Forget Breastfeeding in Public…What About in Uniform?


 

Photo credit: Brynja SigurdardottirPhotography & Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group             Fairchild AFB

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.

Comments


  1. This blog entry has gotten attention from other blogs; and the liberal magazine Mother Jones has an article that makes interesting points.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/05/breastfeeding-military-uniform

    Highlights:

    “The funny thing is, the military takes a relatively progressive attitude toward service members breastfeeding. Each branch of service allows lactating mothers to defer overseas deployments by 4 to 12 months. And the Air Force even mandated regular break periods and safe spaces for women to breastfeed or pump while on duty, two years before Obamacare required all employers to observe similar provisions.”

    “The gist of these comments—women are free to breastfeed in private, but they should observe a higher standard in uniform!—actually mirrors a long-standing (and specious) conservative argument against women and gays in the military. In this convoluted argument, the armed forces constitute a “nonsexual zone of trust” where “a person doesn’t have to wonder whether what is said or done carries some sort of sexual implication or not.” Lift a ban on gays, or on women in combat, and the military’s missions will be hampered by sexual tension. Likewise with breastfeeding: Don’t let your squadmates catch a glimpse of nipple! It might conjure impure thoughts and awkward conversations, impairing their ability to effectively deploy grenades in combat!

    Of course, anyone who’s ever served in the military knows there’s no such thing as a nonsexual zone—there’s not really any privacy to speak of. What there is, instead, is a baseline level of tolerable close contact and sexual tension—a level that’s traditionally been set by the mostly straight, mostly male majority of service members.”

    IMO, a lot of problems would be solved by the branches of the military making a CLEAR AND EXPLICIT guideline on how to handle breastfeeding in uniform; also how to handle baby care such as bottle feeding, diaper changes, nose wiping, holding, etc. Because it’s all baby care, and it’s all interconnected. The role of mothers who serve must be clearly spelled out. If the existing code regarding the wearing of the uniform was adequate to cover the problem, we wouldn’t be in this shitstorm, now would we?

    The matter of breastfeeding as baby care vs sexual act must also be spelled out, just as it has in civilian life (federal and state law state, for the record, that nursing a baby is NOT to be treated as sexual, indecent, or obscene, and is permissible anywhere and everywhere; sorry, modesty police, but you lose – if you don’t like it, move to a country that mandates the wearing of a burqa).

    Until then the arguments will rage. Just remember: it only seems to be about breastfeeding in uniform. There are far greater issues. It’s about whether or not breastfeeding in general is important, nay, necessary, or is a mere lifestyle choice (yes, the same debate that rages in the civilian “mommy wars”); it’s about whether mothers belong in the military on active duty – and, by extension, whether women have a role in combat, or if we should go back to the days when women could only serve as nurses or secretaries; it’s about the underlying misogyny that still exists in all branches of the service, often embraced by the females and not just the males; it’s about the conservative tendency to resist change, and whether being in the military requires a certain political and social affiliation or whether there is room for political and social dissent (a war that also seems to be raging among civilians – heard of this thing called the “culture wars?”)

    This is NOT just about whether or not breastfeeding in uniform violates a code. If that were the case, the code would have been clarified already, and there would be no debate.


  2. [...] breastfeeding their babies. The photographs were posted on this website on May 21st as part of blog post asking whether breastfeeding in uniform was acceptable and why I thought the Department of Defense [...]


  3. [...] I came across this blog, Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, written by my friend Robyn Roche-Paull. I met Robyn in September of [...]


  4. [...] unfortunately also brought out some not so complimentary comments as well.  Her post can be read here in it's [...]

  5. Kim says:

    Ok. It’s officially a mute point. There IS an actual Air Force Instruction regarding breastfeeding…

    AFI44-102 Sec 4.16.1 states:
    “…The AFMS recommends that supervisors of AF members who are breastfeeding work with the member to arrange their work schedules to allow 15-30 minutes every 3-4 hours to pump breast milk in a room or an area that provides adequate privacy and cleanliness. Restrooms should not be considered an appropriate location for pumping. The AF member must supply the equipment needed to pump and store the breast milk.”

