather than a positive (healthy behaviours) standard.

      I see no problem of female attorneys BF outside a courtroom, but she’s unlikely to do so in that location.

      The women in these pics are not feeding in a busy office, or undertaking representative duties, or on parade. They just happen to be wearing uniform and could be feeding during their work breaks.

      Especially with older infants, most of us who’ve breastfed will prefer to be in a more private location because a distracted child can make “discreet” feeding more tricky, but we shouldn’t have to be shunned away.

      Defining “discretion” is also interesting. Does discretion mean no visibility of a nipple? No visible breast tissue/cleavage? Or are those standards only applicable when the breast is used for it’s feeding purpose?

      Should we be pretending that feeding should only be done behind closed doors or under covers?

      What does it say about our societies that women should protect men from feeling uncomfortable about women using THEIR breasts for their biolocially intended purpose?

    • Pretty sure breast-feeding in uniform looks just as natural as it would in a casual shirt. I mean come now, it’s clothing. By what you said a mother could go buy a fake uniform, breast-feed in it, then have her actions called unnatural. And it still looks professional because they are giving their baby the nourishment it wants, not making it wait till they get home, change, then do it, change back, then head off.

  12. Bottom line – I’m going to do what is best for my baby. If we are together and I am in uniform and he is hungry and can’t wait, and there is nowhere to go that is private, I’m gonna feed him. But I honestly cannot think of many if any instances where this would even occur (being active duty in the Guard is quite different than being active duty on an active duty installation). I think its great that women can nurse at the CDC when dropping off and picking up their child! I agree that the Air Force/DoD needs to come up with a policy so we know what we are allowed to do and have an AFI, DoDI, or whatever, to site if questioned. I highly doubt the DoD is going to come out and tell women not to nurse their child, but an official statement would be helpful. Maybe more airmen and soldiers would feel more comfortable with it if we knew we were supported by policy.

  13. I am a member of the Australian Air Force, and I feel very sorry for some of my sisters in the US Forces. The Royal Australian Air Force fully supports breastfeeding mothers and we are currently working hard to ensure every Air Force mother has access, at very least on her base, (preferably in her Squadron), to the requirements for pumping milk; a clean area (NOT a bathroom!), a comfortable chair, a powerpoint and afridge in which she can store breastmilk. A lot of our bases have childcare centres and it is very normal and acceptable for military moms to head to the centre during their worktime and feed while in uniform. We have a newly developed policy governing breastfeeding in the Air Force and the expectation that Commanders will support their breastfeeding moms. Why are we doing this? Because it enhances our capability! We know that a supportive environment encourages women to come back after maternity leave earlier. We know that breastfed babies are less likely to get sick, thus reducing the need for members to take carer’s leave. We know that happy, supported moms are more likely to stay in the Air Force post motherhood. There are so many organisational benefits. Feeding your hungry child is very different to a ‘public display of affection’ and I can’t understand the negativity in the comments on this site. I feel very fortunate to be working for such a progressive military organisation!

    • As you should be! Thank you for letting us know how the RAAF treats their breastfeeding mothers and what regulations you have in place. That is a breath of fresh air and a wonderful commentary on the progressive nature of your armed forces.

      You are so correct when you state that by supporting the breastfeeding mothers in the armed forces you increase your retention rates, mission capability and readiness. We here in the US would do well to take a page from your book!

      United States DoD…are you listening?

  14. LOVE this article. I had NO idea about any of this but I agree with you 100%. I was in the Guard when I had my son 7 years ago. Luckily my small section of ALL men did not say too much about me breastfeeding. BUT I did not do it publicly. My husband brought my son to me on drill weekends for my lunch break so that I could breastfeed (in our car off base). I did get two breaks a day to pump as well (in the womens bathroom). I cannot imagine how hard that would be in a deployment situation or Active Duty.
    My hat is off to all of you amazing women doing it!!

    • “The United States Air Force does not endorse this photo, however permission was given to the individuals to have photographs taken while breastfeeding in their uniform.

    • I was a nursing mom (dependent) at Fairchild 30 years ago. This story is bringing me to tears; I would have loved a group like you have back then. I don’t remember any other dependent or active moms I knew nursing, not one. Esp for a mom returning to work, this support is HUGE, and I’m so glad to see your campaign.

      Later on i had another baby and know just as a working mom nursing is one of the best things you can do to keep the bond tight after you’re leaving them all day. It helps the mom with that adjustment to know there’s something only she can do for her child, it’s really invaluable. Not to mention the physical benefits to the baby’s immune system.

      I often nursed my son in public back then, after nursing on a toilet one too many times. I did it discreetly, though. In fact, one of the funniest times was talking to a woman about how offended she was by public breastfeeding while I was nursing my son at that moment w/ out her knowing.

      Like it or not, breasts are eroticized in our culture. People are conditioned to think of them as sexy. They’re covered at all times because they’re titillating in our culture. That’s why we have bathing suit tops. You can’t just act as if this taboo doesn’t exist because it doesn’t suit your purposes. That’s my issue with some of these arguments.

      I don’t think you need to smother/ completely cover your baby to nurse, but there are definitely more and less discreet ways of doing it.

      Nursing mothers don’t need to make others uncomfortable. There’s a difference between doing something despite social convention because it’s best for your baby and doing something to flout social convention. I think it’s important that any activist nursing moms be clear on this difference and where they stand. I don’t think exposing breasts completely anywhere in our society is great, not that I really care if I see it, just that it draws attention there by default, it’s purely conditioning. (I also don’t think most nursing moms WANT to have people looking at their breasts, btw. I do think there are those that use it as a statement, though very few.)

      That’s my o. And a little follow up story; one day this past year I was delighted to see my son (the one I nursed at Fairchild) had joined a Facebook group in support of legalizing public breastfeeding, on his own. 🙂

  15. Just a thought but someone might have a problem with the pic above because the mothers are not wearing their covers (hats) while they appear to be outdoors. As a general rule, service members are supposed to have their hats on outside. There are very limited situations where they do not have to though.

    • That is what bothered me! I keep looking at these pictures thinking… how unprofessional! They are outside without covers! I guess in the event of a photo op our military bearing, customs and courtesies are thrown to the wayside? It is true there are limited places we do not have to wear a cover but it appears they are out in the open, which means they should be wearing their respective covers!

      • I don’t believe that this topic is on hats…or “covers” whatever the difference is, but this pic was most likely one of those special occasions where it was permitted.

  16. Breastfeeding is not a leisure activity. It is the natural way to feed a child. I find it interesting and sad that I have a right to breastfeed in public and my job is required to provide a safe non-bathroom for me to either pump or nurse in, while the women in our military are not granted the same rights due to uniform and other regs. How about the military branches step up and alter them so these women can feed their children the way nature intended? I feel this is Especially important for active duty moms who will at some point be deployed .. Why should they have to fight to do this when they will spend Time away from their babies?

  17. Those women fight for our freedom.. Which includes breast feeding as a civilian. It shouldn’t even be a question they put their lives on the line to serve this country and keep us safe. Why should they get in trouble for the very freedoms that they fight to protect??

    • I cannot speak for the other branches, or other bases, or even other career fields and offices but I have felt very supported in breastfeeding. I have three children, two of which were born during my time in the military and one prior to enlisting. There are AFI’s in place to give us time to pump and designate that the bathroom is NOT an appropriate place to pump. Our doctor’s office has a room we can slip into that is specifically for nursing mothers. I am certain no one would say anything if I nursed in the waiting room of the doctor’s office while waiting for the doctor as long as I was not hanging out for all to see. I do feel it would be highly inappropriate to nurse while walking through the commissary for example if you are in uniform. I am pro nursing in public. I walk around the commissary in civilian clothes all the time nursing my son. I do not do it in uniform. It would be helpful to have regulations in place to let us know if it is deemed acceptable to nurse in public or not. But, again I have never had an issue. I feel the Air Force has been very supportive and I am proud to be a nursing mother serving my country!

  18. Not to sound disrespectful, I respect military personel male and female a like, but if I was in the military and I was told I could not nurse I would leave. I am sure a fair bit have for that very reason, motherhood. It is a darn shame. I am a mother first and foremost and I will not sacrifice my childs or my own health because my commanding officer told me too and I would not go to the trouble of pumping just to avoid breastfeeding in my uniform. This is 2012, any one who has any problem with public displays of breastfeeding in any way needs to get a grip!

  19. There was a regulation update in the Army some years ago to allow for small shows of public affection in uniform, such as when greeting returning Soldiers from deployment or when holding children. These shows are considered normal and appropriate. Most times, if you are juggling children, a stroller, an appointment slip, and more, most people consider it acceptable, even if perhaps not explicitly allowed by regulation, to carry a diaper bag over the shoulder.

    BFFinCB mentioned that she was required to be in uniform when taking her children to a medical appointment in a military facility. That is not required in the Army if the Soldier is not on duty that day. So, I suppose that might alleviate the situation for some Soldiers, but generally appointments are during the duty day.

    I breastfed in uniform and was never approached by anyone. Had I been, I would have been happy to trot out that women are legally allowed to breastfeed their children on Federal property anywhere they otherwise have the right to be with their children. Of course, Soldiers don’t explicitly have the same rights as others, but it is a good starting point.

    While I did not concern myself with covering up when not in uniform, I was careful about discretion in uniform because the regulations are not specific with respect to what I would have the right to do. I would unbutton my BDU top from the bottom and lift my t-shirt underneath and cover over myself, baby, and the bottom of the BDU with a thin blanket. I think that the photos shown at the top of the blog post are wonderful and not in any way unprofessional. I look forward to the day when the regulations specifically allow breastfeeding in uniform and any uncovering that may be necessary to accomplish it without redress on wear of the uniform.

    • Good answer. 🙂

      As an aside to some comments I’ve seen about how rucking up the shirt to nurse in public (the way that shows the least amount of bare skin) rumples/messes up the uniform: Motherwear and other companies make special nursing clothes that open discreetly without requiring any rumpling or any extreme flashing. If Uncle Sam really cared, it would be quite possible for whatever contractors sew the garments to make uniforms with nursing slits and flaps.

  20. I did it with my first child. I was still on active duty and breast fed him. Never had an issue. Just went to another room did our thing and he went back with the babysitter, I finished my day and want not. No big deal.

  21. Awesome picture! First, I want to commend and congratulate any and every mother that chooses to breastfeed their child(ren) whether in public, at home, or in uniform. I am currently nursing my second child and have become an advocate for women’s rights in regards to breastfeeding. I feel sorry for those of you that have posted that it is unethical/distraction to nurse a baby in uniform. My husband, both brothers, uncle, and grandfather all served in the Armed Forces and that last thing any of them would have thought about seeing a nursing soldier was anything sexual. I would jump for joy to see this and to even see an attorney nursing her baby outside of a courtroom. Let me guess, in your opinion it would be a beautiful thing to see a mother feeding her baby with a bottle if she was in uniform or the attorney outside of a courtroom. It’s narrow-minded people like that that have caused the government to have to make laws to protect women who have made the choice/decision to do the best for their baby by breastfeeding. Yes, there are other options out there, but research is very clear that breastmilk is best. Furthermore, for those mother’s that are more modest, there are such things as nursing covers. I take my son to the office with me and I nurse him whenever he is hungry no matter where I am, just like I would if I had a bottle to give him. I do have a nursing cover that I use to ease anyone’s discomfort, but I will not jeopardize my sons health/my choice in nurturing for anyone’s opinion. If there were more women out there doing what these two women do, then maybe the mind set of “public indecency” would diminish because it is NATURAL and the way God intended for babies to be fed. Do you shun the mother cow for nursing her calf in public or the mother horse for nursing her colt? Of course not, so why should you shun a human mother from nursing hers???

  22. Professionalism is not just about policy,protocol and uniform regulations. It is not about carrying backpacks,briefcases,diaper bags, babies,children, bottles and breastfeeding. It is the look of pride and confidence and how an individual carries out those qualities in their thoughts, judgement, speech, writing, behavior and image. You could attack many aspects of public image in uniform…how about not being fit and trim…being overweight and being underweight, how about hairstyles and color, shoes, stockings,jewelry, make-up,nails and again what you carry. Once upon a time in the 1980’s wearing the uniform was very clear how to wear it and what accessories were allowed. It has only been since 1975 that women have been allowed to be pregnant in uniform. The year the Vietnam War was declared over. Almost 40 years ago. Why are we commenting on breastfeeding when there are so many other factors to be resolved about the uniform. Did I forget the stench of tobacco on hair and skin and uniform that is disgusting especially caring for patients! How about people who are abusing alcohol and drugs…cursing …treating others impolitely or disrespectful. I suppose compare all the other qualities we could comment on… breastfeeding in uniform in public is # 1 to deal with first because so many mothers breastfeed in uniform in public …Really!!!!!!!!!

  23. I should amend to say that there is no requirement for a Soldier to be in uniform to take their child to a clinic appointment. If a Soldier has the time and desire to change clothes before taking the child to the appointment, they can. However, the idea that they must or should do this in order to breastfeed is absurd.

    While we can all agree that professionalism is a key to being in the military, I fail to see how breastfeeding, a normal biological function, is not in keeping with professional standards. That would be like saying pregnancy is unprofessional because it depicts the woman as a mother and forces her to be accommodated with a uniform that is specific to her condition. Like many other normal things, there is an attempt to make them seem abnormal, or to imply that if the military wanted someone to have a child, they would have issued them one.

    We are in the 21st century and need to seriously reconsider our perspectives on the Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine as an individual who does indeed have a personal life. In an all volunteer force, we clearly see that when the military refuses to flex on a wide variety of family issues service members, men and women alike, simply get out. There may be some who feel this is appropriate. I’d rather have an entire brigade of breastfeeding mothers than one full of those Soldiers left behind when all of the breastfeeding mothers get out because the military at large doesn’t value everything they contribute to society. They have already demonstrated their passion and dedication to the military by remaining in while pregnant and raising a newborn, as well as to their families. They will serve me better overall when I ensure they can meet both types of obligation and will serve me better in the long run because they realize that the military is worth whatever hardships are inherent in military duty. There is no reason for military leaders to instill additional hardships that have no measurable benefit to the unit and often have negative consequences when those members do get out or when we must later accommodate those members because their children are repeatedly sick at a day care situation.

    Furthermore, every military hospital claims, as the evidence clearly shows, that breastfeeding is the best feeding option for newborns. I believe three services (Air Force, Navy, and Marines) have policies about deferring deployments for breastfeeding mothers because of the benefit to mother, infant, and retention. Yet, with all of this, we would speculate that allowing mothers time to pump and the ability to breastfeed in uniform when necessary somehow impedes our military readiness or affects professionalism? How delicate is our readiness status and how unstable is our level of professionalism that in order to follow through on what we KNOW is best for all involved that we would attempt to make policies or statements adverse to the practice of breastfeeding to protect those? Frankly, it sounds like poor leadership to me. Perhaps leadership might be better served to focus on actual readiness, or on real problems like PTSD, DUI, or other issues that have a clear and negative impact on whether a unit is prepared to do its mission when called.

  24. I am a military brat turned military wife. I am the mother of four children that were all breastfeed. I wouldn’t have a problem with a mother nursing their child in uniform, I have a problem with seeing a woman’s exposed breasts while in uniform. It’s a matter of modesty.

  25. I’m proud of these women. There is no disgrace in this photo. There should be no loss of respect as far as your male counterparts are concerned, they will either respect you or find reasons not to, that’s the way of things.
    These women are doing what is natural and good and with all the life and death choices you have to make, this picture shows life and life lived to the fullest.
    What I considered disgraceful is having to run to a bathroom everytime my baby was hungry. It was humiliating to sit in the same room that people were urinating and defacating in, just to feed my little one, because someone, somewhere was offended.
    Our children deserve our best, in or out of uniform.

  26. I’m sorry people have just got to get a live of their own instead of trying to rain on other mom’s because it doesn’t fit with their life style. Get real people there is nothing wrong with what these ladies face every day get a life and leave these ladies alone. Way to go mom’s keep up the fight and thanks for serving for us……Thanks

  27. I’m a mom & a civilian but I breasfed & think it is great for any woman to be able to do so uniform or not. I can understand where some ppl might come from but I don’t think it’s disrespectful in any way to the unifrom. I’m a civilian & would never look at a military mom breastfeeding & think otherwise. I don’t like the exposed view though, they have breasfeeding covers so it’s more private. I never just pulled my breast out in out in public for everyone & God to see. I’m cheap so I just used a blanket to cover up. The picture of the military mom feeding her twins is a little much for me. I think the breasfeeding is great but I don’t want to see her breasts nor would I want to see anyone elses, on a base, in a resturant, at the park, etc. Breasfeeding is the best for your baby so the fact ppl would want different is crazy talk to me. Our childeren of the future deserve the best we as parents can give them.

  28. Before I had a chance to read about this, I first saw the picture and was absolutely horrifed. Then I continued to read the piece and could not believe some of the comments and support. I absolutely agree with the former female Marine captain who expressed her disapproval. She expressed my feelings ON THE MONEY and with much more grace and clarity than I can verbalize. How can women fight for equality in the military if they do not ACT equally? Do you really think it is appropriate to ask to be in combat AND breastfeed? My father, brother, and husband all serve in the armed forces so I have been raised and surrounded my entire life with military ethic. As a BG’s daughter, I can assure you of the respect and moral compass that is required in all branches. These pictures are entirely unacceptable and damaging not only to the military’s image, but particularly WOMEN in the military. My reaction to this picture was WORSE than recent images of miltary mishaps overseas. I would expect women, with all of the complaining and foritifying to be “EQUAL”, to have more common sense than to disrespect our nation by baring their breasts to the world in a blatant act of display IN UNIFORM. I cannot even begin to justify such a blatant act. This is absolutely embarassing and another blow to the integrity of our armed forces and only reaffirms that women are NOT equal. Combat??? Really???

    • I feel that breast feeding is a beautiful thing between mother and child, I repeat between mother and child only. When I see the photos all I can see is a woman showing her breast to anyone. I think the women should cover their breast. I would throw a diaper over my shoulders to conceal my breast and continue to feed my baby.

    • Hmm…”This is absolutely embarassing and another blow to the integrity of our armed forces and only reaffirms that women are NOT equal. Combat??? Really???” Sexist…Impressive. Tell me when our armed forces’ integrity gets damaged, or at least when they say it is, and I’ll say you are right. Until then, become a woman, have a child, then tell me how they can act equally here. I think priority comes to the child then the military. Besides, not like they are asking to shoot at terrorists while feeding their baby at the same time like you said. Does it look like they are shooting guns in the pic?

  29. All who question a Military Woman’s right to breast feed would do well to acquaint themselves with Rudyard Kipling’s verse – “The Female of the Species” and truly know it’s meaning.

    (He was also wise enough to warn of military adventures in Afghanistan)

    “WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
    He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
    But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
    He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
    But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
    They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
    ‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
    For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
    But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale—
    The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
    Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
    Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
    To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

    Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
    To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
    Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
    Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

    But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
    Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
    And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
    The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

    She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
    May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
    These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
    She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

    She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
    As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
    And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
    Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

    She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
    Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
    He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
    Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

    Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
    Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
    Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
    And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

    So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
    With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
    Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
    To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

    And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
    Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
    And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
    That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.”

  30. People are confused. Breast were placed on women for feeding our babies. Much of our society has lost touch with that fact.

  31. there is not a reason. if it a problem then the men should not remove there shrits if they have the rest unform on just do to work . Women should not be held at diferent levels . being a mom is work . the hole topless thing should work for both sexes . my wife breast feed both my children and she worked with out hiding out to do any thing

  32. In or out of uniform has nothing to do with what the real issue is. I have breastfed 4 babies. I feel that is the best way for the baby, however, there is nothing wrong with using a little discretion. It’s absolutely ridiculous to be so exposed. I mean what are you trying to prove by exposing yourself that way????Yes, it is a perfectly natural act to breastfeed your baby and to have that bond. However, putting yourself on display that way in not. Not everyone is comfortable with this. So throwing it up in their faces is definitely not the best way to win someone over or to change their view. People have different views on how this should be done..People feel the way they do, that is a simple fact of life. If we want respect then we have to give respect in return…That we have to respect peoples feelings, sensitivities, I mean that is what these women are asking for, so what is it only a one-way street here?

  33. Breastfeeding a baby in uniform is not professional and you are out of uniform. In your blog you state, “Mom leaves her workplace in uniform (remember, she is NOT on leave so she must be in uniform to be seen at the clinic).” This statement is not true and you know it. There is no requirement to wear your uniform to an appointment anywhere (whether it is your appointment or your baby’s appointment). All you need is a CAC card to prove your identity for an appt and when I took my kids to Bethesda Naval hospital, I always wore civilian clothes. So, if you decide to wear your uniform to the appointment then you simply should not breastfeed in public. There is a reason for this and it is the same reason why you cannotdo the following things in public: carry a handbag, have long hair, have long nails, make out with your boyfriend/husband, or spit, chew, smoke, talk on your cell phone, etc. This issue is about proper military bearing and not only are you “out of uniform” in the photo by exposing your chest and unbuttoning your shirt but you are also outside without your headgear which is also out of uniform. So typical Air Force– I am sorry but you guys seriously have absolutely no standards when it comes to appearance and military bearing. It is the same thing with jewelry and long nails-if I had a nickle for every Air Force female I have seen wearing unathorized jewelry and too long nails, I would be a wealthy woman. Anyway, I have no problems with breastfeeding. In fact, I breastfed all of my children until they were 6 months old using pumps and I NEVER breastfed in public in uniform. This is an embarassment to all women who wear a uniform. Thanks Air Force! What is next? – are you going to sue to try and bring your baby to the field or to work with you? And we wonder why women are constantly fighting stereotypes in the military……

      • “Out of uniform” is a term that is used in the military (Army specifically) when your uniform is incomplete or screwed up in some way. For example, their shirts are pulled up, they are missing their head gear, and their blouses are unbuttoned. This means that they are “out of uniform” and not within the Military regulation for wear and appearance of the AF Battle Uniform. The same thing would apply if they were getting a pedicure in uniform and their boots were off or if a guy in uniform was hot from working outside and took his shirt off.

        • we wernt allowed to remove our shirts without permission and if we got sun burn they call it damanging goverment propery, not only did you get a reprimanding but would go against your personal files and possibly dishonorable discharge, but that was before females came along and started changing the rules to sute them..

    • Iris,let me know if I am wrong or right on what I am about to say……as I remember, when I had appointments at the Base hospital or Clinic for myself or my children, Men and women that were in the service, if they were wearing their uniforms when they came for their appointment, they were seen first by their doctor( this was for just a regular Dr. appt. and not an emergency.

      • No-you have to have an appointment when you come to a clinic or hospital. If you go on “sick call” at 0630 through your unit then you would typcially be in uniform but you would most certainly not have your child with you. It does not matter if you are wearing your uniform or not. Furthermore, you would never take your child with you if you were going to see the doctor for a personal appointment. In fact, in the DC metro area it was strongly discouraged wearing your uniform outside of the office due to terrorist threats so most people would change into civilian clothes prior to leaving work.

  34. First of all, I am a mother and a grandmother; and I am definitely for breastfeeding an infant for all the obvious health and well-being reasons. Each of my grandchildren were breastfed as well as my own children.

    I have never been in the military but I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who serve. The military uniform is a symbol of service to anyone who sees it. Surely, we’d all agree on that. The uniform SHOULD represent total professionalism.

    Having said all this, I must admit the photograph bothered me. It is very incongruent. If these young women were in a private area on base, that would be fine; but apparently the issue here is nursing just like this in public view in your uniform. And, apparently, a nursing cover-up is not allowed? What if the young military woman is nursing just like this in public view on your base and a superior officer walks up? Just curious – what do you do?

    If you are a young woman in the military, you’ve made a choice. This is not about your right to be a mother and breastfeed your child. This is about military professionalism in public. I would never have breastfed my children in PUBLIC wearing my Registered Nurse uniform!

  35. Breastfeeding in uniform does not disrespect the military. Babies were made to breastfeeding and so were women. Women have the ability to be strong leaders and loving mothers at the same time. It’s silly to ask a marine to go change out of her uniform just because it is time to feed her child. All I would say to these women is “You Go Girl!”.

  36. I am so excited, I am about to be a first time mother. When I found out that I was pregnant, I had no interest in breastfeeding, but now that it is getting closer to my due date I have been doing my research. I want to make the right decisions for my son, and I have chosen whole heartedly to breastfeed him. My husband and I are more on the modest side. We feel that the only person that should see my breasts is him even if it’s not sexual, and I would feel extremely uncomfortable if he were to see a co workers breasts. I think that breastfeeding is a beautiful natural act! My husband is an officer in the AF. When female Airmen have approached him about breastfeeding their children, his answer is always ….. No, not in public for professional reasons as well as legal reasons! (He doesn’t want any males to bother the mother, and it turn into some kind of sexual harassment case) If the mother cannot breast feed at the CDC, he helps her find another opinion besides the restroom.

  37. Why is it wrong to breastfeed publicly in uniform? Because it’s all about perceptions. Whether you as a mother perceive breastfeeding as benign or not, others don’t. And in todays world of hyper sensitivity, your feelings don’t matter, it’s how the other person feels. You may be the receipient of an innocent remark, comment or glance, but if you pereive it as being harrassing, it is by definition harrassing, irrespective of the intent. If someone perceives you expossing your breasts, for whatever reason, as unprofessional, then it’s unprofessional.

    “Breasts aren’t sexual”. Are you joking me? Breasts are very sexual in today’s culture and heaven forbid if men see breasts that way. They may have been designed for a non-sexual function, but in our society they are a sexual appendage that is generally treated with modesty. If not, then why aren’t women walking around topless on hot summer days or why hanging out at the base pool? If you feel like breasts aren’t sexual and that mothers should be able to expose themselves why’ll breast feeding, then why only limit exposed breasts to nursing mothers? If it’s a question of equality for women then let’s whip them out for all to see. However, if we think it’s inappropriate for teenage boys to see “ta ta’s” on grandma at church then it’s probably inappropriate for his older brother to see his LT’s “knockers” at the BX.

    I also have issue with the comment that “no one gets in trouble for wearing sexy underwear and showing boobs while in uniform”. I don’t know what military you’re a part of but the last time I heard of an active duty female member doing a professional photo shoot in sexy underwear and showing her exposed breasts she was court-martialed. You may be referring to civilian models who done a vest top or the like but being civilians they aren’t under any restrictions from doing so.

    And finally, you may think it’s OK for you as a nursing mother to expose your breasts in public. But would you be OK if a young man sat down next to you and stared at your breasts as you did so? Probably not. Essentially you want society to conform to your desire to breast feed in public but yet, you wouldn’t feel comfortable if the young man didn’t conform to your sense of modesty by being discrete and not watching you.

    I’m all for breast feeding, but please don’t force your agenda or your sensibilities on me by doing it in public while in uniform.

    • Wow….You got it backwards there. Under your logic I could say that murder is good, and guess what…it would be good! “If someone perceives you expossing your breasts, for whatever reason, as unprofessional, then it’s unprofessional.” Alright boys, move along, this argument is over because according to this person we are all wrong because he said he is right. But wait..I think you are wrong..So who is the right one? Gentleman, I present you with the impossible to end argument.

  38. Breastfeeding is a natural process but I feel there should be a closeness between child and mother. The whole world does not want to see your boobs hanging out, have a little respect for yourself and cover them up. There should be a comfort level and respect for others. I nursed in a restaurant but was covered and noone but me could see my boob but an older couple shunned me for doing so. Oh well for them. I feel the lady on the right is respectful but the lady on the left is not. I would be put out with see her boobs hanging out for the world to see, she could be more considerate. But I feel there should be a happy medium metbut there ijs not problem with anyone breastfeeding respectivefully especially our military women.

  39. Breast feeding is a natural process and very positive experience for both mother and baby when you can do it. I will never understand why there is so much controversy over such a wonderful and natural process. If God had wanted it different he would not have given women the ability to provide food and nutrients through our breastmilk. In uniform, out of uniform, what is the big deal!!

  40. A beautiful picture. Best wishes Moms and little ones.
    79 year old, 33 years USAF and ANG, father of two.

  41. The difference is that this like many things out there need to be done with a small amount of decorum. I nursed also but I ALWAYS made sure that I had a small blanket or coverup with so that I did not have my breast(s) hanging out for the public to see. Whether in or out of uniform has NOTHING to do with it. There are many people out there that will not respect a woman who is nursing and and has everything that the baby does not have in its mouth hangung out. Yes there are many women that dress every day with little left to the imagination-do people respect her for it? Probably not-same goes here!

  42. Breast feeding is awesome. It benefits a baby’s health. In public is good. That’s what God made breast for.

  43. “There are NO polices or regulations in any of the military branches that either approve OR disapprove of breastfeeding in uniform.”

    Yes, there is. Military personnel may not be out of uniform while on duty. It’s not about whether breastfeeding is okay in uniform. It’s about being out of uniform. If your shoes are untied, you’re out of uniform. If you forgot to put on your belt, you’re out of uniform. If your shirt is untucked, you’re out of uniform. As a former sergeant in the Marines, I can’t believe any military service man or woman would be proud of presenting an unprofessional image to the civilian public. If you are going to breastfeed, put your civvies on or get out of the public eye.

  44. I’m a new mom and already have pumped in my car, the supply closet, the restroom and have had to skip sessions because of duty, resulting in extra pumping at night to make sure my son has enough milk for the next day. I feed my son everyday at the CDC along with one other active duty mother. I wish I could feed him every time he was hungry but for now I’ll settle for our lunch time visits even if it means I don’t get to eat. After returning to work I was unsure about feeding in uniform however our CDC encourages new moms to come by anytime and feed which made the decision easy.

  45. I personaly think it’s awesome that these women choose to breastfeed Even in uniform!! It makes Me respect them more. People can be so nerotic and i personally think a lot of people have their head shoved too fave up their but to realize that it’s completely natural and there should be nothing wrong with feeding a child in public wheather it be from a bottle or a breast. I Also think that MANY people forget that the soul purose for breast is to feed a child.

    They are Just Boobs people EVERYONE has them… Some are just bigger than others!! Get over it! 🙂

  46. I am a Navy brat, a former CTT3 (1985-1989), a Marine wife and mother of 5 who breast fed every one. I had my oldest son while stationed at NAVCAMS WESTPAC, Guam. I am sorry but you are out of uniform if you are nursing in public in uniform. No argument, no discussion. Just as a man could not hike his shirt/blouse/utility top up without being out of uniform, neither can we, regardless of reason, or specific regulation addressing or not addressing nursing in uniform. We are told what to wear, how to wear it and when to wear it, while in the military. We are told what to eat, when to eat and where to eat. We are told where to live, who will be our roommates, and when we will be home. You are projecting an image while in uniform. If tattoos, piercings and hair color is limited, why would breastfeeding be different?

  47. I’m ecstatic to see these photos have generated so much discussion. This is a serious issue that needs high level attention to make positive change for AD moms and their babies.

    As mentioned in previous posts, in the AF there is an AFI that governs breast feeding; however, we all know that doesn’t mean the AFI is actually followed. I have spoken with AD Amn who quit breast feeding as soon as they went back to work because they were uncomfortable talking to their male bosses about it, or there wasn’t a private place to go, or the culture is to persecute those who are trying to “get out of work”, etc.

    The more everyone can be educated on the benefits of breast feeding, for mom, baby, and the organization, the more acceptance there will be. I have done a lot of research on this topic and interviewed several AD moms on their experiences. Education is where we need to start to change the culture.

    I am AD and have breastfed my three children and intend to breast feed the one on the way. I would like to see a change to the regulations to defer both deployments and PT testing for 12 months for breast feeding moms. Currently the policy is 6 months for all mothers. I believe this would encourage breast feeding for those mothers undecided and also support those who choose to breast feed. Of course there would be individuals who abuse the system, but that’s with everything and not a reason to support everyone else.

    Thanks for this website and bringing attention to an important issue facing AD moms.

  48. As a former Marine, Active Duty, I am appalled by the notion that any service woman would feel it is appropriate to breast feed a child while in uniform. I believe it is an utter disgrace to all women before us who made many sacrifices for the roles we have today. I believe it is an honor to be a woman, a mother, and a Marine. I believe those who chose to breast feed in uniform are only making a joke of the hard work and dedication of service women in the past. You wanted to participate in a career that is slightly more demanding than that of say a receptionist, housewife, lawyer, doctor, writer, etc. so you should adhere to a more professional standard and take your job more seriously. I guess if you didn’t mean it when you took the oath to serve our country in the military than you should do your best to find some other occupation. There are other occupations that this is just as inappropriate. Would you want a teacher breastfeeding in front of your children? Would you want a law enforcement officer breast feeding in a squad car? There are many women in the military who chose to breast feed and didn’t need to stuff their child under there BDU shirt and Cami Blouse. It is disgraceful and disgusting.

    • Breastfeeding, a.k.a. feeding your child, is never disgusting or inappropriate. As an Active Duty Army Officer and mother, I am proud to wear the uniform just as I am proud to be the best mother I can be, and offer my child the best start to their lives. There should be no shame in breastfeeding. EVER.

      • breast feeding isnt the issue, breast feeding in uniform is and you should disgrace the uniform by showing your breast in public.

        • rod the man was made bfore woman ,then she got pregant then feed her babies on the breast ,Then in many years to come man made war ,women have always been the underdog to men .So if the breast and baby was made before MEN made war ,I believe that breast feeding the baby comes first .And when time begain women breast feed their babies ,because that was how babies was fed .And beast feeding was done long before the uniform .Women feed your babies as you want to .Im more discusted in a military man drunk pissing on trees and hiding behind the car door pissing in public that seeing a woman feeding her child .

          • Betty,
            Would you please use spell check, or have someone proof read your response before posting any comments in the future.

            The English Language.

          • People could understand your comment if you could correctly spell a word longer than three letters.

      • As an active duty Army officer, I think you are completely wrong, Nicole. Do you think that Soldiers would honestly take someone seriously whose breast is currently exposed? I think that would have a somewhat diminishing effect on one’s command presence.

        Just the same as excessive displays of public affection in uniform are inappropriate, as is breastfeeding one’s child. Is there anything wrong with either? Not in and of themselves; they become inappropriate while in uniform because they both display that at this particular moment, there is something more important than the uniform you’re wearing. At all times in uniform it should be self evident to any passerby that nothing usurps the importance of the flag on your shoulder. Unblousing your ACU top and exposing your breast, for any reason, usurps that importance.

        Finally, I do not believe that AR 670-1 makes allowance for breastfeeding, but hey, you could always write SMA a letter if you’d like. We seem to be in a experimental stage in the Army’s life when it comes to discipline standards anyway, go for it.

        • First off sir, if you’re a soldier and cannot take someone seriously who is BREASTFEEDING, not flashing like they’re on spring break, that’s on you. Your comment reminds me how misogynistic the Army was, and I was just as guilty as the rest of them. But Ive been out for a while now and grew up allot once I left the Alpha Male society that is the Army. Yes AR 670-1 does regulate the wear of a uniform. But are you not allowed to UN-blouse and UN-cover while on a work detail? Have you ever seen someone correct an ODA soldier’s uniform or facial hair while in Iraq or Afghanistan? What does AR 670-1 say about full beards and cut off sleeves? Breastfeeding is not a disgrace to the uniform, making a woman feel uncomfortable feeding her own child while still serving the nation in a time of war is. AR 670-1 allows for some commanders discretion, and it their commander says OK, than stay in your own lane. If you don’t like it, then you talk to the SMA about it.

        • Dan –

          Some people would be unfortable seeing their (civilian) boss or (military) CO wearing shorts away from the office or sucking at basketball. If that or anything else, not immoral or illegal, affects your ability to do your job and follow orders, you need to find another line of work.

          To be clear, I am also uncomfortable when around breastfeeding mothers. (I never know my gaze should rest to carry on conversation without revealing my discomfort.) However, that is MY hangup and insisting that the rest of the world comport with my prejudices is a recipe for disaster. Moreover, equating it with PDA is specious. Breastfeeding is intended to be innocuous, so a better analogy would be crying in uniform. Either breastfeeding or crying does not exactly exude a military bearing, but we don’t expect our servicemembers to be automatons. And you would never express such outrage at an airman mourning the loss of a comrade.

          Dan, you are young, so you haven’t learned this yet, but you will: the world is rarely black-and-white, and those days when it is usually are quite bloody. Seek nuance and plurality and try to foster a sense of empathy in the world. Or at least give yourself the gift of finding it in yourself.

          • Methinks Dan’s discomfort with a fellow soldier or an officer breastfeeding her offspring stems from the same sort of discomfort that men used to feel about serving alongside women. ANY women.

            The military has a misogynistic streak that will probably not be solved any time soon, which is also why sexual assault of female personnel is appallingly high. The misogyny, in turn, mirrors that found in the civilian population, so the only way to deal with it would be to end our culture of misogyny.

            I rather suspect that when American society has cured itself of its little Madonna/whore complex, nursing mothers both in and out of uniform won’t face a force of angry modesty/decorum police.

        • “Do you think that Soldiers would honestly take someone seriously whose breast is currently exposed? I think that would have a somewhat diminishing effect on one’s command presence.”

          These women are not commanding or dealing while feeding, but dealing with a bodily function. I’m purposefully headed down a slippery slope here, however, I assume that males expose themselves when going to the bathroom while in uniform. Does whipping out a penis to urinate diminish command? Or do you go home to change in that regard to?

        • If seeing your commanding officer breastfeeding a child makes you unable to perform your duty, you’re a crap soldier. Plain and simple, I won’t beat around the bush like others here. Please, find a new profession.

          We need strong and honorable individuals defending our country, not some immature high school student who can’t look at a breast without giggling. What are you going to do when you see a tit on the battlefield? Run away then cry about it online?

        • Dan, I’m a citizen. I would absolutely not consider a soldier who is feeding their child “exposed”. Nor would I respect a police officer any less if she was in uniform and had a baby at her breast. I respect her for giving her baby the very best start, and so should you! I’d like to think the ignorance in those complaining about an ‘exposed’ boob is because they continue to see breasts as sex objects.

          A person in an authoritative position is getting no less respect from me because of the way she choses to feed her child.

        • “At all times in uniform it should be self evident to any passerby that nothing usurps the importance of the flag on your shoulder.”

          This disgusting sentiment provides an example of just how deranged military culture is.

        • The core problem here, Dan, is the idea in our society that breastfeeding is shameful. That breasts are shameful. Yes, many women use them as accessories, which I don’t have a particular problem with either, but they actually serve a real purpose. Feeding our children. There is so much history that attributes why we have this stigma with breasts and breastfeeding. It is way more complicated than many people realize. But just because it is our social norm to have this stigma, doesn’t make it right. The change has to start somewhere, and it’s been changing very slowly over recent years. I don’t consider breastfeeding in public as being “exposed”, even if there is a little breast showing. These women are not out there flashing people walking by, they are actually DOING something that is necessary and GOOD. Do you see the difference? Breastfeeding in uniform should be no more shameful than sitting down to eat lunch ourselves while in uniform.

    • Amanda,

      Is it any less disgusting to smoke in uniform? Smoking is a dirty, smelly, unhealthy, expensive habit which can cause a LIFETIME of health issues, not to mention secondhand smoke issues. Yet that is not an issue.

      • smoking – you go to the smoke gazebo
        drinking – you go home
        breastfeeding – you go behind a closed door

        There is a time and a place for everything. In public is not it in many cases.

      • CAROL ROOD

        Actually if you ask any Marine they will tell you that smoking in uniform in public is not allowed, eating and walking in uniform is not allowed, chewing bubble gum in uniform in public really isnt even an acceptable behavior sooooo, yes it is just as disgusting as shoving a child up your shirt.

        Marines also do not go into civilian stores in uniform, run around off base in uniform, etc. Do your research before you comment please. I do not know how the other services operate but as a Marine I can speak educated about it.

        People who chose to accept the duties, honors, and rules of being in the military should think before they act.

        Again, it is disgraceful and disgusting

        • “I do not know how the other services operate but as a Marine I can speak educated about it.”

          Not on the basis of that grammar…

          “People who chose to accept the duties, honors, and rules of being in the military should think before they act.”

          Our nation should not endorse/support/maintain/fund an institution where superficial hooey like whether you chew gum in uniform is more important than making sure the house you’re bombing with that predator drone isn’t actually full of innocent civilians.

    • Thank you Amanda . The uniform should stand for something other that a new wave for breast feeders. When you see the uniform your look up on as strong tought and able to compelete a task to die for. No enemy is going to go for hold on while I feed my child, and that is the meening the military is giving us. 101st aba

      • ROD

        I agree. I have friends who have lost theirs live proudly serving our country. The military is not summer camp it is not a job IT IS A LIFESTYLE and those who have decided to join have agreed to, for how ever long the contract, represent our military.

        To me these photos and what they stand for only diminish the respect and admiration that should be sparked when you see a service person.

        It actually made me think…what a joke. The very first thing I did was thank god they were not Marines.

        • Rod, have mothers always brought newborns into war or this is a new development in the military? Think critically honey.

          • do you R think its ok to take a baby in war. do you think we have become more civilize that the civil war or ww1 or ww2. the military is a training ground for war practice. 12 hour bivouac, hiking 6 hours,camping out for 6 days. not a place for a baby. mothers milk can be put in bottles and fed just as well at home with out disrespecting the uniform..

          • Rod, these women do not have babies in the field. This is not about babies in the field or at warfare. Please read for comprehension.

            Hyperbole is not a good trait in people who serve.

        • maybe the military shouldn’t be starting so many wars in the first place, and then it wouldn’t be a problem.

      • CINDY
        Very good Cindy. So those who choose to do that need to find a career that suits traditional motherly tasks.

        I am a mother and was a mother when I was active duty. Never once did my career come before my child. Never once did my child intrude in my duties.

        It is a life choice. If it were easy than everyone would do it. Your military people sacrafice a lot of things that you take for granted so, just add breatfeeding in uniform to that list.

          • The whole problem with your comments, Rod and Amanda, are that you are still under the impression that breastfeeding is somehow not natural and that it is disgusting. It is the entire reason why women have breasts! It is the breasts’ duty and reason for existing! If that is the way you feel, then you should petition that women should not be aloud in the military. Or that if we are, then we should be sterilized. I serve my country proudly, and wear my uniform proudly. And I will support any woman who needs to feed her child, and has the rare opportunity to do so while on duty. Breastfeeding is not shameful…it is a GOOD thing. Therefore it should in no way shame our uniform. No woman should have to hide.

    • I’m a reporter with The Daily, the national iPad newspaper owned by News Corp. If you have a minute to speak with me today about the controversy over breastfeeding, please call me today at


      It would have to be today but I’d only need a few minutes of your time. Thank you,

      Mara Gay
      reporter, The Daily

    • The appalling issue at hand is purely your attitude toward feeding a baby! I am a sister of a soldier who is well aware of the code of conduct, ethics & the uniform rule of professional conduct. I AM ALSO A CITIZEN of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and MOTHER. I am NOT, however, in total agreement of all aspects of attachment parenting. Nor did I chose to nurse all of my 4 children. With that said, I realize, RESPECT & ACCEPT that all parents parent differently.

      The problem with nursing children in public has nothing to do with the mother chosing to do so. The problem lies with breasts being sensationalized as sexual objects. When YOU chose to STOP looking at “boobies” as sex objects maybe then you can see that GOD gave ALL WOMAN breasts for the SOLE PURPOSE of nursing our born. Not for sexual gratification!

      As a CITIZEN, seeing a nursing mother in uniform says NOTHING more to me than “She is a MOTHER!” Her uniform also tells me she is the property of the United STATES of AMERICA fighting for your right to make asinine comments about the way she choses to feed her baby! I look at her NO DIFFERENTLY than I would look at another mother or father in uniform giving their baby a bottle of formula in the Pediatricians office on base.

      At the end of the day, she is still serving our country with pride & thankful she is with her child to put him/her to bed at night and not in a third world country prepared to sacrifice her life as someone else takes care of her baby.