    Sec 4.16.3 states: “The AFMS encourages commanders’ modifications of these activities and/or work conditions for Airmen who are breastfeeding, when possible. Nonetheless, duty requirements may not always be compatible with exclusive breastfeeding. In these cases, the AF member must decide in consultation with her medical provider whether to attempt to continue breast-feeding and/or pumping breast milk.”

    1. Bill says:

      This proves definitively the Air Force is gay.

    2. Sherlly says:

      These regs are already posted under the author’s Military Policies tab. It says nothing about “in uniform”.

      1. A. Winston says:

        My Several Comments already made before, Answers Most of the Questions! But let me Repeat/Let me Persist & maintain my view THAT Uniform/boots or the Authorities in the Forces – NOTHING & NONE Should get in the way of Natural Need & Human-touch of the Mother with the Child(& here – a Mother has a Time Dividing her Equal Share of Love & Attention in both Directions at the same time)& communicate to the Siblings(whether they understand Speech or not)”You are Alright, You ARE in Safe-Hands”! It makes a World of a difference between B/Feeding & bottle feeding! So why are these Dumb-Authorities/so Called Trying to Fight Against Nature, sometimes because of Personal Reasons?!? My view IS – that Special Places Should be Arranged for B/Feeding Moms SO THAT THEIR PROPER-MOTHERING which -IS- their’s & the Child’s Rightful/RIGHT is NOT Hindered; a n d Specially Now with Obama’s Lesbian-Policy/taking Shape & Coming into effect, Such Mothers should have the Specially arranged Place Specified for the Purpose, Free-of & Void-of Single Women having access to such S e c u r e/Rooms – SO they’ll be Least or NOT Disturbed at All, at All!!

      2. A. Winston says:

        My Reply – just a while ago, may be a Minute ago was in response to Sherlly’s query.

  6. Kim Williams says:

    I am a former Marine and I also served in the Army. People who are against mothers breast feeding in uniform in public are definitely closed-minded and not in touch with their paternal instincts. The fact is, it is NATURAL for a mother to breast feed (even though I did not). I accept it and I feel whole-heartedly that women in uniform should not have to suffer all of this negativity from other service members about their mothering! Grow up people! That being said, I do think that the breast should remain covered the whole time. The breast should never be exposed to on-lookers. That is handled very simply by using a light-weight blanket to cover the baby while breast feeding. As long as that is happening… STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST MOTHERS IN UNIFORM!

    1. william says:

      Kim the picture above is a disgrace! I believe in breastfeeding, but there is no need to do it publicly in uniform. There are standards in the military. First off, you should only have your child for an hour or two at most while in uniform. So mothers should be prepared and have a bottle ready while they are driving from day car home. If they happen to be in an office environment (ie when to pick up some papers), there is no reason the mother could use the bathroom or a private office temporarily to feed the child. The mother should not be at the PX/BX/NEX, DFAS, library, post museum, etc just feeding the child in the open. There is a profession image to up hold!

      That’s why there are regulations that impact religious and personal freedoms in the military. I don’t like running in the army PT uniform because of the shorts and reflective belt during the day. So I come to work with my own change of clothes and run during lunch.

      What these women did hurt women’s credibility in the military. How could they honestly expect their airmen to respect them? Next time they are ripping into an E-3’s ass, what will he be thinking? Will he just be staring at her chest or thinking “I could also use some milk.”

      This was a good idea fairy gone terribly wrong. Its all about tact and professionalism.

      1. Tom says:

        Actually, you’re the disgrace, William. As soon as you’re a mother in uniform, and understand what they go through, you can comment.

        As for the fantasy scenario you describe. Are you a 13 year old? Your sexism hurts the credibility of the military. Look up the military to military sexual assault statistics sometime.

        1. rod says:

          wouldnt it be great william if we men could do our job and come home to the wife and child. now we have to listen to them all day and be around another mans wife while she is showing everyone her breast
          ( supposedly while feeding a kid ).
          now they can discrace the uniform and complain that we pee smoke and they should be able to also. most men are hiding behind their wifes so they have to agree with them ..

        2. william says:

          Tom, obviously you don’t understand the realities of the military. Have you ever served?
          I talked with several women in uniform about this issue and they agree. And for the record, I have had soldiers sexually assaulted, that why I can be honest.

          If you want to argue facts I would happily entertain them. If you want to argue your opinion of what the military should be in your unqualified world, don’t bother.