      Your RIGHT, we have came a long way in our roles of being woman. Being a woman here means we have many more liberties to parent the way we wish. YOU of all people should know that with serving in the military yourself. (Thank you for that, by the way!) I’m shocked and appalled at your “Disgusting” comment on mothers making a ‘joke’ of nursing in uniform. There is NO JOKE and nothing disgusting about a mother feeding her child. The joke falls on those who see breasts as sexual objects, not those mothers who are feeding a hungry child. Does it really matter what she is wearing?

      • I have no problem with breastfeeding, no problem with breastfeeding in public, no problem with feeding your child.

        Yes it does matter what she is wearing. Do you think a female member of our judiciary would sit on the bench, hike up her robe, and feed her child? Most likely not.

        All I am saying is use good judgement. That’s all.

        It is a disgrace to see that.

        • Most likely, she would be in an open court session. However, I see NOTHING wrong with her “hiking up her robe” and feeding her child if she was in the hallway or in a room with other people. I still look at her as a professional and a mother.

          You say “hiking up her robe” as if you are speaking of a sexual act. Again, I think if you would honestly remember, breasts are not sexual objects maybe you too would see, feeding your child is completely acceptable, no matter where you are and what you are doing. If you truly believed your first paragraph; “I have no problem with breastfeeding, no problem with breastfeeding in public, no problem with feeding your child.” you too would be defending the right of all mothers who chose to feed their children this way. Regardless of their profession or what they are wearing.

          Those who call breastfeeding mothers “unprofessional” are truly ignorant in the purest form of the word. How you chose to feed your baby is NOT unprofessional. Pulling down your pants to show your crotch in public just because you want to get a reaction out of someone would certainly be UNPROFESSIONAL! (And insulting to me.) I’m reading that you see no difference in breastfeeding or someone showing their ass (literally) in public.

          • I am not sure why you believe I feel there is anything sexual about breastfeeding but trust me that is not the case.

            I am simply saying that there are certain professions that one should not breastfeed while wearing the uniform.

            It is people who are unable to see past their burning bra that no one is trying to take away a mother’s right to breastfeed. It is not appropriate in some cases to do so. Many women in the role of military or other uniformed service have worked very hard for the respect and equality in these types of professions. For someone who has never participated it may be hard to understand why such an act is degrading to the uniform or downplays the hard work and dedication of the women who fought for these positions.

            That is by no means sexualizing breastfeeding.

        • That’s ridiculous. No one is talking about walking around at work breastfeeding your baby non-stop. What soldier is going to breastfeed ON duty?? It’s called a lunch break. I worked 12 hour shifts and pumped 2 to 3 times in a shift. I took 15 minute breaks. Just like everyone else had who was not nursing a child. I got no special treatment. I ate my lunch with one hand and held the pump with the other. The only time a soldier would be breastfeeding in uniform is if she was at work taking a break. And she shouldn’t have to be banished to the broom closet to do so. If you have a problem with it, it is YOUR problem. Not the mother’s.

          • And Amanda, you say that we women have fought hard to earn the respect and equality to wear the uniform. Yes, we have. But by no means have we given up our womanhood to do so. That was not part of the deal. When I took the oath years ago, I never said that I was becoming less of a woman, and was therefore equal to the men I serve next to. No. We fight to BE women in the military. Equality doesn’t mean we are the same as men. It means we are treated with respect AS a WOMAN.

      • I can assure you, my bra is not burning. I have four children who were fed differently for varying reasons. I’m not an advocate for attached parenting, nor am I an advocate for breastfeeding. I’m simply a mother who respects the rights and varying parenting styles of other parents.

        I can also assure you, had I been afforded the honor to serve & protect our country, I would not look at any woman with disgrace for feeding their child while in uniform. Nor would I expect someone to judge me for the way I feed my child. Whether it be in uniform out in public or in my sweats at home in private.

        Your absolutely correct, woman who are in these respectful positions fought hard for our rights for equality. God chose woman to be able to birth children, and only woman can feed her child naturally….in no way whatsoever should this have anything to do with equality. Its NATURAL. No woman should be made to be ashamed for doing what God intended for her to do. We fought hard to gain equal rights in our society. HOWEVER, This has nothing to do with the natural progression of the circle of life. And in my opinion, equal rights & being able to birth (and nurse) a child have no business being compared.

    • Amanda – I HIGHLY DOUBT you are a Marine. Note the present tense “are”. You say you are a former Marine – I guess you missed the part where they said “Once a Marine, always a Marine”.

      Go back to your cartoons now and you keep hoping – maybe you will one day be fit to lick a REAL MARINE’S BOOTS.

      • whether Amanda is a marine or not isnt the issue, just like your not a American nor were you ever in a military position.

      • Your comment speaks to your ignorance. Look it up sweetheart. ExMarine is the improper verbage. Former Marine is because yes “Once a Marine, always a Marine” educate yourself before you speak.

    • OMG, AMEN…Someone has the same view as me. Discrace is what this is…and all it does is keep women from advancing in the military.

    • First off I want to point out that I’m not a breast-feeding partisan. I believe that women should have the unfettered right to breastfeed, and that there is nothing shameful or wrong or unfit for public places/children/anyone about breastfeeding. On the other hand, I also believe that breast feeding advocates go to far in demonizing formula, advocating for older children to breastfeed, and generally trying to make everyone raise children in a manner the advocates think is best.

      But your comment is horrible.

      “if you didn’t mean it when you took the oath to serve our country in the military than you should do your best to find some other occupation. ”

      1. The entire concept of being in uniform, and the associated idea that one needs to be in uniform to serve one’s country, are both completely ridiculous. Uniforms as an emblem of conformity and order are a vapid, soul-deadening symbol. You, or anyone else, would do far more honor to your profession by refusing to conform than by hectoring breast-feeding mothers.

      2. You volunteered to give up your autonomy and join an organization that could potentially make you kill people for no good reason at the behest of power-hungry imperialists (oh, but wait, you’re female, so the armed forces are officially too bigoted to treat you as an equal and send you into combat), and you have the nerve to claim that your profession is “more demanding” than other professions? Appalling. I could do you job, but I wouldn’t, because having to follow . With thousands of civilians dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere as a direct result of US military actions, for you to be worried that *breast feeding* makes “joke of the hard work and dedication of service women” is somehow both depressing and hilarious.

      “There are other occupations that this is just as inappropriate. Would you want a teacher breastfeeding in front of your children? Would you want a law enforcement officer breast feeding in a squad car? ”

      3. I see no problem with breast feeding in these situations. Why do you hate the human body and the process of providing nutrition for babies?

      “It is disgraceful and disgusting.”

      4. IFF by “it” you meant “my comment” then I applaud you for accuracy.

  49. I am a retired female military officer. The wearing of the uniform must gain the respect of others. I feel very strongly that respect for both the uniform and for women would be compromised should women breast-feed in uniform in public. Women have fought the battle for equal rights and must be cognizant of the fact that they are still in the stage of proving themselves as equals in society and should always remain professional while in uniform. Professional women do not breast-feed in public, and female soldiers, who are professionals, should not either.

    • I am 100% in agreement with Amanda, article written in response to breast-feeding in uniform issue on May 30th, 2012 @ 8:24 P.M.

    • I completely agree with MAJ Forbes. The issue at hand IS NOT BREAST FEEDING. The issue is that there are certain activities & actions that service-members of the US Armed Forces may or may not do while in public. These two women made a very poor choice & did not exercise good judgement. Breast feeding in public does not render a professional appearance & personal opinions or feelings should never be placed above that.

    • By that notion, women must present the same appearance as men in order to be equal.

      Sorry ma’am, but I’m not a man, I’m a woman and a mother. I do not have to masculinize myself in order to be equal to my male counterparts. I need to do my job, and do it well, and be willing to drop everything for the mission. I don’t remember denying my children the very best start in life when I took the oath.

      It goes to the very heart of women in the workplace. If expressing femininity is seen as unprofessional, THAT’S the problem, not how that femininity is expressed. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are intimately female acts. If I must divest myself of an essential element of my nature to be a good servicemember, then the military is guilty of false advertising.

      • AMEN!! As I said above: “…Women have fought hard to earn the respect and equality to wear the uniform. Yes, we have. But by no means have we given up our womanhood to do so. That was not part of the deal. When I took the oath years ago, I never said that I was becoming less of a woman, and was therefore equal to the men I serve next to. No. We fight to BE women in the military. Equality doesn’t mean we are the same as men. It means we are treated with respect AS a WOMAN.”

    • Major Forbes,

      Why is it okay to smoke in uniform, which is a smelly, unhealthy, expensive and IMO disgusting habit? How is that professional to do in uniform? I would MUCH rather see a military mom breastfeeding in uniform than EVER see a person with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth in uniform.

      I am a retired US Navy Corpsman, by the way, so I have definitely seen my share of the ill effects of smoking.

    • I keep reading comments about soldiers being “warfighting professionals”. They have to maintain the image of one who can command an army, fly into combat….

      There is something so powerful in these images, in the sense that I am reminded that these women can not only take lives when commanded to do so, but can GIVE life, too. There’s nothing inferior, subservient, embarrassing, unprofessional or disrespectful about that.

      Men and women are not equals. Try as you might, we never will be.

      • There is a distinct difference between being in the military and being a civilian. We are held to higher strictures of law and discipline as a fundamental, self imposed, belief. Only 1% of the population is fit to be a part of the military and 85% of that spectrum is male. Men and women are held to different physical standards, but in every other aspect we are treated as equals. In societies where the military is important, soldiers are dressed to impress the population and themselves. One of the first ideals that is driven into our subconscious is to respect our uniform because it has a higher meaning and purpose then the materials it is made of. It is almost as ideological as the flag itself. This is directly from AFI 36-2903 for Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel:

        1.1. Basic Philosophy and Enforceability.
        1.1.1. The Air Force philosophy is that the uniform will be plain, distinctive, and
        standardized. This standardization includes a minimum and maximum number of authorized
        badges, insignia, and devices.
        1.1.2. Pride in one’s personal appearance and wearing the uniform, greatly enhances the
        esprit de corps essential to an effective military force. Therefore, it is most important for all
        Airmen to maintain a high standard of dress and personal appearance. The five elements of
        this standard are neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity, and military image. The first four
        are absolute, objective criteria needed for the efficiency and well-being of the Air Force. The
        fifth, military image is subjective, but necessary. Appearance in uniform is an important part
        of military image. Judgment on what is the proper image differs in and out of the military.
        The American public and its elected representatives draw certain conclusions on military
        effectiveness based on the image Airmen present. The image must instill public confidence
        and leave no doubt that Airmen live by a common standard and respond to military order and
        discipline. The image of a disciplined and committed Airman is incompatible with the
        extreme, the unusual, and the fad. Every Airman has a responsibility to maintain an
        ―acceptable military image,‖ as well as the right, within limits, to express individuality
        through his or her appearance.
        1.1.3. A very important part of the military image an Airman projects and the impression
        they create is how he/she wears their uniform. As with other personal appearance standards,
        the Air Force emphasizes a ―neat, clean, professional‖ image. Member’s have a
        responsibility to keep their uniform clean, pressed (excluding the Airman Battle Uniform)
        and in good repair. Also, members are responsible for knowing the authorized uniform
        combinations and the correct placement of ribbons, insignia, badges and other uniform items.
        1.1.4. Commanders do not have the authority to waive grooming and appearance standards
        except as identified in Chapter 3, paragraph of this instruction.

        This regulations clearly state that the uniform will at all times maintain an “acceptable military image”. Which means, if a man has his blouse open and his shirt askew in public he is wrong just as much as any woman is. This has nothing to do with breastfeeding it is purely about the professional military image. I am all for women breastfeeding their children and I agree that it is the healthier choice, but doing so in uniform is wrong.

        As for smoking, does it in anyway alter the uniform? No.

        • I appreciate your having spelled out the semiotic meaning of the uniform; my father was in the military, many of my friends were military brats, some of my significant others joined various branches of the military. Civilians don’t comprehend that the uniform has more significance than, say, a McDonald’s uniform.


          You don’t clearly indicate why nursing a baby in uniform sullies the uniform’s meaning and dignity.

          Is it a breach of decorum? Why, exactly?

          Is it the act of showing a small amount of skin while feeding the baby? That can be remedied with discreet nursing panels sewn into the uniform.

          Is it that the action reveals that the soldier in question possesses breasts? That can’t be helped. Women have been serving in the military for quite some time, and women have breasts. Using them to feed babies shows off a lot less breast than, say, exercising while wearing a tee shirt, the latter of which shows a clear outline if not the actual breasts themselves.

          Is it that nursing a baby is too tender, too nurturing, too feminine, too intimate, and this is disruptive to the military environment, especially when it’s a female officer doing it? Better also forbid bottle feeding, baby cuddling, heck, changing diapers. Those are also intimate acts of baby care.

          I think ultimately, the argument boils down to “This gives people the creeps, and we don’t need to deal with that.” Which is the same reason civilians get into arguments over public nursing. Only, it’s dressed up in uniform. “Don’t do that. We don’t need to know about your breastfeeding.”

          DADT got repealed recently, too, despite protests that basically amounted to “we don’t want to deal with queerfolk in the military because some of us find it creepy.” If we can accept LGBT fighters laying their lives on the line for us and defending our freedom, I think we can accept the same of mothers who feed their babies the way G-d intended them to be fed.

          Good grief.

  50. I believe that to everything that this should be done at a certain time, and in a certain place and in a certain manner. I think that there is nothing wrong in being discreet about nursing. I nursed my three under the shield of a dry cloth bib and it served me discreetly. I, however, was not in a uniform, which I feel isn’t the issue, but whether how much is being displayed. I guess what I am saying is that I am modest about nursing.

    • Modesty is subjective. You did what worked best for yourself and your child. Other moms do what works best for them.

  51. As a father of a 2 month old, husband to an ex-Coastie, and a Naval Officer. I see this very disrespectful. My wife breastfeeds and she refuses to pull out a breast in public, with the only exception being in the back set of our truck that has tinted windows, which prevents anyone from seeing.

    Wearing the uniform is an honor and to disgrace it by improperly wearing it outside is a violation of the uniform regulations. To say it isn’t means the proper research was not conducted. It doesn’t make breastfeeding a specific violation, but it is to find where the regulation is violated. Also, breastfeeding violation of the UCMJ for indecent exposure. I have yet to see my wife breastfeed where there is no skin showing.

    My wife also has to go to the military medical facilities and has yet had a problem in getting a private room to breastfeed our little one. This has nothing to do with rank since I am hardly ever in uniform for appointments.

    I respect your right to breastfeed just not in public and in uniform. If you need a private room at work notify your supervisor and if that doesn’t work notify the officer. We are required to ensure a safe and ethical work atmosphere. I don’t consider it safe to breastfeed in a bathroom so I would never settle for that.

    • Yes! God bless you and your fasmily, James!
      God bless all our men and women in the United States Military and Coast Guard and God bless the USA!

    • Would you object to a parent bottle feeding their infant in uniform? If not then breastfeeding is perfectly acceptable as well. It is just food. If you can die in combat in your uniform you sure as heck better be able to feed your child. There is nothing MORE becoming of an officer than one who not only takes care of its nation but also his/her own family.

  52. I’m fairly new to the Army, and only the third member of my family in as many generations to serve. I’ve been at my first duty station (1500 miles from where I spent the first 23 years of my life) for less than a year, and I just recently got married and discovered that I’m pregnant. In short, I’ve had a lot hit me in a short amount of time, so I’m thrilled to find this blog, as much (or more) for the discussion it generates as for the posts themselves.

    I’ve always known that when I had children, I would breastfeed them–no question about it. But I never expected to find myself in the military, and the question of breastfeeding in uniform hadn’t yet crossed my mind. To be honest, I haven’t yet thought much past my six weeks’ maternity leave, aside from planning to come back afterward. In my unit (a small Army Band), the only time we see each others’ kids during duty hours is during promotion or reenlistment ceremonies, which are usually held during morning formation and after which the families take the children home. I think this is only appropriate–children don’t belong in the workplace. It never occurred to me that seeing (let alone breastfeeding) my baby during duty hours would even be an option. I hadn’t, however, considered the possibility of taking her to doctor appointments in uniform–Army regulations are not, apparently, as strict as the Marines’; I don’t have to be in uniform to be seen.

    Faced with that possibility, though, I can see both sides of the argument. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and there is absolutely nothing obscene or inappropriate about the act itself. However, as service members, we are expected to maintain a very high standard of professionalism while in uniform–higher than I personally think is necessary; I think it’s silly that I can’t hold my husband’s hand in uniform, but regs are regs. And given that the standards are as high as they are, I personally think that breastfeeding in uniform, in public, would have to qualify as unprofessional. If my unit is anything to go by (though I am aware that the band has a lot of things a lot easier than most other units), it should not be difficult for a breastfeeding mother to find a relatively private place to pump during the workday while the father, babysitter, or daycare provider feeds baby the previous day’s milk in a bottle. That is probably how I’ll handle it.

    I do not, however, feel that breastfeeding is a “disgrace to the uniform” or anything like that. If I get home from work and my husband hands me a fussy baby, I’m not going to let her scream while I go change. I’m going to sit down and feed her. In the privacy of my own home, I have no problem with breastfeeding in uniform. I just feel that doing it in public violates the spirit of the PDA regs, which as I understand them are designed to maintain professionalism, discipline, and military bearing. Regulations may not mention breastfeeding specifically, but I would unfortunately have to interpret them as prohibiting it.

    However, if a regulation were passed specifically allowing it, I would do it in a heartbeat!

  53. I personally do not care what people do off duty and out of uniform. But one thing all of you seem to be forgetting, AFI 36-2903, paragraph 2.13.3 states, “All Airmen must ensure uniform items and civilian clothing (in official capacity) are maintained, clean, and in serviceable condition (that is, not frayed, worn out, torn, faded, patched, etc.), correct in design and specifications, and fit properly. Uniform items are to be zipped, snapped or buttoned unless otherwise defined in this instruction.”
    If the breast is out, then it is obviously not being worn in the manner prescribed above. Enough said.

    • Tell that the 1000s of service men and women who were just out drinking and partying at every bar in NYC during fleet week. Not for nothing for breastfeeding in uniform? Nothing compared to that type of behavior.

      • The tunnel vision is appalling. Especially coming from commanding officers in the military. WHO defines what is “Disgusting” and a “disgrace”?? I happen to find drinking, cursing, fighting & smoking in uniform disgusting and disgraceful. For one moment, if you would honestly stop looking at breasts as sexual objects…I wonder if you would find it “disgusting”. Would they be any different than holding a bottle for your child? Its attitudes like yours that have made nursing a child ‘dirty’ and ‘disgusting’……

  54. So at what point did the “land of the free and the home of the brave” come with stipulations? Apparently our military moms can be brave but shouldn’t have the freedom to nourish their children who might become military personel in the future? That’s awesome!
    I think what these women are doing is great and if nothing else I respect these uniforms more for showing us that they are human.

    • Mom of 4, no one is saying that these moms can’t nourish their kids, it’s just a way that it has to be done in the uniform. Not sure if you is aware that in some uniforms, you can’t go off base and eat lunch, etc. These uniforms represent sooooo much more than a mother with her top unbuttoned, pulled up, both breast exposed that is considered disgraceful to the uniform. I am a mother of 3 and have been in the military over 22 years. Standards are standards, customs and courtesies are just that, this is considered out of regulation, lost of military bearing. A good example, these moms are breastfeeding their baby, their commander (higher ranking official) need to speak with them or walks up to them, what happens next? The commander should forget the military standards and allow the junior ranking mom to perform the way she is? No not in the military that we represent. I think so many are missing the mark of what the uniform symbolize. Yes we live in a country where everyone wants everything to be free but the military can’t be one of those organizations where everything goes. If it was, the world that you live in wouldn’t be so free. Uniformity is key here. follow the rules, pump breast milk, breast feed your babies in a professional manner WHEN IN UNIFORM or as always since most comparisons are against the civilian world, that’s always an option.

      Great post

    • All service members regardless of sex give up many civil liberties enjoyed by regular citizens for the privilege and honor of service to the country. This is their sacrifice to give those they love and those they don’t even know a better way of life. If you are a family member you can be proud knowing that your understanding of this commitment also helps support your nation. It is not easy for spouses and children of service members and yes it can be unfair to children because they are not mature enough to fully understand. But someday as adults they will learn to be proud of what they endured so that their could protect them and others. Perhaps if all of society had to live up to the higher standards of the UCMJ we would not have as many problems in society today.

  55. I am a 14 year old girl. i am thinking strongly about going into the military when i old enough to be an OBGYN. I think that a military mother should have just as much right to breast feed in public and in uniform as any common woman. I believe that anyone who critisizes these brave women risking their lives for yours, should be ashamed of yourselves. Is it so bad that a mother wants to provide her baby with her milk?
    And in a military uniform, even better. respect the uniform and the woman wearing it. Consider the womans feelings.
    <3 feed on ladies!<3
    <3 Lindsey

    • Lindsey,

      I can see the point you are trying to make but you have to understand what makes the military different. We are not like everyone else, we are a unique force and if you join later in life, I do believe you will see a different view. Everything is not for everyone and everyplace. It is a time and a place for everything.

      Thank you for your post

  56. My take on this issue is that their are standards and traditions, customms and courtesies that must be followed by ALL men and women in uniform. The photos are not tasteful (in my opinion). These women knew the rules when they enlisted in the military and they don’t only apply to them they apply to all. I keep reading about a mother who bottle feeds her baby vs breast feeding. Who is to say that these women are not breast feeding their babies but choose to follow the rules and when in uniform they bottle feed their babies.

    Women always argue for equality but then pull the women card, let’s get it straight. The USAF or any other service is a baby sitting organization. They are top notch services and we must not forget that. If they ladies wish to breastfeed do it tastefully. We can argue this issue all day and I do believe a change will be coming out soon reference this issue and believe me I don’t think it’s going to be a good one.

    The issue here is that they are in uniform, the uniform doesn’t just represent them, it represent the US AF as a whole and everyone that have served and are currently serving. Let’s not get off of the real issue here. It’s not breastfeeding it’s the uniform, both breast exposed in the uniform, shirt unbuttoned and pulled up, which is considered out of uniform.

    Ask them the question, “if you weren’t breastfeeding would you be able to pull your shirt up like that?” The answer is NO, so while we want to keep pointing the finger at denying a mother her rights, they are not denied, the services do a great job accommodating mothers in uniform, but his one is going too far.

    What about those moms who breadfeed their babies but have to deploy after 6 weeks, let’s stick to the standards, customs, and courtesies. If they want to be treated like civilians, the door is always open.

    • Well said the issue here is not breast feeding. It’s being a soldier in uniform. I breastfed too. I’m in the military too, don’t push us out a position we fought so hard to get to. We make sacrifices being in the military, we all do!

  57. I think this picture is lovely and half the people commenting here are fools. To have to cover up because you feel seeing a boob is “naughty” really means that the problem lies with you, not those mothers you malign. I’m more embarrassed by what those who claim to be in uniform say than those women nursing their babies in uniform. How dare you judge them. It makes me sad to see how far we women in uniform still have to go to fight against such rampant sexism and bigotry.

  58. Ok, I am a female and prior USAF, sure, nothing wrong with breastfeeding – but in PRIVATE – I dont want to see it, I cant have kids (due to health) and quite frankly, dont want to have a reminder of things I cant do. Women in military or not, some need to consider those of us who cannot have kids, and we have to be surrounded by all this “mom” kind of stuff and on top of that have to deal with not being able to have kids. I believe, rooms/accomodations should be set up but not where all can see…

    • Wow. Sounds like a personal problem. I mean, I’m not rich and I hate being reminded of that by people with nice things. I’m also getting a divorce and happy couples remind me of that – I’d like them to stay home, please. I’m also too old to get into the military so to see someone in their uniform makes me sad. Get the point?

    • Do you feel the sme way about a mom formula feeding her baby? Or playing with her baby at the park? You cannnot shield yourself from this “mom” kind of stuff. There are alternatives such as adoption or foster care to share your love. And yes, adoptive moms can breastfeed too!

    • No thank you. I will feed my child where ever, whenever it is hungry. I am not a second class citizen and will not be pushed into rooms and corners in order to feed my children. It is the child’s right to be fed.

      I’m sorry you are having a personal issue. I know (firsthand) infertility can be very hard to deal with. But you need to work through it WITHOUT expecting others to violate their civil rights. What other ‘mom’ kind of things would you like to see us stop so you can avoid dealing with your feelings? Should moms just never leave their houses with their children out of ‘consideration’ for you? ‘Cause last time I checked? I don’t even NEED to feed my child in order to mother them.

    • If a child is hungry, it deserves to eat weather it’s mother is in uniform or not. Anyone who has a problem with that is a terrible human being.

      “Cant have kids and dont want to be reminded…”
      How do you stay alive? With that attitude, you should have slit your wrists by now. Anywhere I look, there is something about a baby. Drive down the highway and I see Babies R US, Gymboree, planned parenthood, etc… Watch TV and I see Gerber and Pampers commercials… Walk down the street and I pass many mothers with strollers… Children and babies grow into adults. You see adults everywhere do you not? Try not being selfish for a change. Just because you can’t have a baby doesn’t mean all babies should starve.

  59. “I am a proud mother and grandmother. I nursed my 3 children when they were babies. There is nothing more natural but I also concidered other people that may not agree with nursing our babies so obvious to everyone in public. I have nursed in the back seat of our car, on a park bench, on Base, in a private room at the doctors, the bathroom,etc, etc. When out in public view I always made sure that I had a light cover as such that I would drape over my shoulder and completely cover my breast and my baby and still have plenty of room for baby to get fresh air while he/she is nursing. Some people that may pass that would have possibly been upset/embarrassed by the seeing the naked breast in public would not be so as I had been descrete enough to cover up. I don’t think it’s wrong for any woman that can nurse does so. I would like to add that I was married to a career Navy man at the time of nursing. LOL,I could tell you a couple of funny stories about my nursing. I still chuckle when I think of them.I agree with the following post from a retired female Captain in the Marines Corps”………..

    The criticism of the photo goes beyond the usual nursing-in-public debate, though. One commenter on Roche-Paull’s website who identified herself as a retired captain in the Marine Corps said she advocated for breast-feeding moms in the military and now, as a civilian, she nurses freely on base. However, she writes:

    “I would never nurse in uniform. I took my child to the bathroom or a private office when her nanny brought her to me …. Not because I was ashamed of nursing, nor of being a mother. All the guys knew I pumped. The military is not a civilian job. We go to combat and we make life or death decisions, and not just for ourselves but for those we lead. The same reason I would never nurse in uniform is the same reason I do not chew gum, or walk and talk on my cell phone, or even run into the store in my utility uniform. … We are warfighting professionals. Women before us have worked too hard to earn and retain the respect of their male peers. I don’t want my Marines to look at me any other way than as a Marine. When I am asking them to fly into combat with me and do a dangerous mission, I do not want them to have the mental image of a babe at my breast. I want them to only see me as a Marine. Let’s be a realistic folks. We give up many freedoms being in the military…Breastfeeding in front of my fellow Marines was one of them.”

  60. Wow wish the whole store was told. 1)The photos were not for the writer to post 2)They were for were for promotion for women and to promote breast feeding not go against it 3)It was ok’d through the right people in the military for the photo shoot. Now I promote breastfeeding hell it been around for thousand of years but I’m still a little old fashion and want them to cover themself and be professional and we do not need photos to make point.
    Photos are what really what is wrong with this whole thing specially in uniform. Sorry we live by a different code then the civilian population. That is why if we bounce a check we can lose pay. Or if we get a DUI/do ilegal drugs we are removed from the military. And no public protests no matter what our political views we have in or out of uniform. And as we’ve seen no saying anything about the Commander and Chief publicily. It simply a different CODE.

    sorry not great speller

    • I have to correct you here Dan. I most certainly DID get permission, directly from the photographer AND both mothers AND the coordinator of the campaign to use the photographs. As a writer and ethical person, I would NEVER lift someone else work with asking permission!!!

    • I’m a bit confused. You say you’re old fashioned so breastfeeding women should cover themselves, but the military men still cannot use illegal substances? If you were truly old fashioned, you should be promoting the use of opium as the military alumni before you did.

      Ah, it seems you commanding officers are well ahead of the both of us. Protect the opium!

      In all seriousness, I’m not promoting drugs, I’m just bashing your point of being “old fashioned.” Old fashioned is almost never a good thing. Evolution, adaptation, and our history make us who we are today. To keep women from breastfeeding in the military is to take a step back. That’s one step closer to kicking women right back out of the military all together.

  61. I appreciate all you do for military breastfeeding mothers. Thanks for standing up for this topic. The pictures are beautiful. Keep up the good work.
    Judy Schneider

  62. When we expect/direct a sector of our population to “cover up” or somehow hide that they nurture their babies in accordance with the biological norm, we are not making a statement about that sector of the population — we’re making a statement about the biologically normal behavior.

    Teachers are professionals, too. Should they not breastfeed in their teaching clothes? What about chefs? Or dentists? Is it OK for a discount store employee to nurse her visiting baby in her smock? Are they disgracing their respective professions?

    Or are we still, as a culture, trying to deny that femininity — BEING FEMALE — exists in and augments our military? Does seeing a breastfeeding mother in a uniform rouse something in you that you can’t reconcile with your ingrained beliefs?

    Hey, America — you want our women in military to breastfeed their babies, as often as possible, wherever they are, no matter what they’re wearing. Your tax dollars pay for those babies’ healthcare, and will likely continue to do so until they’re in their 20’s.

  63. After reading the above comments I see that the term “military intelligence” is *still* an oxymoron.

  64. These ladies were very lucky to have had the grand opportunity to have their babies brought to them at work to nurse them. Most of us have to fight for 15-20 minutes to pump. Meanwhile, every other soldier is outside smoking every 15 minutes…IN uniform. But that’s ok, right? Smoking is very professional.

    I am a professional woman. I am an Active Duty Officer in the Army. I am a Mother. I am proud to be all of the above. And there should never be a time when breastfeeding is inappropriate.

    Our society needs to get over this idea that breastfeeding is the alternative way to feed babies, and should be supportive of EVERY mother who choses to breastfeed. The biggest reason women choose not to breastfeed has to do with the stigma that our society carries around about it. And women should not put up with being forced into a bathroom stall or a dark corner to feed their child, because it is NOT a shameful act. If you are ashamed, then that is on you, not the Mother.

    You all that are saying the uniform is being disgraced…by what? By being a Mother? Last time I checked, the Army told me I could be both a Mother and a Soldier. I don’t consider breastfeeding to be unprofessional, in fact, when I see a Mother breastfeeding, I think she has made a sound and educated decision. Yes, you should of course be professional and follow the regs while in uniform. But if our society didn’t see breastfeeding as shameful, then we wouldn’t have any problem seeing Moms in uniform, or in any other professional situation (teachers, postal workers, police officers), breastfeeding on the job, while they are on break. Being able to breastfeed by child at work without pumping?? That sounds like heaven to me.

    Stop shoving breastfeeding Moms in the shadows! It is not shameful!!

    • Nicole,

      I think you just made teh best argument yet to all of those who I have read saying things such as “Professionalism in uniform”, “no PDA in uniform”, “Maintain a certain respect in uniform”. etc etc etc. What about smoking in uniform? Those of you who are SO against a woman feeding her child while in uniform what do you think about smoking in uniform? I am a retired US Navy Corpsman AND a mom! If a sailor, soldier, marine, airman can smoke in uniform and that is okay, why not breastfeed? Smoking is detrimental to health, it is smelly, it pollutes the environment AND their bodies. What say you people against breastfeeding in uniform?

      • Since you want to compare smoking to breastfeeding, lets consider the regulations regarding smoking. You can only smoke in designated areas where you do not affect people like you who do not agree with it. How about they only allow breastfeeding in an area where it does not affect those who disagree with it.

        • If you disagree with breastfeeding, that is YOUR problem and yours only. It’s a natural and GOOD thing. Smoking is disgusting and smelly and and proven over and over to be nothing but harmful and bad to everyone. Completely different things. Obviously.

  65. In 1972, I gave birth to a baby girl, whom I breastfed almost up until the day she died from cancer, a month after her first birthday. In October of 1974, I breastfed my son for 6 months and had to wean him to go back to work, as by then I was a single mom. In 1978, I gave birth to another son while on active duty, whom I breastfed for 6 months, but had to wean him to survive in the workplace. All 3 had 2 teeth by 3 months old and very good at biting(!).
    I encountered much criticism and judgement back then, as women were bottlefeeding more and more.
    On the bus to doctor appointments, I used a receiving blanket for privacy, not so much to minimize disapproval, but to create an intimate environment for me and my baby.
    What my breasts looked like was no one’s business but my own, so being discreet was not an issue for me.
    While in the military, I had struggled to achieve courtesy and respect, as challenging then as it is now, so I had to be creative sometimes in the ways I proceeded to nurture my infant. I had learned to pump when my daughter no longer was able to nurse(in a hospital environment), but in the mid-70’s, supplies were difficult to get, so I had to manually express milk and manage to store it safely.
    WHile I was pretty much on my own in these endeavors, I felt that I was doing what was best for my children, which superceded any disapproval I experienced.
    Babies do not care if you are exposed or covered, they just want to be fed. Having respect and courtesy for those around you can minimize stress, because, as you know, nursing infants are amazingly sensitive to the stress a mom feels.
    Sensationalism is a tool that is used to draw attention to an issue. I would experience breastfeeding again, if I could – there is no other experience like it. However, I am a grandmother, 60 years of age. ANy ideas for sensationalism here?

  66. As a former Marine, and a sister to a MSgt in the Airforce. I am appalled by the negative hype this photo has been given. My sister nursed all 3 of her children for over a year while serving our country. How can this beautiful picture be thought of disgracing the uniform while a serviceman getting intoxicated in their uniform at and officer or enlisted club isn’t? I’m proud of my service to this country and that of my sister who can juggle 3 kids, a successful career with deployments, and a home. Nursing our babies is natural, the way GOD made us (and all mammals) and if you choose to do so GO FOR IT! The future of our country (ie the babies) are dependent on it.

  67. As a former Marine, and a sister to a MSgt in the Airforce. I am appalled by the negative hype this photo has been given. My sister nursed all 3 of her children for over a year while serving our country. How can this beautiful picture be thought of disgracing the uniform while a serviceman getting intoxicated in their uniform at and officer or enlisted club isn’t? I’m proud of my service to this country and that of my sister who can juggle 3 kids, a successful career with deployments, and a home. Nursing our babies is natural, the way GOD made us (and all mammals) and if you choose to do so GO FOR IT!

  68. I’d rather see natural feeding of babies in uniform anyday rather than smoking. Smoking is disgusting and feeding babies the best possible way is commendable. Yet we allow smoking and are uncomfortable with babies being fed the way God intended. Our society has a screwed up mindset on way to many topics…killing babies before birth is also wrong, its called murder…

  69. I have to say I believe people have skewed WAY off the intended message here. Were these ladies sitting on a bench in an uncontrolled environment on base nursing their children while any airman was able to just pas on by and see all he or she could see? NO! This was a PHOTO SHOOT done in a controlled environment. There were MANY other photos taken that day. The women in this particular photo were in other photos feeding their children while in civilian clothes! I would direct you to the website with the other amazing photos, but it is temporarily unavailable. I did see the other photos, and they are ALL amazing! The photo shoot was done to promote a group of military moms who are stationed at Fairchild AFB. They were given permission from local commanders to take the photos. I think everyone needs to take a step back and look at this in perspective. Should women breastfeed? Yes if they want to! Should they breastfeed in uniform? Again, that is a personal decision. There is no regulation that specifically states it is unacceptable, so it is a gray area, and each PROFESSIONAL military mom needs to make that decision for herself!!

    • The issue is the mere fact these photos have been published to push an agenda and have been viewed by tens of thousands, if not more, makes the initial setting of the photo shoot irrelevant. These women exposed their breasts publicly and violated uniform regulations doing it. A standard is a standard. Women constantly cry for equal rights , but then pull the “woman” card for special treatment. If you want to pull off your uniform top in private to feed your baby, great. But if you pull off your uniform top and expose your breasts in public (which these women have done), you fail to abide by the standards of equality women seek.

      • I’m sorry, but the only agenda here is raising healthy babies via a function the body is designed to do.

        By sexualizing the breast of the nursing mother as you have done in your blurb you have actually created the role of the other and are presenting an unequal situation as equal.

  70. Fleet Week in NYC just finished. Let me count number of officers in uniform I saw out at the bars IN uniform. Doing a lot more that was unbecoming of an officer than these two mothers caring and feeding for their children. Where are all the people up in arms about that?

    This expectation that members of the military have to separate their identities as people/humans/mothers/fathers has not been doing us any great favors if you look at the mental health of our military personnel. This duality we ask them to create during times of service make it difficult for many (especially women in service) to connect with their families. We should be working to support our women.

    In other countries where military service is not voluntary, like in Israel, it would not be unusual to see a woman in uniform caring for her child in this manner. Out in public with an AK-47 right beside them. Somehow their women and men have managed to still respect their soldiers. It is another form of discrimination against our women in service.

    • I would surmise that if officers in uniform during Fleet Week did things unbecoming in a bar and then had pictures of these unbecoming actions published for thousands of people to see, they would be facing disciplinary action.

    • Agreed. As an AF officer, I see a lot of drunken belligerents in uniform acting up in clubs all the time. I don’t fault them for letting off steam as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. Let them do as they please. Days in the military are stressful, it’s no easy job for sure. I am a father of 2 currently deployed for the 5th time to the middle east, and I see no problem here. Society passing judgement on moms doing what is absolutely best for there children, while not condemning actual derelict behavior is reprehensible-

  71. They should be able to breast feed anywhere in uniform breast is been done for years years leave these moms alone. they are not doing anything wrong. people just want to make a big deal out of this because they don’t have anything better to do. these moms are fighting for this country they should not have to worry about getting in trouble or have to leave and not being able to keep fighting for your country .AND THANKS FOR FIGHTING FOR YOUR COUNTRY…..

  72. I’m not in the military, so I’m confused about rules governing activities while in uniform. I imagine children are not running around a base;however, if they were visiting or going to a doctor’s appointment, can a mother or father hold their baby while in uniform? Can a parent bottle feed their baby while in uniform? If so, then I don’t understand why a mom couldn’t breastfeed while in uniform.

    For those who think it’s okay for a parent in uniform to hold a baby and bottle feed, but not breastfeed – then your issue is not with any designation of what activity is “professional” or what supports a mission mind-set. Your issue seems to be with breastfeeding in general, You seem to be one of many in this society who view women’s breasts primarily as a sexual object rather than primarily as a nurturing/child-rearing tool that God created women’s breasts to be.

    Also, for those who speak about a professional and mission-ready mindset in wearing a uniform, I know I’ve seen people in military uniform smoking and drinking alcohol (while they are seated)in very public settings, so I wonder if you are more concerned about those activities – especially as smoke and alcohol provide nothing but negative health benefits while breastfeeding provides nothing but positive health benefits.

  73. What I want to know is what the alternative suggestion would be? You pick your child up from the daycare that I am sure the military provides, right? And you are in full uniform because you just came off duty and are women actually saying that you should have to strip down completely, change your clothes and be wearing something else entirely before you feed your child? What if your child wanted to nurse when he/she saw you? That’s a lot of time not meeting the needs of your child for the sake of wardrobe.

  74. The issue in this case isn’t breast feeding. What is wrong with putting a blanket over your boob in public? The mom with the twins is an exhibitionist, and being unprofessional. You can see everything but her nipples. The military is not a place for social experimentation. What’s next, breastfeeding while stationed in an Islamic republic?

    • The Mom with the twins is an exhibitionist? Have you ever breastfed twins before? Obviously not if you’re making a statement like that. A sad one at that, especially coming from a woman.

      And breastfeeding while in an Islamic Republic? You’re seriously using that as an example in comparison to a base in the U.S. where dependents are freely allowed?

    • Katherine,

      Yes, absolutely we will be sending newborn infants to Afghanistan to be breastfed.

      Also, children are breastfed in every nation of the world including Islamic nations.

    • Your right the issue at hand is NOT breastfeeding, which it absolutely SHOULD be!!!!!!! Thats the whole point these mothers are TRYING to make! Do you put a blanket over the face of baby that is drinking a bottle? Do you shove a mother into a DIRTY and DISGUSTING bathroom when she is feeding with a baby bottle? NO! Do you complain when you see the nipple of a baby bottle in public? NO!

      STOP looking at breast as sexual objects! God did not make them to be so. MAN (and I mean that loosely) made them so. When will everyone get that? They hold MILK for a reason, just as a bottle does. They were not intended to be sexualized!

      • SHERRY

        Forget Breastfeeding in Public…What About in Uniform?

        I copied and pasted it so ensure I had the correct verbage.

        I wasn’t sure if you were aware of how this conversation began.

        So, I will tell you again that the issue isn’t breastfeeding, it is breastfeeding in uniform.

        Yes, I do feel I have a very strong right to voice the opinion of PROFESSIONAL women in uniform.

        Since the age of 18 I have served this country proudly in more than one uniform, the military being the first.

        I currently do the same. There are very few women who participate in the professions I have chose to include the military so I feel it is our duty to uphold a professional standard in conduct while in uniform.

        I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a professional.

        My child never starved to death because I wore a uniform.

        No one cares that these women want to breastfeed.


        If you have never worn a uniform it is no surprise why you dont get the concept.

        Thank god we live in a place where we can all voice our viewpoints freely and have these conversations.

      • Sherry,
        I consider myself a reasonable person. In one of your responses you note, when speaking of breasts, “They were not intended to be sexualized!” [exclamation yours].

        At the risk of going off-topic I disagree. We don’t (and can’t) know the mind of God. However, it seems to me that saying (female) breasts were not intended to be sexualized is somewhat disengenuous, don’t you think?

  75. Civilian here and very appreciative of your service. I’m wondering what adaptations have been made to uniform for women who serve. I’m guessing there is a pregnancy uniform. Could there be developed a nursing uniform that would be more satisfactory at maintaining decorum while allowing for function? And regarding concerns about the ‘mother-warrior,’ there is nothing quite as fierce as a mother motivated to protect her young child.

  76. There is not one thing wrong with a woman breastfeeding a child. that being said, it looks like they would want to be a little modest. My grandchildren were all breastfed but you never saw any part of the breast, when they were in public they always had a blanket over the breast and you never saw anything you wasn’t supposed to. I think this picture is a little out there myself. But, that is just my opinion.

  77. I also do not believe woman should breastfeed in uniform. I am not against breastfeeding and have no objections to woman who do so in public as long as they are not attempting to make it a central display for attention. If a woman is on lunch break or at an appointment with the child and in uniform then I believe she should find a private location to feed. I don’t believe the child should be with the mother any more than that during the work day when the woman would have to be in uniform. If you need time to pump there are new federal regulations in place to ensure you can do so in private. Section 4207 of the bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include the guarantee of “a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk,” for nonexempt hourly workers, and also the stipulation that this be done in “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.”

    • Do you feel it is okay for a parent to bottle feed in uniform? Do feel it is okay for a person to consume alcohol or smoke in uniform?

      • No I do not, they are portraying the strength of our country and forces. Men are not supposed to push a baby in a stroller in uniform (which is actually instructed). When donning the uniform you are a mother second and a representative of your oath and duty first. If you do not understand that and can not make that commitment you should not enlist. Just because you are fighting for the freedoms does not mean you can afford to enjoy all of them at the cost of discipline which is why those who serve are honored for their sacrifices plural.

        • So if a uniformed parent is in the doctor’s waiting room with her hungry baby, should they find a private room to bottle-feed the baby? How does a uniformed father transport a baby to a doctor’s appointment? If he can’t push a stroller, can he carry the baby?

      • Nichole, why should a mom in uniform have to find a private place to breastfeed if she and her baby are in a doctor’s waiting room?