        3. Amber says:

          I’m disappointed that this has turned in to the easy fallback argument of, “if you aren’t one, then you can’t comment” and personal attacks (“you’re the disgrace, William”). Both of these show a serious lack of content in arguments. I am a woman in the military, and I find this picture/public act a disgrace. Note that I said picture/public act are a disgrace, not that these women are a disgrace. Why do so many people feel they have to go to the media to get attention instead of following proper protocol to get something changed? We give up many of our rights (freedom of speech in uniform) for the honor to serve, and breastfeeing in public should not be an exception. I have no problem with breastfeeding in uniform, but don’t do it in public.

          AFI 36-2903 (for uniform wear) states, “Dress and personal appearance standards that are not listed as authorized in the publication are unauthorized.” Lifting your shirt to expose any part of your body is not addressed, therefore it is unauthorized.

      2. Leshia says:

        William,
        -Babies who are bottle fed have a significantly higher risk of ear infections.
        -How would you like to eat your lunch in a bathroom stall?
        -How is being a caring, devoted individual who does the best for those she is responsible for not considered professional? These are all desirable qualities for leaders.
        -Perhaps it is you who should get your mind out of the gutter, be proud to wear your uniform (yes, your PT gear is an official uniform), and research the true meaning of credibility.
        Leshia

        1. william says:

          Leshia,
          I am not arguing to bottle feed the child every day. But on the few occasions when the child is hungry while going home, the bottle is the best option.

          If the child is eating their lunch at work daily then there is a problem with the mother. What I was saying, is for the few times she may be in an office setting, having some privacy for a snack is the solution. If the mother is bringing the child to the office daily, she needs to look for another job. Everyone here argues like the child should be or is attached to the mother all day at the hip. Folks, what you are really talking about is about 15-60 minutes of the day when the mother is in uniform and with the infant.

          breastfeeding does show responsibility, but is requires tact. And my mind is not in the gutter, but you do work in a field where the average soldier is 17-22 years old and male.

          And I am proud of my uniform, but I will not wear something that is not functional and detracts from my performance. Again, its a personal choice. But as a leader, you don’t just complain, you make recommendations to rectify the issue.

          1. erin says:

            The “few occasions” when the child is hungry? You do realize how long your working hours are, right? That’s a lot of bottle feeding. That doesn’t leave very much time for breastfeeding directly at the breast. Breastfeeding directly from the breast is the ideal way to maintain supply and also the ideal way for the body to make the immunological factors that the individual child needs (saliva from the baby’s mouth sends signals to mom’s body through her skin). Additionally, feeding from the breast is a great comfort to the baby who has been away from his/her mother all day long. Breastfeeding is not disgraceful. The idea that a mother should reject her child’s innate desire to breastfeed when reuniting with her mother after a long day at work and instead put a plastic fake nipple of pumped milk in the child’s mouth just because YOU have some sort of hang-up about breastfeeding seems a bit extreme and frankly, ridiculous.

            Take 5 minutes and see how many women and babies struggle to make their breastfeeding relationships succeed in the face of unnatural pumping and bottle feeding. Every bottle that mom feeds is one more drop to her supply and one more time that she needs to try to fit in another pumping session. Which means when she gets home, she has to pump again to make up for that after work bottle — which is another lost opportunity to breastfeed.

          2. william says:

            Erin,
            You missed the whole point! You should not have you baby at work! This really applies from the moment you pick him up at the Daycare till you arrive home. By the way, what is the husband to do when he picks up the child? Or us it all the women’s responsibility ?

          3. Sherlly says:

            “I will not wear something that is not functional and detracts from my performance”
            -Breastfeeding is an incredible health benefit directly impacting a member’s PT ability.

            “You should not have you baby at work! This really applies from the moment you pick him up at the Daycare till you arrive home. By the way, what is the husband to do when he picks up the child? Or us it all the women’s responsibility?”
            -If the parents wish to breastfeed exclusively, the husband can help in many ways, but he cannot insure the continuing milk supply. The best way to do this is by feeding at the breast itself. That is how the human body is conditioned. Some mothers will choose your way so as to not confront others with your view. Being a parent can be stressful enough as it is. You’re surrounded by people who do not care for your child as you do, and they’re in charge of how you live your life. But when you want to give your best to your child, and others take offense to it, that is an even worse environment to be in. People who have experienced this pain and confusion themselves are simply trying to help those who come after them.