        My guess is that the uniformed mother nursing her twins with her breast showing is demonstrating natural positioning when she is at home or among friends (in a breastfeeding/baby holding circle of moms at a park)- or maybe in a doctor’s office waiting room with two hungry babies. I imagine with two nursing babies it’s more difficult to ensure breasts are covered (covered for the sake of those who see breasts primarily as sexual entities rather than nurturing tools). My guess is that when she is in a more public situation, she is a little more discreet (but I could be wrong).

        So the controversy for some may be that she approved this type of photo to be made public.

        I’m guessing she chose to do so because many moms in and out of the military have been harassed by employers, co-workers, acquaintances, friends, family for breastfeeding in and out of uniform, in public, even in their home, past 2 months, past 6 months, past a year, or breastfeeding period.

        I’m guessing she may have chosen to make this photo public to force the subject of breastfeeding with people like you who are somewhere on the spectrum of discomfort with breastfeeding.

        I’m guessing she may have chosen to publicize the photo to make a statement to her society that breasts are not primarily for sexual objectification.

        Do you believe that God made humans mammals with the expressed desire that the breasts created for human mothers were foremost for the nourishing of their babies? Has science created anything better emotionally and physically than breastfeeding? Thank God science has created something better than the Karo syrup and condensed milk mess I was raised on after 3 months.

        Do people who are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public realize that this attitude is not so prevalent in other industrialized countries like Canada, Germany, France? Why has breastfeeding in the United States been vilified, seen as a private function, even dirty, or unclean (in other forums on this topic, some have said it’s the same as defecating in public in uniform! while others have said it’s the same as PDA/sexual contact in uniform in public!)

        Many people in our society need to ask themselves to detail the reasons why they are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public, and what they view as the primary function of women’s breasts, and how this view fits with their belief in God the Creator or in evolution, and why our society is so uncomfortable with some images of women’s breasts – especially the nipple. Why aren’t we all writing in forums expressing our opinions of the breasts blown up on billboards – how our children are fed on breasts being used to depict sexualized images of girls and women? I use to counter my husband with “How thick of padding do I need in a bra to ensure that my nipples aren’t showing – and why do I have to wear these layers of padding in 98 degree weather? – and why does society expect me to wear any kind of bra when so many men have larger breasts than me?!!” On 98 degree days, I tell my boys to put their shirts back on – why should they get to expose their nipples, and cool off if girl’s can’t (but everyone is better with a shirt to prevent skin cancer)? I don’t really have cleavage to show but I wouldn’t want to show my bare nipples in public – our society’s attitudes towards women’s breasts is so complicated – why?

        Anyway, it’s really unfortunate that our society’s confusion and discomfort and fascination and objectification of women’s breasts has so negatively impacted their primary, essential, and beautiful function of nurturing our young.

        My guess is that the uniformed mother breastfeeding her twins made the choice to publicize the controversial picture in order to spark this type of discussion – to help our society work through the discomfort to vilification of breastfeeding.

        • My response has nothing to do with my feeling about breastfeeding but about doing so in uniform. I am not saying that a father not being able to push a stroller is correct, just what is taught. Every time I have been in a military clinic with my son any mother breastfeeding (in uniform or not) has been offered a private room to do so, usually the question was instigated by the staff however as I woman I would not hesitate to ask. When offering a bottle a woman is not per say being out of uniform (most jobs in the military no longer allow people to even roll their sleeves up or take off their outer shirts, let alone unbutton and lift their shirts)but with the push they are endangering themselves of jeopardizing the ability to bottle feed at all.

          • So an issue with breastfeeding in uniform -vs- bottle feeding in a doctor’s waiting room is that the woman has to un-tuck or/and unbutton her uniform shirt?

            So this argument is about military readiness and/or appearance? If so, I think this breastfeeding mom in uniform is much more ready for combat, and more presentable than many military in uniform with an alcoholic beverage in hand.

            So parents in uniform can’t push their child in a stroller to a clinic on base; however, is it okay to be in uniform and to carry a baby to an appointment on base?

            You wrote: “Every time I have been in a military clinic with my son any mother breastfeeding (in uniform or not) has been offered a private room to do so, usually the question was instigated by the staff…” -so this is also about breastfeeding, not just about breastfeeding in uniform.

            When you wrote “…instigated by the staff however as I woman I would not hesitate to ask” Do you mean to ask mothers in a waiting room to nurse their babies where you can’t view that nurturing or to ask staff for a private room in which to breastfeed?

            Also, you are worried that because of these discussions about breastfeeding in uniform that the military may prevent parents in uniform from bottle-feeding? I sure wouldn’t want to be working or waiting in a clinic on base.

          • Kathryn, This is about the uniform not breastfeeding. Have you read the UCMJ and the AFI on proper dress? Discipline does not work if a select few are exempt are other must maintain the sacrifices they committed to. Military are held to a much higher standard of appearance and behavior. And let’s not start the whole smoking/drinking thing that some are using as a crutch on every response and deal with the only issue actually mentioned here. Perhaps someday their child will understand if they feel they have suffered a loss by not being breastfeed in public while their mother was in uniform that their Mother’s commitment helped to keep a decorum and service to their oath ensuring the freedoms of their beloved child and others children that they don’t even know.

        • Oh, and if you have not been in a military clinic the doctors waiting room is not a separate area. Most are like giant open buildings with doors to the exam rooms for each section. The waiting area is in plain view of everyone in the building to include people just picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, dental clinic, eye exams, public health, xray, supply (ect). Perhaps you think of a waiting room like a private Dr’s office but in the military that is not the case. That is why private space is offered, not just to keep you from other moms bringing in children but possibly those you command in a public area. In our clinic the Peds waiting area is directly next to where they sell popcorn and the main entrance to the building.

          • This is certainly not true at all military clinics. As a navy pediatrician our clinic is it’s own separate entity inside a large MTF. Our waiting room is exclusive to pediatrics and once checked in there are more even smaller waiting rooms the parents and patients are taken too while waiting for their appointment. However being a pediatric clinic in a large hospital we have the benefit of having multiple rooms specifically designated for breastfeeding. That being said many of patients are breastfed during there appointments by both moms in uniform or in civvies and it never once even occurred to me that this could be considered inappropriate by some.

    • Nichole, When people use the reasoning about “keeping a decorum” and a “higher standard of appearance and behavior” to support their argument that women shouldn’t breastfeed in uniform, the issues of smoking and consuming alcohol while in uniform are valid points, not crutches in trying to articulate what the problem is with breastfeeding in uniform – especially in a clinic’s waiting room.

      And, I can’t think of a higher standard of behavior than the commitment to breastfeed one’s baby.

      By the way, the military approved breastfeeding in uniform for this photo shoot in order to promote the healthy choice to breastfeed. No one imagined it would get so much attention.

      • The article says that the Air Force did not endorse the photo, they may currently be serving on active duty but they are guardsman which may be why they were allowed to do this. I do not respect them less and am glad they help and serve alongside our active duty men and woman. It only states they got permission which is presumably from their superiors. We may later find out that because of the publicity there could be repercussions for the people that did approve the use of the pictures. And I ask you to imagine a situations, let’s say a woman is an instructor for a tech school. She is sitting in the public clinic waiting waiting for a pediatric appointment breastfeeding her baby while her 17/18 year old male trainee is waiting across from her in sick call. You may want to believe that her authority would remain intact with this male but can you honestly say he would not feel differently. Even if this wasn’t a male many females may also become uncomfortable. They aren’t allowed to walk around with their hands in their pockets because it is out of uniform but unbuttoning and lifting your shirt in front of subordinates is ok?

  78. I don’t have a problem with breast feeding in or out of uniform, but I feel that if you are breastfeeding you need to cover up as much as possible. As a young girl I witnessed a lady sitting in church breast feeding her child without any cover you could see everything. It sicken me to the point I would not even consider breastfeeding my children. So, modesty is the answer to whether you breast feed or not. Or so that is my point of view on this matter..

    • Carolyn, I’m sorry but you saw a woman breast feeding her children in church and it “sickened” you to the point that you didn’t want to nurse your own children? You chose your own views on modesty over your kid’s health? Now THAT’S parenting!

    • I think breastfeeding – even in Church – pleases God. Breastfeeding moms cry out, “God, you did a FABULOUS job in designing me for motherhood – thank you! You are awesome.”

    • A woman breastfeeding “sickened” you? I am sorry that your view of breasts has been so skewed and/or sexualized that you are uncomfortable seeing them do exactly what they were biologically designed to do. This is your issue and modesty has nothing to do with it. It’s not like she was sitting there completely topless for no reason.

  79. I love this. I think this picture represents the true spectrum of strength, honor, and bravery that comprises the US Military. This is America the beautiful, America the brave. Our country talks a big game about freedom and here we bear witness to the struggles for it.

  80. Above all else… These women are mothers! OMGoodnes! It’s just ridiculous that it’s even an issue! It’s the ppl that have a problem with it that have the issues! The babies need to eat! It’s not for anyone else’s pleasure! Get over it!

  81. I don’t see a problem with women in uniform breastfeeding their child. I commend them for it.

    If people have a problem with it, then they should start complaining about military members having an acholoic drink while in uniform (lets say at the Legion after a Rememberance Day Parade). That, I think, is a lot worse than a mother feeding her hungry infant.

  82. Three cheers for the country which fights to defend the freedom of speech of those who have widely diverse opinions!!!!

  83. I have read most of the comments and can’t believe all the big deal that is being kicked up over this. The breastfeeding is not the problem. The picture is. I am a proud breastfeeding mama, and I don’t want to see another woman’s boobs esp feeding twins like that. The picture is inappropriate. There is nothing discreet or nurturing about it. Why do you have to flaunt it?! It is the same thing as those guys that have silhouettes of porn stars on their back windows! There is nothing wrong with liking girls like that but I don’t like explaining to my 6 year old why they have those pictures on their windows of naked girls!

    Never had a problem with service members breastfeeding in public. And I live on post and spend PLENTY of time in the on post clinics! They are giving a baby food. End of story. I defeats the purpose of bonding with your child if you are not doing it discreetly in MY OPINION. The service women I know do it discreetly and appropriately because they are professionals. They don’t do it in front of other and this idea of barking orders and nursing at the same time is hilarious!! what baby would let their mom do anything else while nursing them and it completely contradicts the right way of nursing while in a relaxed and calm state! Stop with this crazy talk!! We DO nurse on post all the time. No one cares!!! They look the other way as long as you are being discreet!! Stop wasting time taking pictures like this because that just doesn’t happen in real life. The picture is not normal. And instead go visit these pregnant moms and help them feel comfortable with the idea of nursing so they will do the best thing for their baby in at least trying it and know how to do it while being a service member. I don’t know ONE commanding that wouldn’t provide a place for a baby to be nursed by his service member mother. I respect these service women more than you know! They carry such a burden for our country and I believe their counter parts do as well when they do ALL they can to care for their families. Because to me, that is what the military is all about, protecting and giving our children and families what they need. Wouldn’t this type of education be a better use of your time and money?? and our time really.

  84. Ok. I am a mother of 5 who breastfed all but one of my children. I breastfed in public, but most people didn’t even know I was doing it! COVER UP!!! Use a baby blanket or ‘hooter-hider’! The mom with one baby in the photo is showing very little skin/breast. The mom with two babies is showing a LOT of skin/breast. I understand both babies want to be fed, but breastfeeding moms need to be more careful not to give ‘ammunition’ to those who oppose breastfeeding. You need to cover up! It is NOT easy to get both babies latched on without help from another set of hands; dad, grandma, big brother or sister. When at all possible, in or out of uniform, we should try to live peacably with others. Now, any men who serve with her that have viewed this photo will more than likely be trying to shake this image from their minds. =( Despite what our society tries to tell us…we really can’t have it all without some areas of our lives getting shortchanged and not having 100% of our time, talents, resources, etc. I would like to be…but I’m not superwoman, nor is any other woman I know. 😉 I am a strong advocate of breastfeeding…one of my daughters died IN MY ARMS after a 2 1/2 month hospital stay due to heart and lung complications from a rare lung disease. Breastfeeding is BEST for our babies. However…cover up, or put it up. Be tasteful (no pun intended), classy, confident, but show a little modesty.

  85. I am VERY PROUD of these women for 2 reasons.. 1) For breastfreeding their babies and having that bond and for providing the GREATEST nutrition for their children. 2) for serving our country. For all of you that feel this is a disgrace to the uniform and how they are setting women back by doing this in public… Let me tell you something.. for so long men have been going into bars, getting into fights, having affairs, and going to jail in THAT SAME DAMN uniform, but thats not a disgrace because HE is a MAN. I just wish people would stop thinking of boobs a something sexual. They were made for women to FEED their BABIES, when the baby gets hungry, wherever the baby gets hungry… not in a bathroom, closet, corner, or wherever you simple minded, prude, stuck-up, jerks thinks she needs to go. If it bothers you in public.. feel free to take your plate in the toilet stall!!! Thank You Soldiers aka MOMS!!!

    • I love this Krista ,I believe if a boob feeding is turning a man soldier on he is over sexed and hes the one with a problem .Women are beautiful to men that are real men while feeding her child .Bottles was made by man ,boobs was made by God to feed the child .So some of these posting on here is busted for being over sexed and just acting like a ass .Go women with your beast feeding .Those babies need that milk you made and not the man made chimical crap that is being fed to babies .Keep your baby healthy BREAST FEED .

  86. This photograph is beautiful in every way. For all of those who are appalled by it, think of it like this. Would you ever want to be forced to eat your lunch in the bathroom if that is the only private place around? Is it appropriate to force people to eat with a blanket over their head? Is it practical to leave a crying, hungry baby to go pump milk for twenty minutes and then come back with a bottle? What if you only have twenty minutes available? Would you require any mom to change out of their work clothes every time they needed to feed their child? Is it fair to the hungry baby to make him wait? I don’t care what age you are or what your job is. Eating in public is every person’s natural right, and breastfeeding is no different, in or out of uniform. So the next time you have a problem with a military mom or anyone else feeding their baby in public, you try eating in a bathroom with a blanket on your head and see what that feels like.

  87. I’ve been in the military for 16 years and here is my take….

    Women in the US Military get TOO much leeway when it comes to them and their children in every aspect. In my military career I have had to take the place on deployment of TWO WOMEN two seperate times who got pregnant just prior to their departure date to the AOR. I had to go away from MY family that was planned AROUND my military service so they could friggen start theirs when they should have been fulfilling their readiness requirements. Not fair but I had to deal with it, and I did.

    NOW you are going to tell me I can’t put my hands in my pockets, use my cell phone, or eat a sandwich in uniform because it is “not professional” while Blondie McHugeTits photo’d above sitting next to me whips out her breasts and proceeds to feed her brats while in uniform? GMAFB. The line needs to be drawn and I’m drawing it. How about while in uniform I be allowed to whip out my man pole and pee where I want? I mean there is nothing more natural than a persons bodily functions right? Why should I be limited to have to find a urinal to do my business?

    Your unit WILL accomodate you in every way it can to provide you time to breast pump, breast feed, etc during duty hours in a nice private area so that you do not disturb workcenter flow.

  88. Whoa, this is totatally against article 36-2903: “The t-shirt may be worn untucked while wearing the maternity ABU, but must be tucked in for all others.” Also “Headgear. Headgear will be worn outdoors at all times, unless in a designated ―no hat area.” And “The top button of the ABU coat will not be fastened; however, all other buttons will be secured at all times.” And “The ABU coat may be removed in immediate work area as determined appropriate by local leadership, however, the ABU coat will be worn while interacting with customers/clients.” As you can tell there are multiple violations in this photo alone.

    • it’s not about a dress and appearance infraction billybob, it’s about Integrity. Mom on the left is making a point.. “I can do what I want and you can’t stop me”. The recent USMC story where the Marine spoke out against his commander-in-chief resulted in? DISCHARGE. This airman feeding her babies in a way that exposes her privates WHILE IN UNIFORM should be punished IAW the UCMJ. She’s doing it for personal satisfaction of something she is fighting–who knows, maybe she wants to separate. I’ll give her the separation if she wants it!

  89. This is what it boils down to. If you are not in ANY branch of service you really cant comment on this other then just because .. There is NO REGULATION in any branch of service that ALLOWS you to be IN UNIFORM at breast feed in public. I dont care if its BONDING i got it i have 3 kids who all breastfed BUT my wife is NOT in the service so i doesnt matter. The point is they are in Uniform well actually Out of Uniform because they arent wearing it correctly. When u are in the military everything else comes 2nd.

  90. Wow, a lot of people view nudity almost the same as with murder. It is so funny, do you close your eyes when you take a shower? Is it that repulsive?

  91. Cover up ladies! Stop making a spectacle of this–go ahead and breastfeed, just don’t do it in a manner that brings drama (disgrace) to the service and you’ve done that well by exposing yourself to the public. Ever hear of a hand towel? Cover up, don’t sit in from the the Base Exchange to do this, and you’re fine. See the twin’s moms breasts is out of line and a failure of maintaining good order and discipline. Kind of disgusts me actually. Mike, MSgt ret, USAF

    • Hello guys who are concerned about the integrity in wearing a uniform and demonstrating good order and discipline – what do you think of Krista’s comment posted at 4:31 – “For all of you that feel this is a disgrace to the uniform and how they are setting women back by doing this in public… Let me tell you something.. for so long men have been going into bars, getting into fights, having affairs, and going to jail in THAT SAME DAMN uniform, but thats not a disgrace because HE is a MAN.”

      If you think breastfeeding in uniform is a disgrace to the uniform, then does the military need to review other actions that are done in uniform that are currently accepted ?

      Erik, do you think it is okay for a parent in uniform to bottle-feed a baby in a clinic waiting room, to carry a baby to an appointment at a clinic on base?

  92. It’s great to see all the comments regarding the proper wearing of a military uniform and the manner in which one is to conduct themselves while in uniform.

    IF, you believe you have a problem get off your duffs and make corrections. Don’t sit on the internet whinning like a bunch of whimps/wimpet school kids.

    THAT is not professional!

  93. First off, I support breast feeding in public however, NOT in uniform until a regulation authorizes it. USAF AFI 36-2903 last line first paragraph states “Dress and personal appearance standards that are not listed as authorized in the publication are unauthorized.”. Having your blouse open and shirt pulled up is NOT listed as proper wear therefore USAF women breastfeeding in uniform are in direct violation of this instruction. It’s not OK for anyone, male or female, to have their blouse unbuttoned and shirt pulled up while in uniform.

    • Ok, so you expect these women to make their babies wait to be fed until they get home? I understand it says not to be exposing yourself while in uniform, but they HAVE to lift their shirt up to breasftfeed. Or do you expect them to change their uniform and then change back after they are done?? The military throughout the country supports public breastfeeding in uniform or NOT and they can be charged with violation against breastfeeding rights if they prohibit them from doing so in uniform or NOT. The president can’t even change that law that easily. So NO, they are not in violation of anything except being the target of violators of humanity such are yourself who consider this to be a crime. Like I said, the military can’t do anything about them breastfeeding in uniform. PERIOD. That’s in their right to do so, EVEN IN UNIFORM.

      • actually, as a member fo the military, they do not have the same rights as others in society. While I do support them and I think it is absolutely ridiculous that this is even an issue, they are in the wrong. When you’re in the military, you have no rights. You’re not allowed to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, etc without permission from a higher-up. That isn’t to say you cannot do these things on your own, but if you are hungry and your boss tells you that you cannot eat, then you cannot eat. Same with sleep or anything else. The UCMJ even has guidance on proper sexual positions.

        • Josh,

          Your comment that people in the military, “…have no rights” is not 100% on the mark. I am retiring in a few months from the military. I can assure you that when I needed to go to the bathroom I did. I think the only time I needed to ask for permission was when I was in basic training and tech school. That was 20+ years ago. Also, people in the military still have the rights to vote, entitled to due process under law; and even can attend anti war protests, as long as they are not in a military uniform, just to list a few of the many rights they have.

      • Actually, they can be considered in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Specifically, conduct unbecoming is open ended for a commander to address issues like this. If these women were in my unit I would provide them a working, then start taking rank away.

        • PLEASE CITE THE CODE! (Uniform Code of Military Justice). LINE and VERSE!
          (I would provide them a working). YOUR WORDS!!!!


          • 934. ART. 134. GENERAL ARTICLE
            Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, ….

            This is the catch all for inappropiate behavior for the services.

            I am not against breastfeeding, but there is a time and a place. We are a PROFESSIONAL orgainzation that must display decorm. This is not IBM, do you think the NYPD would allow an officer to unbutton their shirt and move their bullet-proof vest to feed their infant on the subway?

            We have an obligation to the American public to be the tip of the spear. I am sure your not in the Army and in a Division.

        • William, your comments are dissapointing. The way I see this issue is this; breastfeeding is part of our personal choices and we call those choices ‘freedoms.’ Soldiers are dying all around the world to protect our freedoms, yet within that very group of people who are putting their lives on the line for freedom have their own options or choices limited? That sounds absolutely backward to me. Breast feeding is a natural bodily function. So, are you saying that going to the bathroom in uniform also should require rank to be removed? Maybe I just don’t understand military protocol…but it seems to me that if they are willing to die for freedom, maybe these women should be able to enjoy their own freedom.

          • We do chose to give up freedoms as servicemembers. I can’t openly critic public figures, I can patronize prostitutes even when legal (ie Columbia, Arizona), I can’t make political endorsments, and I can’t do charity events in uniform. We are not the only profession to give something up in our vocation. It is about the image we project domesticly and abroad that want to do us harm.

      • I think they need to do this in private, if men look they would be called perverts, but if women do it they are called Ground breakers… The Uniform atleast deserves the respect to keep this behind closed doors. If your in Public use a pump and carry a bottle.

        • Your contention that breast feeding is disrespectful to “the uniform” is false, and the concept that “the uniform” deserves respect over individual humans is also false. I urge you to reconsider your terrible ideas.

        • I agree with CRH, there is absolutely no reason for them to be out in public, while in uniform, to do this. There was a serious lack of judgement here, and it should be dealt with accordingly in the future.

      • No they should notwait until they get home, they should not have a baby with them at work in the first place! They do not bring kids to work, they have a plan for them to be taken care of and fed. They decided to put the uniform on and make a statement. People like this are why the military is weaker. There are more pressing issues than this, lets move on, discipine these attention seekers for making the uniform look weak for the enemy and take care of the real matters

    • Get over it! Regs say nothing about nursing, don’t nit pick about the uniform just to find a way to condemn women who nurse their babies in uniform.

      • The absence of a reg stating it is unauthorized does not automatically mean it IS authorized. Learn military rule and law. The reg must explicitly say “nursing is allowed in uniform on, or off duty” in order for it to be authorized. If it does not then it is not allowed plain and simple.

      • oh but your wrong! This is directly from AFI 36-2903 for Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel:

        1.1. Basic Philosophy and Enforceability.
        1.1.1. The Air Force philosophy is that the uniform will be plain, distinctive, and
        standardized. This standardization includes a minimum and maximum number of authorized
        badges, insignia, and devices.
        1.1.2. Pride in one’s personal appearance and wearing the uniform, greatly enhances the
        esprit de corps essential to an effective military force. Therefore, it is most important for all
        Airmen to maintain a high standard of dress and personal appearance. The five elements of
        this standard are neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity, and military image. The first four
        are absolute, objective criteria needed for the efficiency and well-being of the Air Force. The
        fifth, military image is subjective, but necessary. Appearance in uniform is an important part
        of military image. Judgment on what is the proper image differs in and out of the military.
        The American public and its elected representatives draw certain conclusions on military
        effectiveness based on the image Airmen present. The image must instill public confidence
        and leave no doubt that Airmen live by a common standard and respond to military order and
        discipline. The image of a disciplined and committed Airman is incompatible with the
        extreme, the unusual, and the fad. Every Airman has a responsibility to maintain an
        ―acceptable military image,‖ as well as the right, within limits, to express individuality
        through his or her appearance.
        1.1.3. A very important part of the military image an Airman projects and the impression
        they create is how he/she wears their uniform. As with other personal appearance standards,
        the Air Force emphasizes a ―neat, clean, professional‖ image. Member’s have a
        responsibility to keep their uniform clean, pressed (excluding the Airman Battle Uniform)
        and in good repair. Also, members are responsible for knowing the authorized uniform
        combinations and the correct placement of ribbons, insignia, badges and other uniform items.
        1.1.4. Commanders do not have the authority to waive grooming and appearance standards
        except as identified in Chapter 3, paragraph of this instruction.

        This regulation clearly state that the uniform will at all times maintain an “acceptable military image”. Which means, if a man has his blouse open and his shirt askew in public he is wrong just as much as any woman is. This has nothing to do with breastfeeding it is purely about the professional military image. I am all for women breastfeeding their children and I agree that it is the healthier choice, but doing so in uniform is wrong.

    • Well you better tell all those men in the military to put their shirts back on too! Whenever you see them without one.

      Everyone has issues with breastfeeding not because of itself, but because people think “SEXUAL”. Get over it!

      • your comment is pretty ignorant. Men without shirts in uniform does not happen. Men in uniform do not remove their jackets and wear around their tan tshirts unless they are doing physical labor and a commander approves it because it is hot out. We even have to wear hats and remove them specifically based on our locations. This isnt mcdonalds, this is the business of killing.

          • a necessary evil, so you can sit in the comfort of your home while we do the dirty work. The red cross can give the aid, we give the bullets

          • Yeah, soldier, but “…this is the business of killing” is macho posturing.

            In the Navy’s mission of “Coastal Defense, Forward Projection of Force, and Defense of the Sea Lanes of Communication,” I don’t see killing mentioned even once. As members of the US armed services, we are in the business of defending America. If we can do that without killing, all the better.

          • Im sure you project that force with girl scout cookies and defend the country with flowers you dudebanger. Go back on your ship and let the real men do the door kicking dogbanger

    • “First off, I support breast feeding in public however, NOT in uniform until a regulation authorizes it.”

      That is likely true for the USAF, but not other services. When I came into the service, I was told that there was a huge difference between USAF regulations and those of the other services. Army-Navy-USMC regs spell out what you may NOT do, and Air Force regs spell out what you MAY do.

      Philosophically, that’s a huge difference. As a Navy officer, my interpretation would be that if regs are silent, it isn’t prohibited. (Of course, my profession makes me extremely biased in favor of breast feeding. YMMV.)

      • A statement from the Air Force regarding breastfeeding in uniform confirms there is no hard policy to reference:

        “There is no Air Force policy specifically addressing breastfeeding in uniform,” the statement reads. “However, Airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while in uniform.”

        There’s your answer. Just answer the question, “Are breastfeeding moms less professional than those that choose not to?” I’d like to see the services navigate THAT minefield.

  94. Lets take this beyond the breastfeeding and to the photos, these women should NOT be posing like that in their uniforms. Whatever idiot allowed this is more than likely getting punished- not because of the breastfeeding, but because of the PHOTOS. If a military member isn’t even allowed to be holding their child in uniform what makes it okay to hold open your shirt, stick your kid up there, and take a photo of it to post all over the internet?
    This has gone beyond breastfeeding and into what I think is a call for attention. Well guess what ladies, you got it and I sure as heck hope that you are reprimanded for making such a huge decision for the AF. There may be no set rules, but that does mean that you should get a free for all to do as you please. If anything, your little stunt now just caused a heck of a scene.
    Put your top down, show some respect for the fact that not everyone needs to see that, and that the AF deserves better representation than you two. Breastfeeding deserves better representation than this, next time go the classy route and just write about it.

    • I love the photo and think it’s very classy! Also it says above that they got permission to pose for the photo in their uniforms.

      • I agree, Lacey. And besides, how many other military families HAVEN’T took pictures in uniform with their kids?? LOL What a dumb argument.

        • It is against the UCMJ to pose in uniform to further a cause. Meaning it is against the UCMJ to photographed at a klan rally in uniform, just like is against the UCMJ to attend the Democratic convention in uniform so allowing yourself to be photographed breastfeeding in uniform to promote breastfeeding is against the UCMJ. It doesnt matter if they were given permission by whoever, they and that person ALL should get in trouble. Its not about breastfeeding but it is about the unauthorized use of the uniform to promote an adjenda.

          • “It is against the UCMJ to pose in uniform to further a cause.”

            Well then, we have certain proof that the UCMJ has at least one stupid codification.

          • I personally do not think breastfeeding is a ’cause’. Why should it be. Maybe birth should be ‘a cause’. The only people that see it as such are most likely the ones against it. I figure if they were authorized…then it’s allowed, period. If for some reason the higher-ups don’t like it, they should go to the person who gave the authorization. Not the women. They did their due diligance in requesting permission.

    • Well the Air Force allowed it, so you can deal with that. And my husband and I have took lots of professional pictures with out kid and him in his uniform and so has every other Army/military man/spouse that I know. It sounds more like you are against these women breastfeeding in their uniforms than them holding their babies and having pictures taken in uniform, because it’s not like others haven’t done it nor will keep doing so.

      • It doesnt say the Air Force gave permission, a uninformed commander probably gave them permission and if that is the case, they need to be held accountable as much as these women.

      • Exactly. I think the real reason behind all the annoyance is that their breastfeeding. It’s not so much the uniform. People are just using that as a fall back.

        • Yes its the fact they are in uniform Lacey. Not because they are breastfeeding. No military member gives two shits about the breastfeeding. The girls are WAY out of uniform.


      • Seriously, well put! She swears like military men never hold their kids in uniform and if like an MP is really going to stop them and say “PUT DOWN THAT KID!” lol So silly.

    • I agree w/you Sarah! When in uniform, they arent allowed to hold hands, show PDA,or anything like that. No matter how deserving I may or may not be, my husband can not kiss me! Im all for breastfeeding but not for people who are making a statement about it! They went far beyond!

      • With the PDA thing. Then that means that when a military member that has been deployed comes back home they are not allowed to hug, kiss, or anything. That is PDA in uniform. Yet It is allowed because Its one of those habbits that you cant help, Its the same with breastfeeding. Its built into our DNA and you cant help that.

      • Except that the picture was approved by the Air Force before it was taken. This is not candid; the mothers and the photographer asked for, and received, official permission and approval.

        So I don’t see how this could POSSIBLY be considered “going too far.” It’s not like anybody was defying orders.

        The military arguments against breastfeeding in uniform are rather different from civilian arguments that breastfeeding is fine so long as it is “discreetly” hid under a blanket, confined to a bathroom stall, only “indulged” in at home since there’s ALWAYS the option of pumping milk and using a bottle in public, etc. However, while the reasons given for the objections are different, the basic emotion behind the reasons is the same: “Stop doing that where we can see you. It makes us uncomfortable.”

        Thing is, as among civilians, there is difference of opinion among military personnel (at all levels) as to whether breastfeeding in uniform is “too much.” Since someone relatively high in the chain of command approved the taking and publishing of this photograph, “keep it modest for heaven’s sake!” is not the official opinion of the US Air Force, or the military in general. It’s just a very *common* opinion. Common and official are not the same thing, as I’m sure you are aware.

        I do think some clarification needs to be made, or acrimonious differences of opinion will continue to rage. Babies have to be held whether they are being fed by bottle or nursed at the breast. The role of mothers serving in the military needs more specific parameters, especially regarding their deployment. Perhaps we could hold off on sending new parents overseas until the offspring is at least old enough to be weaned? (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one year; the World Health Organization and nearly every other pediatric association in other countries recommends at least two years.) Fathers would, of course, benefit from this as well. Let them serve stateside until the child is one or two years old. I imagine this would also be better for morale, and morale is important.

        • Sarah, you truly odon’t understand what it means to SERVE. Allowing people to join, and not deploy for a year or two of thier contract during a time of WAR, essentially voids the contract. They will be being paid for NOT doing thier job… and then you run back into the sexist issues… if woman don’t deploy or find reasons not to, then why do we even let them join? Not all deployed spots can be filled by the men. If you can’t do your job, as the rules state, get out. Stop the “we are women, hear us roar” crap… You want to breastfeed in public at your will, find another job! This one has rules…

          • Kim, based on your response I think two things, one, I hope you are not in the military with that attitude and two, long-term, strategic human resource management planning is not part of your education.

  95. I think the pictures are amazing!!!! This is a very natural thing that all moms (uniform or not) should be proud of. Feeding their babies with the best food possible!!!!

  96. I am a mom of twins, and I too breastfed my girls simultaneously. Why is breastfeeding in public such a big deal? God created breasts so that women could nurture and provide nutrition to their children, so I don’t understand why it should matter whether a woman is in a military uniform or not if she desires to breastfeed. Our society has been brainwashed into thinking of breasts for sexual purposes only. Little do they know, they have got it completely wrong. While I did not breastfeed my babies in public, I feel it is a woman’s right to decide not anyone else’s, and I support public and private breastfeeding 100%.

    • Here’s the issue, in America, the female body has been considered taboo. In “I Dream of Jeannie” in the 1965s NBC had a “No Navel Edict” which prevented Barbara Eden from showing her navel on national broadcast television. Due to the patriarchal Puritanical conservative Christian theological based undercurrent of American society, anything construed as “sexual” in American society is considered taboo. So since women’s breasts and women’s bodies are always of a “sexual” value, it is taboo, so there are a lot of Americans who get bent out of shape over what is considered to be a natural part of being a human. America is a mess, thong underwear can be shown above jean waistlines without any objection, and Hollywood can display low cut v maxi dresses and low dips as long as the woman isn’t obese, but something as natural as childbirth, breastfeeding, and sexual intercourse is considered to be taboo and dirty. And the human body and anything having to do with the human body brings about disgust in the United States. Americans need to get a shift of thought when it comes to raising a family. Military women are often forced to bottle feed their infants at 6 months because the mother gets orders to deploy to a location where family is not allowed. So for the 12 month to 18 month deployment, the mother-child boding time is interrupted as is the natural processes of a woman’s body. Milk dries up, child does not get nurtured, and America continues to be cold hearted towards maternal matters.

      • So Aileen, the way to keep a woman who chose to join the military from being FORCED to start bottle feeding her infant at 6 months because she gets deployed is for her to NOT sign on the dotted line to begin with. Harsh? Maybe, but true. I get so tired of people that join the military, but then don’t want to hold up their end of the contract. “Oh, I can’t deploy, I just had a baby, and I’m breastfeeding”… Really? give me a break… Should have thought about that before signing up, and/or before having a baby.

        As far as breastfeeding while in uniform, I don’t agree with it. Men in uniform are not allowed to walk around with their shirts hiked up, why should women be? Something else they should have thought prior to choices they made……. just sayin’


  97. This picture is beautiful. I am not against breastfeeding in anyway, however, why are they in uniform breastfeeding? What is the purpose of the picture? And purhaps the most disturbing part is these children look to be old enough to WALK.. it’s weird [to me] when children old enough to walk and talk are still breastfeeding. Just my opinion..

    • They are not old enough to walk. They look about 8 months at best. Big, healthy, breast fed kids. These women are amazing. When will people begin honoring and respecting our American women. No one should EVER question the decency or choices of these wonderful soldiers and mothers.

    • It depends on what country you are from. America is very cold-hearted when it comes to maternal matters and child rearing. There are many cultures except the United States that allows their children to suckle until they are ready to discontinue. In many countries, after a woman gives birth, she is not allowed to do any household or heavy lifting for 40 days or more. She is not allowed out of the house, and other people, family friends, extended family step in to take care of these tasks so she can focus on being a mother and nurturing her newborn baby. Japanese culture allows a child to be with the mother until about age 7. And in many of these countries, there is less emotional trauma to the child over weaning. There is more warmth and more bonding time with mother versus American style child rearing where the child is placed to sleep alone in a crib and it is a much more cold approach.

    • they are having lunch with their moms its only a work uniform ,and some children need a little more time to grow up ,maybe more moms should take a little more time with their kids and the world ,wouldn’t be so cruel .

  98. I think breastfeeding anywhere whenever, wherever the baby needs to nurse is natural and beautiful. There are only 2 legitimate complaints in my opinion. 1) Military members are prohibited from using their uniform in any form of activism or promoting anything not officially sanctioned. So if they were approved, then whoever approved this, should answer to all the critics, and if nobody approved this, then they should be reprimanded. 2) Whether it’s a female or male, any military member should not be taking photos with their uniform unbuttoned and chest exposed for a modeling shoot because it is improper wear of the uniform. If they were airmen under my command, then I would have no problem with them breastfeeding in uniform at their desk or anywhere else where the member is approved to remove their outer uniform shirt called a “blouse.” However, I would not approve of them modeling like this because the military is bound by law to remain politically neutral, not taking any side other than the sworn duty side of the Constitution and protecting this great nation.

    • Well someone did not follow your advice, because they took the political side of allowing homosexuals to wear the uniform.

  99. You do not have to be in uniform if the appointment is for your child. The only time you had to be in uniform is if you report for sick call which I don’t know of any clinic that has sick call. Now they are same day acute appointments.

  100. I can’t believe this is even a debate. I’m sick to death of idiots commenting on the MOST NATURAL THING IN THE WORLD. Women deserve respect and admiration for the amazing things they can accomplish in life like defend our country, hold down jobs to support families as well as give birth and nourish those families with their own bodies.

    Yeah, the “ladies” are just crying for attention. What an ignorant, sexist, threatened male thing to say. People need to get over their personal hang ups and live and let live. The choice to breastfeed is wholesome and brave. No man could endure it.


    • breast feeding is very natural. Being in the military where you are expected to travel thousands of miles to destroy the enemies of your contry is not. The fact is that the military uniform is a symbol of strength, discipline and people have fought and died in it. Joining the military you give up freedoms to protect those of the people you defend. there is a base level of discipline and people try to get around regulations and do outrageous things just because a regulation cannot outline EVERY SINGLE possible action a human being can do.

  101. I have nothing against breastfeeding. I agree it is better for the child and mother. HOWEVER, I don’t agree that breastfeeding in public is okay. Nor, do I think it’s appropriate to breastfeed in uniform in public. For female military personnel, I think it would be considered unprofessional. I also feel that all military branches require ALL of their military personnel to follow a set code of conduct and once an individual has agreed to work in a military branch, that individual agrees to follow ALL the rules and regulations of that branch. Not pick and choose. Yes, you may be a mother and yes, you can breastfeed your child. But breastfeeding in your uniform in a public place? I would imagine that would be in direct conflict with some of those rules/regulations you agreed upon. Female military personnel need to deal and live with that choice and we civilians should not try create a debate of the issue. We civilians should stay out of it, it is not our fight nor will it ever be our fight. And as for those individuals in the military, read your military manual…you know there is no fight to be had.

    • Jennifer, I agree with you totally. We are heading toward being a lawless society. That means “I sign up for something (e.g., the military), and I behave as I want, whenever I want, and then expect people to make concessions for me.” I have no problem with breastfeeding and also consider it to be natural. But sex is natural and is not done in public while exposed to others. Some things, though natural, are not appropriate publicly, especially while in uniform. We continue on the slippery slope of being an “anything goes” society.

    • Breastfeeding in public is one of those catch 22 things. yes ladies can breastfeed in public but there are certain places that they shouldnt. Like if they are out to lunch at a restaurant then they should go to the restroom and do it so not to disturb others whom are thrying to eat. you never know how squirmish people are about their food. but say you were in a piblic park having a picnic with your husband, sitting on a blanket in an open space then yea they should be able to do that no questions asked. just use a recieving blanket to cover up any skin, its what they are for.

  102. I can’t believe there are people with issues regarding breastfeeding in public all the while anywhere you look in media/society their is nudity,sex,violence etc. Women should be able to feed their baby however,wherever they need. That said, on a personal note. I don’t feel its the best choice to go into a high risk job such as the military (with the reality of going into a war zone)when you have a young child/children. I realize men do it all the time but I think if at all possible a child needs that extra maternal nurturing. Lets face it, we are the ones who were made to have them and I feel its best we are their to raise them

  103. I’m a veteran and a father of four. I fully support mothers publicly breastfeeding. Whether they are in the military or not is irrelevent. Breastmilk is the best thing for babies as medical studies have shown.

  104. breastfeeding is natural, women were made that way from the start of time ,think your god made this happen so think you can change that .Babies need to eat so they can grow up and keep this world turning ,they are the future ,I see it as a mom doing her job,seems some folks want them to go hide.Stand your ground ladies I’m behind you 150%,.

    • than bill send them to the 3rd world countrys where the women run around with out shirts feeding there babys. not sexuial than why do they stuff them to make them bigger, wont hold any more milk, put a tassal on the nipples and call it ok for america. the military is a proud and honorable group to help keed you and this country safe for the 3rd world countrys and keeping the uniform on clean and stright is there duty.

  105. This is for Fat Tony,to me your commit is about sex this is about feeding children ,get off it ,thanks ,Bill

  106. The uniform was disgraced the day they sanctioned to allow homosexuals to wear it. If the mothers had permission then get over it.

  107. You two girls will never have the respect of your subordinates (if you ever rise to the position of leadership) now that they have seen your fun bags displayed all over the internet.

    And you are the reason the military has stupid rules dictating every aspect of life including how to properly tie your shoes according to regulation because some jackass always comes up with some crazy shit (like this debauchery) and then they have to add it in to the regulation. Many time I have come across reading something crazy in a regulation and thought ‘some idiot has done this?’ and now I know why.

    You are both an embarrassment

    • I agree, Velez. The saddest thing is that people do these type of things that now require more regulation, and there are lots of people who are for it. An earlier commenter mentioned a “lawless society”. I agree that there will eventually be so many laws (inside and outside of the military) that we will eventually give up (due to litigation and the cost of enforcement) and just let people run lawless.

      • exactly, like i saw earlier it is true there is a regulation on how to have intercourse. Do you thinkthis occured out of the blue? I bet it happene after some crazy sexcapades between soldiers where law enforcement got involved. These airmen just want attention and are involved in a soft job andprobably have alot of free time. It saddens me to see what the military is becoming. If women want to serve andsupport women in the infantry, they should portray the same level of excellence, discipline and strength the men do (whichfor the most part they do), but these pictures show servicewomen in the same uniform that I wearwhen I carry ridiculous amounts of weight throug sand for endless miles through the heat with their breasts exposed and two children latched on to them. I wonder how the enemy will compare me to them when they see these pictures.

        • I agree Velez… You are in the desert defending our country. These women are wearing the same uniform, and all they are worrying about is trying to keep the weight out of their breasts so that they don’t have a leak. Pretty sad if you ask me… Oh and being able to hike their uniform up in public so that they can breastfeed their child…

          Thank you for what you do to keep me and my family safe!!

  108. The issue isn’t about the merits of breastfeeding kids. I think everyone can pretty much agree that breastfeeding, for the most part, is better than bottles. The issue is these women are in uniform, in public. If they insist on being in uniform while they breastfeed, then they need to do it in private. If they want to breastfeed in public, fine, take the uniform off. These women are enlisted, so that helps to explain why they didn’t see anything wrong in having this photo taken. But come on, exercise a little common sense! And unfortuantely, common sense is something that one either has or doesn’t, it can’t be taught. If they were in my chain of command, those two would NOT be allowed to re-enlist.

    • Right and Wrong…they should have known the reg (AFI 36-2903) and for what its worth Enlisted generally know the regs better than Officers

  109. The Navy person quoted in this story about not being allowed to hold their child is being rediculous. I hold my daughter all the time we all hold our kids when they’re at the ages that they can be. This person is either very immature or a complete fabrication.

    Lastly, these women knew what they were doing when they posed for this photo. And no you can’t just pull up your shirt and expose everything so you can nurse. Its expected that you cover up with something so as to not attract attention to the uniform not being properly worn. Think these women would do this in the PX or commissary? I doubt it.

  110. You wonder why? the world is so unresponsive to doing the right thing for the right reasons. And Why young adults are acting out. Breast feeding is ok if that is what a mother wants to do, but leave something to the imagination. Their are private things that need to stay private and this is one of those things. I would be embarrassed to be sitting on a bench in public and breast feeding my child/or children. People really need to stop and think and wonder that when you become a mother you are looked upon differently meaning that you should be holding and carrying yourself so that when your children become adults that would be ashamed of what you’ve done in your life time.Be ready and aware of the consequences that come with doing things like this. It maybe ok to breast feed, but why not in privacy, it’s a private matter, just like having sex.

  111. Ok I am a 13 year old girl. I was brestfed for 6 years. I am an A-B student I have made national jr honor society. I am tired of this if u have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. This women all of them in the Military should be given a medal for serving thier country, caring for their family and still. nursing or pumping. So from now on only positive comments because I bet the nasty messed up comments are from women not in the military, not nursing, not serving their country. These women still enlisted should be able to nurse in their uniform. They are aloud to have babies they are for Certin aloud to care for their child/childen they want to. Other that don’t agree should not out of niceness should every tell a women(in the military or civilian) how to care for their child/childen.
    Thank you

    • Maybe if you would have got off the boob a little earlier, you might know the difference between “aloud” and “allowed”.

    • Maybe if you would have stopped breast feeding a little earlier, you might know the difference between “aloud” and “allowed”.

    • being only 13 your not an adult so kieep your non adult opinions to yourself. this is about our military and its disrespect to the uniform.

    • Maybe if you would have stopped feeding a little earlier, you might know the difference between “aloud” and “allowed”.

    • Siobhan, You show a lot of wisdom and maturity in how you express your thoughts in a debate as well as how you refrain from expressing personal attacks against any of the people with whom you disagree. Excellent job of focusing on reason and thought.

      Your intelligence in debating, courage in expressing yourself in an adult forum, restraint from responding in the belittling manner with which you were treated, and kindness would make you a great soldier.

      • Kat, your response and generalization of our servicemembers is extremely ignorant. While their comments are inappropriate and asinine, so is your thought process. I have served my country, and fought hard for the American people and turned down college grants and left the comforts of my upper class home because I love my country. Your comment puts you in the same category as the people you try to rebut, and your thinking makes me embarassed of the people I serve

      • Kat, i misread i thougt you were being sarcastic towards the idiots commenting on this girl’s post and cannot delete my comment from my device. And yes, for a 13 year old girl you show knowledge. Just remember this debate is not against breastfeeding, but the uniform and disciplinary aspect of it being done while in uniform. and the guys commenting inappropriately, learn to make a semi-intelligent response.

        • Soldier, I’m glad you still don’t think I was making general statements about military minds – I was just attempting to defend a 13 year old from two men’s personal attacks.

          I think this debate is about much more than the issue of military uniform code. See my looooong post below. Yes, their uniform shirts were untucked and pulled up which is against code – but it seems the military needs this controversy and discussion to review and clarify several behaviors happening in uniform.

    • Siobhan,
      I dont think anyone is saying they shouldn’t bf, it is more about how they should do it. Some of which you will not understand because you have never served. What these “leaders” should have done was have a bottle they can feed their children when on the base or step into the bathroom or closed office. Having your soldiers see you exposed like that opens doors of inappropiateness. There are some things soldiers can’t do just because of the professional image we portray. For example, a soldier can’t walk with their hands in their pockets even when cold (you get gloves or go inside), you can’t walk and eat/ drink, you can’t walk and talk on the phone.

  112. Ladies. This is NOT about breastfeeding in public. I couldn’t give two shits about breastfeeding in public. This article is about breastfeeding WHILE IN UNIFORM. The fact they even talk about in public is just to solicit dumbass responses like “breastfeeding is natural” so the argument AGAINST is not so one sided.

    Breastfeeding in uniform SHOULD BE UNAUTHORIZED and to be honest true to form it ALREADY IS because regs MUST STATE that it is authorized to begin with. The absence of a reg stating it is unauthorized DOES NOT MEAN it is by default authorized. Get a clue ladies.

  113. Bottom line the issue is that women in uniform can not breast feed we can all we want, but women in uniform also usually go to the restroom to do it and cover up just out of respect for those around. The issue that everyone has with this is that you can not use the uniform to promote anything and these women did. As a million people have said their is no rule against it but we are held to a higher standard and most usually go into a restroom or something to do it away from the public by choice and respect for what we represent.

  114. The question: would this photo have the same effect on me if it were two civilian mothers: Answer: yes. The one on the right with the toddler is discretely nursing her child. The one on the left with the twins shows WAY TOO MUCH BOOB. I breast fed in public, even in church! I did not, however, show my big ole boobs to anyone. I would be offended if I saw this in person.

    • Absolutely, Julie! We are all members of society, and we should begin considering someone other than ourselves. I don’t want other women’s “big ole boobs”, as you say, on display in front of me. Just cover up …

  115. Ahh yes. Using the military for social experimentation and social engineering yet again-thanks to two Air Force bimbos trying to gin up controversy. I suspect they didn’t solicit approval for release of these photos from the chain of command. Simple question: in what venue would a female service member be in uniform breastfeeding a child? Second: did these two women solicit the approval of their local public affairs officer to have these photos released? If not-slam them-failure to follow a lawful order, Article 92, UCMJ.

  116. I am a 20-year U.S. Army retiree and I breastfed my youngest child. NEVER once did I do it in uniform because I was on duty! I pumped while at work for my daughter during the day while we were apart (she’s at the babysitter’s). Once I picked her up and took her home, I took OFF my uniform and she would feed then. I would never disrespect the US Army, the military, by exposing my body, just to make a point. That is what this is. Yes, you are mothers but you also in the military. Being in the military is not the same as being a civilian. No one made you sign that contract and raise your hand. Don’t like it, you can always get out and breastfeed in public all day long.

    • This right here. Being in the military means you have to accept some restrictions on what you do and what you say.

  117. What does it matter ?
    When it all comes down to it it is a natural thing to do . They are moms too and their babies need to be fed <3
    Ithink people need to be open minded on certain things and not knock everyone about this because its been around for decades and thousands of years

    • Linda, the issue is appropriateness in public and in uniform, not whether it is natural or has been around a long time.

  118. There is a ‘contingency uniform’ for active duty women during their maternity months. How difficult would it be to insert an opening like those which exist in other ‘nursing garments’ which allow the baby to nurse and expose virtually NOTHING of mom’s breast? The idea of having to untuck a t-shirt, lift it up and then unbotton a camo-utility shirt is cumbersome at best. Why not just make this easy and stop wasting time/effort/energy over the very purpose that breasts EXIST! Babies who are hungry must be fed. End of story – NEXT!

  119. Look, I think breast feeding in uniform is fine, because you still have to pump or breast feed to relieve your breasts. If not you start to leak and then you have a wet uniform. I had women who I supervised while I was in the Navy and they were breast feeding, but they did not have their babies with them at work, they did however have to pump because the breasts were full, and occassionally they would leak and were very embarrassed about it. So you tell me which is worse? Wearing the uniform is a service that many Americans give to their country to keep and protect our freedom, and if we have women who decide to breast feed while they are raising a family and wear the uniform, so what. They have already sacraficed alot more than you can imagine such as deploying and leaving their children who they gave birth to behind, and breast feeding is a bond between mother and child as well as a way of providing them the best possible food while growing out of infancy. Bonding is crucial, because you should see the mess that military children are in because of seperation from their parents when they deploy, especially mother and children. Look it up or go ask the therapists who work with both active duty and their families how deployments etc. impact the military family. Give it a rest!

  120. This isn’t about breastfeeding in public. It is about proper wear of the uniform. I am retired Air Force. I nursed all three children. I ALWAYS found ways to either nurse them privately while in uniform or express milk in advance and feed them with a bottle. I did nurse publicly while in civilian clothes. There are ways to work around this. Some government buildings (e.g. Pentagon) actually have stalls in the ladies’ rooms specifically for nursing or pumping.

  121. Why is it when someone questions the image of two uniformed military members doing something against military code, they’re automatically branded as being anti-woman or anti-breastfeeding or anything like that? And what’s with all the man hating going on around here?

    This. Is. Not. About. Breastfeeding. Or women. They are breaking the UCMJ. Period. Gender is not the issue here. You wanted equality, and you got it – break the rules regarding your uniform, regardless of gender, and you get treated equally. NO SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR EITHER GENDER. EQUALITY.

  122. The government should not allow women in the military. Let the boys play their deadly games – we have more important things to do in this world like create and sustain life! We are smarter, fairer, and can handle more pain and we were given these gifts on purpose. If these gifts are incompatible with military service then we should simply not participate. If you choose to participate in their games then you forfeit your rights as an individual woman. Sometimes it is not always prudent to have your cake and eat it too.

  123. I am former Air Force (35 years ago). I think what these Airmen are doing is great! My wife and I have 5 children, all breastfed. It’s the best way to go.

  124. I served 16 years, however I had my twins after I was discharged. So nursing in uniform never came up for me. But, I will say that I did nurse in public, but discretely. I really have no interest in anyone seeing my “girls”. I have nursed EVERYWHERE in many public places. I was not interested in making people uncomfortable or being gawked at. Quite honestly I needed to be comfortable nursing in order to have good milk production and having people stare at me would have stressed me out and cut the “dairy supply”.
    I think dress and decorum are at issue here – and that is the problem some people have with the photo. A man would not be allowed to walk around with his shirt up while in uniform – so in their minds and in mine too how can this be ok. I know all the arguments “the man’s not nursing! – this is a natural part of life…etc”. When I was Active Duty I worked with many women who nursed – their spouse would bring their child up to their work place and they would nurse in a private area or they would pump in a private location. No one insisted or expected them to bottle feed solely because they were in uniform and everyone was accommodating to their needs. Perhaps it’s time for the military to step up to how many large corporate employers are handling breastfeeding in the workplace – proving designated breastfeeding rooms and access to hospital grade pumps in the workplace.

    • Thank you Steph for your service and statment. we arnt aginst women nursing in public . we see you with a baby and it clicks that you will be nursing at sometime, so we dont following you around to watch we stay clear or walk away when we see a mother nursing. women shouldnt be allowed to have their breast inplanted if they dont want to have them thought of as a sexual object. my wife cover hers up out of respect of her and the child. pump it if your not going to be around the child at feeding time.

  125. The military supports nursing. People, both the nursing mothers and the commands, don’t always realize this. Nursing mothers are protected by MCO 5000.12. The issue is not nursing while active duty, the question is nursing publicly in uniform. I have already stated my opinion on this matter. There are a lot of people posting who are unfamiliar with the military and I just wanted them to realize that every command is required to have a space for a nursing mother so there is no need to nurse out in the open in uniform:

    a. Servicewomen who desire to continue breastfeeding upon return to duty will notify their chain of command at the earliest possible time to allow the command to determine how best to support them and facilitate the prompt evaluation of the workplace for potential hazards.
    b. When possible, the servicewoman who continues to provide breast milk to her infant upon return to duty shall be, at a minimum, afforded the availability of a clean, secluded space (not a toilet space) with ready access to a water source for the purpose of pumping breast milk.
    c. The time required for breast milk expression varies and is highly dependent upon several factors including the age of the infant, amount of milk produced, pump quality, the distance the pumping location is from the workplace, as well as how conveniently located the water source is from the pump location. Supervisors and lactating servicewomen will collaborate to keep to a minimum the amount of time required for milk expression. Lactation consultants are available at the MTF to assist in this endeavor.

    • I think there is varied interpretation when people talk about mothers in uniform breastfeeding “in the open” or “in public”. Do you think a mother in uniform should be allowed to breastfeed her baby in a clinic waiting room? I imagine some breastfeeding moms are thankful for a clean, private, quiet space; however, others feel banished.

      I imagine that the way some breastfeeding mothers have been treated in clinic waiting rooms has greatly varied – an offer of a private room can be delivered in a supportive manner as an option, or it can be delivered in a condemning manner that reflects the speaker thinks breastfeeding is dirty or a disgrace to the uniform.

      I’m gathering that because of the negative attitudes towards breastfeeding existing in many places in the military, the mothers in this support group created a local campaign to support and encourage breastfeeding military moms. They had no idea the photos would spark such national debate. It didn’t seem to be their intended agenda – IT IS OUR AGENDA – IT IS OUR NEED – EVERYONE IN THIS FORUM and other forums to try to figure out where we stand on breastfeeding, on women in the military, on women being able to be so much – disciplined killing machines, sexy women, and nurturing mothers. It is OUR AGENDA to clarify what we expect of military in uniform, and what our society considers to be proper, respectable behaviors for soldiers and officers in uniform.

      If the issue is with the proper wearing of the uniform or what is proper activity/behavior in a uniform, then it seems the military code needs to be reviewed in general and clarified – not only concerning bottle feeding/breastfeeding spaces, but also concerning consumption of alcohol and smoking.

      Some of the posts expressing opinions that wouldn’t support breastfeeding in uniform in a clinic waiting room use sound reasons based on an inconsistent – and vague regarding breastfeeding – military code attempting to delineate proper behaviors in uniform.

      As the military clarifies behaviors acceptable in uniform, it will be clear that the issue of a mother breastfeeding in a clinic waiting room is not just about untucking a shirt.

      Other posts expressing opinions that wouldn’t support breastfeeding in uniform in a clinic waiting room are clearly linked to a discomfort – sometimes disgust – with breastfeeding, some posts expressing a hatred of women in the military or of mothers in the military, some posts expressing an objectification of women’s bodies.

      I think the discussion these photos generated is very necessary to help not only the military command, but also our society in general grow in our understanding and respect of women and in our realization that God created women’s breast primarily for nurturing young.

      Our society needs to come to terms with the twisted and confused attitudes towards women’s breasts, bodies. On one hand, sexualized and mostly naked images of women are plastered everywhere, on the other hand seeing the bump of a nipple under a shirt can be taboo for some – and seeing some of the breast engaged in breastfeeding offends or grosses some people out, while some consider women who show any or too much cleavage to be sluts while thinking nothing of a male walking around shirtless.

  126. This is not a debate about whether breastfeeding is good or bad, it’s about whether breastfeeding openly in public without using a nursing cover or anything, in uniform, is appropriate. And it isn’t. Neither is nursing in public in civilian clothes with no attempt at privacy. I am a woman, with a sister who served in the AF for 10 years (and had a baby that she nursed during that time), and I intend to breastfeed my children, but the fact remains that the polite thing to do while nursing in public is to at least make an attempt to cover it up. Breastfeeding makes some people uncomfortable, and it is not outrageous to just use a nursing cover, or go into the restroom or a more private area to do it.

    Yes, breastfeeding is natural and wonderful, but that does not mean it shouldn’t be treated with a little bit of discretion. Women are not permitted to walk around topless in public when they aren’t breastfeeding – we would all agree that would be ridiculous, even though the human body is natural too. And, as many others have said, those who volunteer to serve in the military know that they are giving up certain rights and must abide by certain rules, including those pertaining to their dress.

    If you are active duty and need to breastfeed, then great, find a private place to do it. There is absolutely no need to do it out in public with no regard for the people around you, like these two women did for the photo.

    • Actually, in regards to your ‘women can’t go topless without breastfeeding’ comment… Some states have put a law in place that says that women can go topless in any place that a man can, in public. One state that I know for sure has this law is New York, but I believe other states have it too. I may be wrong. /shrug.

      Also I don’t understand why breastfeeding needs ‘discretion’. That baby is eating. No one makes you go sequester yourself to eat. You can eat in the park, in a lunchroom, or wherever you please. That baby is just taking advantage of its rights and privileges to do the same. If you have a problem with breastfeeding in public, you don’t have to look at it. It isn’t about you, unless you are the one feeding the baby or the baby being fed. You can do whatever you feel most comfortable with when it is your child, but if another woman pops herself out of her shirt to feed her child without a cover, it literally has nothing to do with you.

      I understand that the military has uniform regs, which is why I think that they should at least provide an area on base to breastfeed their children without punishment, much like there is a mess hall for adults to eat. If you feel like that is still ‘being out of uniform’ while on duty, let me remind you that there are also bathrooms on base, and that no one requires that men OR women be in perfect uniform for the entirety of their stay in there. That would be silly. Hence; the out-building or room(s) on base provided for nursing mothers to feed their children with ‘discretion’.

  127. There is no regulation with respect to nursing or breastfeeding. However, there are regulations regarding the proper wear of the uniform. Unfortunately, in order to nurse or breastfeed the uniform is no longer worn properly and that is a problem. I don’t care why you are improperly wearing your uniform. All that matters is that you are. If I give you a pass on properly wearing the uniform, then I would have to treat others the same way regardless of the circumstances. If you are truly a good soldier/sailor/airman/marine you will have figured this out before and made arrangements to nurse/breastfeed without having to improperly wear the uniform in public.

  128. I cannot believe we are even having these discussions. Our babies need the best possible start in life! Breastfeeding is the way to accomplish this. Who the hell cares if a mother is rich, poor, civilian or military? This is 2012! Haven’t we learned from other country’s when it comes to bottle feeding. Baby formula that was tainted with poison and formula that was cut to make a bigger a profit. The children paid the price. Grow up people; there is nothing sexual about a woman breastfeeding her baby. It is a very beautiful thing, just like the female body is the beautiful work of God. If it gets you excited to see a woman breastfeed then so be it, get over it, but breastfeeding in public or private is not wrong. Even in uniform. Babies need to be feed, either with a bottle or a breast. Find a real issue to debate, like world hunger or world peace.

  129. Like it or not. Agree with it or not. Women now serve in our military in what have been traditionally male roles. Put rules in place to govern the special circumstances that that females uniquely bring into play. Make camo cover blankets or whatever, just address it. Try as they might, the plolitically correct crowd can not invent a “unisex” world. It doesn’t exist. It’s an imagined reality that is doomed in spite of the hubris of those who insist on promoting it

  130. Oh no, breasts! They scare me! They offend me! They should be made illegal! Ban the breasts! Ban the breasts!

  131. The core problem here is the idea in our society that breastfeeding is shameful. That breasts are shameful. Yes, many women use them as accessories, which I don’t have a particular problem with either, but they actually serve a real purpose. Feeding our children. There is so much history that attributes why we have this stigma with breasts and breastfeeding. It is way more complicated than many people realize. But just because it is our social norm to have this stigma, doesn’t make it right. The change has to start somewhere, and it’s been changing very slowly over recent years. I don’t consider breastfeeding in public as being “exposed”, even if there is a little breast showing. These women are not out there flashing people walking by, they are actually DOING something that is necessary and GOOD. Do you see the difference? Breastfeeding in uniform should be no more shameful than sitting down to eat lunch ourselves while in uniform.

  132. Lets break it down to it’s core issues.

    Breastfeeding: GOOD

    Violation of policies regarding uniform wear: BAD

    The women broke the regs, plain and simple, and irrespective of the “goodness” of their cause. They need to be punished just like their male peers would be if they violated uniform requirements.

    If women want equality, then they need to take the responsibility that goes along with maintaining equal standards.

  133. I think they should provide these women with an area to breastfeed while in uniform on the base, where they would not be ‘acting unprofessionally’ by providing their child with the nutrients it needs. Granted that’s essentially corralling them into a room or out-building, but a baby is not going to wait until you get home to be hungry. If you ran out of bottles for the day (for any reason), and you can’t feed that child IN THE WAY NATURE INTENDED, that child is going to cry and scream until it becomes an inconvenience, or even a hazard, to those around it. At least provide these women who are committed to doing their duty for the country with one part of a base that they can tend to their baby’s needs.

    Since there are no rules now, that means that this was not put under the heading of ‘mussing up the uniform’ or ‘PDA’ as everyone claims that it is. Stop trying to come up with hateful rules to suppress what is natural for others for no purpose other than to make yourself feel better. The military is not about you. The military is about protecting the people of this country. If a woman wants to feed her child she should be allowed the time to do so. They are allowed meal halls and bathrooms for that natural act, an act that puts them in an ‘unprofessional’ situation. No one has military decorum while they eat, let alone in the bathroom. If you don’t want to see it, that’s fine. It’s not for you to watch. If a baby is on base, there should at least be a room (or a few rooms) or a building where that baby can eat in whatever way the mother feels is appropriate for herself and that child. Deal with it people.

    • Most squadron’s have specific rooms to allow mothers to pump while they are away from their children and performing normal USAF duties. Hope that helps. Retired USAF MSgt

  134. I’m in my 70’s and breastfed my children in public when our culture was far more conservative than it is now. However, I always covered my baby’s head and my exposed breast with a scarf, poncho, etc. I do not remember ever being criticized. And I felt more comfortable not letting everything hang out for anyone to see. I can’t address the specific “breastfeed in uniform” issue, but I can’t understand why everyone wants to be so public about it.

  135. Ok I am a 13 year old girl. I was breastfed for 6 years. I am an A-B student I have made national jr honor society. I am tired of this if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. These women, all of them in the Military, should be given a medal for serving thier country, caring for their family and still nursing or pumping. So from now on only positive comments because I bet the nasty messed up comments are from women not in the military, not nursing, not serving their country. These women still enlisted should be able to nurse in their uniform. They are allowed to have babies, they are for certain allowed to care for their child/children should they want to. Other than that if you don’t agree, you should, out of niceness not tell a woman (in the military or civilian) how to care for their child/children.
    Thank you

  136. Okay, get off the 13 year olds back. She is entitled to make a comment like everyone else on here. You don’t have to agree with it. However, lets get to the point, the twins mom is showing WAY too much, but a very nice rack at that. The mom on the right, is discreet and there is nothing wrong with breast feeding, as long as you do it discreetly. Lucky twins!!!!

  137. I think so many are missing the point… I’m a female veteran who had a child on active duty. However, there is nothing that says they HAVE to allow you the abitlity to take care of the child you had… in fact, the services have family care plans to ensure that family or not, you are there to fulfill your CONTRACT and serve the needs of the military, NOT your family. Yes, most of them are very family friendly when they can be, but that is not gaurenteed. And there are Air Force Uniform Regulations that specifically, not generally, prohibit this in public. No one said they can’t breastfeed, no one said they can’t use the bathroom either, but it is expected both will be done in private… not in public while wearing the uniform… And for all those looking for facts: Air Force Instruction 36-2903 Chapter 5.1.1 clearly states: “The top button of the ABU coat will not be fastened; however, all other buttons will be secured at all times.” Rules are there for a reason, male or female.

  138. Firstly, 1% of the US population takes a oath to support and defend the other 99% of Americans. They have given up many freedoms to support and defend the freedoms of our nation. If you want to start changing the military, you need to leave the military. We can’t fight our nations enemies if we can’t place service before self. If you are unable to give up your freedoms and sign the unlimited liability clause, which means give your life in your countries defense, to defend that 99%, just get out of the military and be free, then thank the 1% that can and does give up a lot of their personal desires and freedoms and their lives to protect yours. It’s not a draft, your not forced to join and follow the rules that shape and maintian the discipline and professionalism of the military. It is all voluntary. The military doesn’t give medals for being selfish.

    • “If you want to start changing the military, you need to leave the military…”

      Yes, that’s what some folks said about repealing DADT. And before that, about changing “no queerfolk at all; get caught, and you’re discharged” with DADT. And before that, “no women serving except as secretaries and nurses,” and “no black people serving, except in segregated units.”

      Things do change. Your argument is invalid.

      It has been mentioned by several people that unbuttoning or otherwise messing around with the uniform is against military code, and a disgrace to the uniform. A clause can always be added to the code specifically allowing breastfeeding; also, the uniform can be expanded to offer special clothing with discreet nursing flaps – if you look through a Motherwear catalog, you’ll see that it’s quite possible to create clothing that a mother can wear while nursing a baby without showing any skin at all… the only thing visible is the baby’s head.

      Breastfeeding can be accommodated, if the makers of policy really feel like doing so. Eventually, they may have to. More and more mothers nurse their babies, they do so on cue because infants cannot be expected to follow rigid schedules, and the only alternative to legally protecting the rights of nursing military mothers is to make motherhood cause for discharge, just like certain other things used to be cause for discharge, such as coming out of the closet.

      Change is hardly unmilitary.

      • Yes… that makes total sense… Stop duty on demand of the child so you can breastfeed. Sorry enemy, could you stop the mortar attacks for a bit while I breast feed my baby??? This isn’t a civilian job people… wake up.

        • “Yes… that makes total sense… Stop duty on demand of the child so you can breastfeed.”

          Except when soldiers are deployed, or in combat, they don’t even have their offspring with them.

          And I’m sure someone serving stateside would not drop everything to nurse her baby if her base was suddenly attacked. Duh.

          Find a less ridiculous objection.

          • You’re right, they don’t have thier “offspring” with them… we all make sacrifices. That was the point… You chose to have a child while in the military, you know the sacrifices that comes with. Some of us chose to make those sacrifices for the freedom of others, some do not… but you can’t have you cake and eat it too everytime… this is exactly the type of thing gives men fuel to complain about “accomodating” women in the military…

      • Flaps on the uniform? I’ve heard it all now. When they raise their hands and swear to defend this country and follow the orders given by the officers appointed above them…they surrender civilian rights to “do what comes natural”. The military follows codes and regulations. In this case it’s AFI 36-2903 which specifically states:

        1.1. Basic Philosophy and Enforceability.
        1.1.1. The Air Force philosophy is that the uniform will be plain, distinctive, and
        standardized. This standardization includes a minimum and maximum number of authorized
        badges, insignia, and devices.
        1.1.2. Pride in one’s personal appearance and wearing the uniform, greatly enhances the
        esprit de corps essential to an effective military force. Therefore, it is most important for all
        Airmen to maintain a high standard of dress and personal appearance. The five elements of
        this standard are neatness, cleanliness, safety, uniformity, and military image. The first four
        are absolute, objective criteria needed for the efficiency and well-being of the Air Force. The
        fifth, military image is subjective, but necessary. Appearance in uniform is an important part
        of military image. Judgment on what is the proper image differs in and out of the military.
        The American public and its elected representatives draw certain conclusions on military
        effectiveness based on the image Airmen present. The image must instill public confidence
        and leave no doubt that Airmen live by a common standard and respond to military order and
        discipline. The image of a disciplined and committed Airman is incompatible with the
        extreme, the unusual, and the fad. Every Airman has a responsibility to maintain an
        ―acceptable military image,‖ as well as the right, within limits, to express individuality
        through his or her appearance.
        1.1.3. A very important part of the military image an Airman projects and the impression
        they create is how he/she wears their uniform. As with other personal appearance standards,
        the Air Force emphasizes a ―neat, clean, professional‖ image. Member’s have a
        responsibility to keep their uniform clean, pressed (excluding the Airman Battle Uniform)
        and in good repair. Also, members are responsible for knowing the authorized uniform
        combinations and the correct placement of ribbons, insignia, badges and other uniform items.
        1.1.4. Commanders do not have the authority to waive grooming and appearance standards
        except as identified in Chapter 3, paragraph of this instruction.

        This regulations clearly state that the uniform will at all times maintain an “acceptable military image”. Which means, if a man has his blouse open and his shirt askew in public he is wrong just as much as any woman is. This has nothing to do with breastfeeding it is purely about the professional military image. I am all for women breastfeeding their children and I agree that it is the healthier choice, but doing so in uniform is wrong.

        • You’ve never even seen nursing tops, and yet you say they’re laughable.

          I’ll say this over and over: Putting a clause in the current regulations to give permission to mothers to nurse their babies in uniform, as a special circumstance that is legally defined as NOT OBSCENE OR INDECENT by federal law and state law alike, and making special uniforms for lactating mothers that allow them to latch their babies in a way that does not show much skin or rumple the uniform in the process, is not a hardship.

          It is merely change.

          It is an acknowledgement that there are a lot of mothers serving in the military now on active duty, and that modern medicine has proven beyond all doubt that baby formula and early weaning is greatly inferior to the biologically normal way of feeding babies.

          The armed forces will survive accommodating new mothers (although ideally, I think all new parents should be kept stateside for the first year or two of the child’s life, to allow bonding; I doubt that will happen any time soon, but that would be ideal). The armed forces have survived other kinds of change that certain reactionaries have sworn would be the end of military tradition and honor, nay, would spell certain defeat for the United States – desegregating the forces so that black soldiers and white soldiers fought side by side, even (gasp) having white soldiers sometimes taking orders from black officers; allowing queerfolk to serve.

          Change happens.

          You can fight change all you want, but the more you fight the inevitable, the stupider and more reactionary you look. But hey, if you don’t mind losing face that way, by all means, keep up the fight. While you’re at it, fight plate tectonics. Now that’s hard core.

          • Don’t change the subject. All those other changes you are referring to have nothing to do with Uniform changes. There is simply no need for a uniform change here. Almost every squadron has a nursing/pumping room available for female Airmen. This is a non-issue that the left is trying to make an issue. Stop the social engineering with the military.

          • “This is a non-issue that the left is trying to make an issue. Stop the social engineering with the military.”

            1) There are liberal soldiers in the military, too, at all levels. I know Rush Limbaugh and other hatemongers like to call them “fake soldiers” and “false veterans,” but they serve our country and defend the Constitution just like you do, so I’m pretty sure they’re real. Nice of you to negate their very existence. I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised, though.

            2) Saying that making change that YOU don’t like is “social engineering” is as nonsensical and full of hot air and blather as people complaining that when a liberal judge makes a decision they don’t like, it’s “judicial activism.” News flash: your knee jerk reactions and attempts to keep the military the way YOU would have it are also a form of social engineering. Yours. It’s ALL social engineering.

            And the Pentagon has forced social change on the various branches before, and will do so again. As has your commander in chief, who recently repealed DADT. I’m sure you weren’t exactly thrilled with that particular change, but he did give the order, did he not? So now it’s okay for queerfolk to serve in the military without hiding their sexual orientation. Officially okay. Change happens.

            I’m pretty sure breastfeeding will be accommodated in time, too. After all, this photograph was taken with official permission. It’s meant to encourage and promote breastfeeding. And yes, sometimes that means in uniform. No, it doesn’t mean breastfeeding on the front lines or otherwise in the middle of performing duties, that’s silly. But then, the essence of reactionary knee-jerks is silliness. There is nothing even remotely dignified about bigotry.

          • You sure make a lot of assumptions. Bottomline is until the uniform is changed or the regulation modified they violated AF regulations. As for all the rest of your comments, they have nothing to do with the subject.

    • You and every other tree hugging woman are using the “appeal to nature argument”. Just because something is natural does not mean that it’s good. For instance murder is a very natural instinct, but most of us agree that we don’t think it’s a very good thing to be doing, nor does its ‘naturalness’ constitute any kind of justification for it.

      • “For instance murder is a very natural instinct, but most of us agree that we don’t think it’s a very good thing to be doing, nor does its ‘naturalness’ constitute any kind of justification for it.”

        Total non sequitur.

        And “tree hugging?” Good grief, how many other stereotyping slurs can you use?

        Ad hominem attack.


        It would be nice to elevate the level of discourse here.

        • Then address the real issue here instead of saying this is an attack against breastfeeding, or breastfeeding in public. Address the concern that this is a BLATANT violation of AFI 36-2903 DRESS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF AIR FORCE PERSONNEL


          In one of the first sentences it states “COMPLIANCE WITH THIS PUBLICATION IS MANDATORY”

          These girls/ladies/females/women/attention whores are in blatant violation of it. You can not breastfeed your child WITHOUT being in violation of the aforementioned reg. Scoreboard.

  139. I think that military women should be able to breastfeed their children whenever their child is hungry. To even have a discussion about this in 2012 is absurd. There is nothing more natural than a mother feeding her child. I don’t agree at all that it “disgraces the uniform” or is “disrespectful” to the uniform. To consider it either of these two things would be to call breastfeeding “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.” there is always going to be some prude somewhere who doesn’t like something.

    DO people forget that we were ALL breastfed not just a few decades ago? Bottles were NOT always around. I have had many an arguement as a restaurant executive in defense of nursing mothers while dining in my restaurants. If guests don’t like it, then they can leave. What they are actually doing is denying a child his/her required nutrition.

    Carry on military moms and keep up the good fight. Thank you so much for serving our country and doing so with dignity and honor, even if breastfeeding your child.

    • We were all breastfed decades ago when it not only common, but usually expected for mothers to stay HOME and raise the kids… I’ll be the first to defend a woman’s right to serve her country, and no one said she can’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding IS natural, it’s beautiful. It is what the breast wa intended for… but.. The instruction is that she can’t breastfeed IN UNIFORM AND IN PUBLIC. Again, it’s natural to urinate too, a necessary bodily function, but men don’t whip it out when they need to…at least not in uniform in public. You signed a contract of obligation to serve your country, follow ALL orders of those appointed over you. Leave your trousers and blouse buttoned.

      • Really men do whip it out and pee in public are you kidding me where do you live and secondly this is the only country that has to debate nursing and the right to do so

        • so it must be ok for you RACHEL to pee in public or are you mad becuse you cant. the subject it breast feeding so all you females than are for it in public take a picture of some kid sucking on your nipples and post them on u tube for all to see. we men dont want to see a kid that is old enought to drink out of a cup sucking on a breast, and dont say its ok to disgrace the american uniform . keep it button the pants and shirt line up hat on stright boots tided and looking and proper etiquette while in uniform..

          • You need to go back to school and get an education before you try to tell other people what is right or wrong or how to wear a uniform. I can’t believe anyone so illiterate would have the nerve to post anything.

          • Chuck I’ve been to school and in the military and know the rules on how to wear a military uniform and kinow the punishment for being out of uniform. most of you all should try it before you look bad with a comment.

          • Rod,

            I am unclear why it is a problem for you to see a child who is old enough to use a cup breastfeeding. Is it possible it is because breasts are sexual objects and not just a source of nutrition? I think if we were to see a child who is old enough to drink from a cup sucking on their mother’s knee we would not have a problem with it. Just trying to keep things in perspective.

      • If a male uses a urinal in a public bathroom and are in uniform they are peeing in public in their uniform. End of discussion. If uniformed women can’t breast feed anywhere but at home then uniformed men need to wait to pee till they are home.

        • In case you were wondering, Patty, a bathroom is not considered a public place. Otherwise we would all be arrested/ticketed on every trip to a restroom in a restaurant.
          I think it is a much better solution that if a mother is somehow in uniform and with her baby at the same time, to find a private area to feed her child or to use a bottle (i.e. come prepared).
          I may be a man, but I don’t see how you have to be “out of uniform” to bottle feed a child, whereas to breastfeed you need to remove layers of clothing (explicitly against regs)

          • Bob,

            You wrote:
            “I may be a man, but I don’t see how you have to be “out of uniform” to bottle feed a child, whereas to breastfeed you need to remove layers of clothing (explicitly against regs)”

            And therein lies the problem. There is a disparity in the regulations. According to what you wrote there is only one proper way to nourish a baby in public and that is with a bottle. That is discrimination against mothers who choose not to nourish their babies that way. I think a solution might be to simply have a modified uniform for nursing mothers to wear that can be adjusted without unbuttoning or pulling up a t shirt.

        • Using a urinal is NOT peeing in public… It is a MALE bathroom… not a park. It is a designated area TO urinate…. moronic comments. Seriously. And I didn’t say wait till they get home. If their current position allows, they should have time to go to a designated place to do so. But it’s not a right in the military, is a damn privilage. Obviously a good portion of you haven’t served your country and have no idea what regulations really mean.

          • In the 70s we had to ask permission to go to the latrine , if we ask to go to the bathroom we were held a attition until we peed out pants or knew the differance between a bathroom and a latrine. the drill sargent would say we dont have a bathroom in the army. feed your kids in a designated place and all would be fine..

        • a man in uniform, peeing in a urinal…how do you consider that PUBLIC? because anyone can go into the men’s room? i haven’t seen too many urinals out in the lobby or waiting rooms where someone may or may not be offended by seeing the third leg…. what a stupid argument.

          as for women breastfeeding in public and in uniform, as a retired military person, i personally don’t see a problem with it, provided the usual discretion is used. just have a blanket, or some type of cover. but of you are fine “letting it all hang out” – pardon me if i look, because there is no “right to privacy in the public domain”.

          i see this as a non-issue. the only time women are going to have their children with them “in public” is in the case of taking them to day care, medical appointments, etc. the babies are not at work with them, so as long as these women aren’t seeking to get out of their duties by playing the “nursing mom” card – i am fine with it.

          and oh, i will agree. once a child is teething and old enough to drink from a cup, it is time to put the bazooka’s away and introduce junior to the sippy cup.

        • Peeing in a public restroom, not a public bench. Why not breastfeed on a sidewalk , resturant, bank, grocery store wherever little johnny wants his milk and cookies….These women thought they would add to the discussion. Go feed your babies elsewhere, I don’t want to see it in public. If it’s okay to breastfeed in public, it should be okay to have sex in public.

      • Kim,

        As a retired Navy Corpsman, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is NO provision in the uniform regulations AGAINST breastfeeding in uniform. As a matter of fact OPNAVINST 6000.1C which is the instruction on Pregnancy indeed says that women may be granted permission to breastfeed WHILE on duty. Please make sure if you want to talk about instructions that you quote and describe them accurately.

        • Carol that’s great for navy women but you see those girls are air force. AFI 36-2903 does not authorize nor does it unauthorize bresstfeeding in uniform.

          Here is the thing though. Our air force regs have to specifically state that breastfeeding is authorized in uniform. Unless something is SPECIFICALLY given authorization then by default it is unauthorized

      • Kim,

        As a retired Navy Corpsman, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is NO provision in the uniform regulations AGAINST breastfeeding in uniform. As a matter of fact OPNAVINST 6000.1C which is the instruction on Pregnancy indeed says that women may be granted permission to breastfeed WHILE on duty. Please make sure if you want to talk about instructions that you quote and describe them accurately.

        • Carol, I did quote them (Air Force regulations pertaining to these women) in a different post, AFI 36-2903 Chapter 5.1.1. It states specifically how the uniform is to be worn in public at all times. And thank you for proving my point actually… Upon complete review of your stated regulations, they cover this matter COMPLETELY!

          Section 209 B (2) states: “Servicewomen who continue to provide breast milk upon return to duty will be, at a minimum, afforded the
          availability of a clean, secluded space (not a toilet space) with ready access to a water source for the purpose of pumping breast milk. The number of breaks needed to express breast milk is greatest when the infant is youngest, then gradually
          decreases (i.e., 15-30 minutes every 3-4 hours).”

          Section 209 B (4) states: “Requests to breastfeed infants during duty hours
          should be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, breastfeeding an infant is not a reason for granting excessive time for meals or from work.”

          ***Please note the use of the word SECLUDED in the first paragraph. Thanks Carol!!! =)
          This was never a debate about breastfeeding during a normal working day, this is about doing it IN UNIFORM, IN PUBLIC… stay on topic please.

      • Show us the regs because it’s not there. It is being left up to who ever happens to be in charge that day.

        • The regs do not specifically prohibit or endorse breastfeeding. They do however state that you must have all buttons (except the top) buttoned at all times and that your shirt be tucked in. Both would get in the way of breastfeeding. Section 5.1.1

          That being said, we should make reasonable accommodation. I mean, if you’re visiting a pediatrician, it shouldn’t be a big deal to let a woman feed her child or to move her to a private room.

          • Although the regulations do state that all buttons must be buttoned except for the top one on the blouse along with other regulations, I would argue that if any military person was in uniform and for any medical reason their buttons were not buttoned or uniform was not in regs (ie shot in the stomach , stabbed, hernia, injury, broken foot, broken arm, ect) they should not be penalized, or we would be penalizing them while receiving medical care. Also, If military personnel have a broken foot for example, they are given a med chit so they can be out of uniform (your not allowed to wear tennis shoes or have “bare” feet). If they are pregnant they are given a different type of uniform. Either women in the military should not be allowed to get pregnant and all military personnel not allowed to have injuries or acomodations for those with ANY medical issue/condition should be given. As women are allowed to decide to have children while in the military and supported those that decide to breastfeed should be supported. A simple solution for being out of uniform would be a for a modified uniform to be made for military women who choose to breast feed just as a modified uniform has been made for women who choose to get pregnant.
            Pretty simple… Bottoms of the pockets should zip or be attached with velcro along with the T-shirt underneath. (A little research into which would be most comfortable for mom and baby needs to be done) Then breastfeeding military moms have the opportunity to have all of the buttons done and shirt tucked and still get to feed their babies.
            For those who want to say breastfeeding is not a medical issue before you do you would have to explain away lactation consultants (who are Registered Nurses) and the fact that seeing them is covered under MEDICAL insurance…

      • There is no regulation covering this issue. Did you even bother to read the article? Obviously not. Was it too complicated for you to grasp?

    • I completely agree! I don’t want to see some of these haters eat & stuff their face in public. These babies are completely innocent and the fact the people hate seeing them eat is unsettling. Leave the babies alone and those who are fighting for your right to widen your ass more on your couch with nothing better to do!

    • I agree bunch of idiots who say its a disgrace isn’t it a natural thing Americans need to lighten up its not porn its life!

    • You are not in the Military so you wouldn’t understand. Go back to your job and shut your mouth. I don’t come to your job and tell you how to do it or complain about what rules and regulations you have. If you want to talk about the military join up if not shut up.

      • James,

        I am a retired Navy Corpsman. I understand exactly what Mary and David are saying. It is NOT porn to breastfeed your children, nor While I do not agree with the comments Mary made that were discourteous, I do not think people who are not in the military are ignorant of understanding professionalism.

        • Why the fuck do you keep referencing you are a retired Navy Corpsman? It lends me to believe you are not actually what you say you are. There are a TON of pro-breastfeeding feminist bitches on here posing as actual military members to try and further their point.

    • I want all women to be able to breast feed in public it is a natural thing. Also natural is masturbation. I want to be able to masturbate while watching these women breast feed. Both natural things that should be allowed in public. Hundreds of beautiful women with their engorged breasts out feeding the hungry little babies while my penis is out being jerked mad in the hopes of a monumentous orgasm. All natural and out in the open.

      • Steve,

        This is a very disrespectful think to post On Robyn’s blog. You should be ashamed of yourself! Would you talk to your mother, sister, wife or girlfriend that way, and write those things on their FB wall or blog post?

      • “Also natural is masturbation.” NOT! Masturbation doesn’t provide any health benefit(s) to another individual’s growth. Masturbation is selfish, immoral, and unnatural so to compare it with breastfeeding is completely wrong and out of bounds!!

  140. What disgrace?
    It may be disgraceful that anyone questions breastfeeding, uniform or civies. Get a life Pentagon.
    This wasn’t a political campaign, it was a well-baby, good-health campaign.

    • I agree it is a DISGRACE…to question Breastfeeding, Pentagon and The People of the United States should get a Life, there are kids starving to death, Lying Politicans, The Economy sucks..etc…etc…etc…and people have nothing better to do then to Judge two Moms breastfeeding their children (unbelievable)…in uniform or Not…Bravo… Moms that breast feed!!!..worry about more important things!!!

  141. Actually I love that woman should be able to breast feed in public in or out of uniform. But there is something to say for discreetness. There are nursing blankets that allow the mother to still look down into the blanket where the children are nursing and see all that is going on. You just throw it over your head and it has a wire inside the blanket that allows this. We must have to admit if you have people staring at you it is because both of your breast are hanging out not because the babies are nursing on them. The other mother is nursing beautifully naturally and discreetly. I think the other way is just asking for attention. I have nursed 6 children myself.

    • Mike,
      As a mom who has nursed twins, I promise, there is NO way to tandem nurse twins “beautifully naturally and discreetly”. It just isn’t possible. You can nurse them one at a time in that way, but there’s nothing beautiful when the other one is SCREAMING because he/she would like to nurse NOW too. Throw a blanket over two babies nursing at once and try to keep your sanity… It’s also insanely hard to nurse twins, and my hat is off to any mom who manages it while also serving our country. I love these pictures and I applaud the women who took them.

      • Here in Florida, these slow-minded people would want you to put a blanket over your kids… while it’s 97F and 90% humidity. This issue has just gotten ridiculous. I wish mothers would just nurse without even worrying about the public (who can just as easily turn their head if they’re that offended at something so basically natural).

        Nuring a child = OMG! I’m offended (ridiculous)

        A 350 lb, fat, baggy, poorly tanned man with beads of sweat covering every hair on his wooly chest while walking in front of my kids and I on the beach = Fine-and-Dandy?

        Boob + baby, get over it or just turn your neck, head and eyes in another direction if you can’t hack it… like I do when I see the aforementioned fat bellied man walking in front of me on an otherwise perfect beach. 😉