          4. A. Winston says:

            You have Said it! I Agree!

      3. Claudia says:

        Feed the baby in the BATHROOM!?!?! Do you eat in the bathroom? Gross!

    2. Bill says:

      Kim: the Marines and the Army are for killing people-not for social experimentation. This isn’t the GD La Leche league!

      1. Michelle says:

        And that’s the problem with this whole conversation Bill-what the military actually supports. It’s hard enough raising and supporting a family for BOTH genders without all the extra noise about nutrition. I wonder what choice a parent would make if faced with either killing someone or feeding their child?

        1. rod says:

          hence forth the men do the killing and the women do the feeding stay out of the way go home and feed the kid as you are suppose to do. dont need kids in the military or interruptions while performing our duty’s.
          You women that want to fight find a day care to put the kid at and bottle feed it didnt hurt any thing back in the early days . theses girls and their commanders who let this picture be publish need a dishonorable discharge for being out of uniform..

          1. Leigha says:

            As a lactation counselor and breastfeeding mom, I am appauled that what seem to be educated people can see a sexual act in breastfeeding. There IS a problem with formula feeding, it causes an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, asthma, allergies, and death in general before the age of 2. I think these are important reasons to breastfeed a child. Feeding at breast as opposed to a bottle assures milk supply allowing a mom to continue to breastfeed the recommended or desired length of time. As an American I value the service of these brave young woman and breastfeeding their babies reducing the risk of them suffering post partum hemorraging, breast cancer, cervical cancer, etc. Breastfeeding also helps to get the woman abck into top physical condition to do their jobs by helping their bodies to recover from pregnany, labor, and delivery. I think the majority of these negative comments are coming from immature minds that value comfort levels of idiots more than the well being of innocent and precious children.

      2. Sherlly says:

        Then perhaps we should neuter and spay all members of the military so they cannot possibly be put at risk for “social experimentation”. Such as dating and marriage.

    3. A. Winston says:

      THANK YOU Kim – I would Say Amen! & Amen! Your Comment is Concise & Adequate & goes very much on the Lines of All the Comments I had made in the past! You have HIT the Nail – Right on the Head of a n y one attempting to Discriminate! What I DID’NT Finish – Feel Inadequate in All the Positive Comments I had made Days past -IS- that / These Two Women should be EXONERATED if Fired/Discontinued or Dismissed & should be Restored back to Service with All Privileges!! If Any one Whether Authority or Otherwise does want to Punish such Natural Acts as These ARE Punishing Nature!! However, I would agree – that Both of them & Each & All Moms Who have to Breastfeed in between Hours or during Duty Hours /i.e. Other than in their Homes, SHOULD use a Light weighted/Thin Towel to Cover their Breast as well as the Child – so that – that Towel may NOT be a Hindrance to the Child! GOD Bless Such Mothers Who Keep Breastfeeding – as Long as they have the Milk – quite contrary to Those or if any Who STOP Breastfeed, because they are conscious of their Body-shape or for any Other Reason! My own Sister Who Stopped Early with the First Child, was Scolded & Blamed by her Pediatrician – virtually EVERY TIME she showed up with the Child when having a Health-Problem of the Child! She Learnt her Lesson WELL Enough – that she Kept B/feeding the Second Child until he was Five Years!! Thanks to that Pediatrician – & she was the Chief Guest at the First Son’s Wedding!! Plus – I must Repeat &/or re-emphasise the Fact that Giving Milk from the Bottle IS NO SUBSTITUTE AT ALL – AT ALL! The Child M U S T take it straight-off the Mother!!

  7. Herb says:

    No comment


  8. [...] angry. Here’s an example of the line of thinking from the comments section of the blog Breastfeeding In Combat Boots. “I feel very strongly that respect for both the uniform and for women would be compromised [...]

  9. Bill says:

    I personally think the two little guys with the blond chic on the left are lucky…..move over fellas!

  10. Robert says:

    Would this be a big deal if they weren’t posed at a park for these pictures? The controversy comes more from the people that are trying to spark it then from the women who breastfeed. The Armed Forces frowns upon public displays of affection. You can’t walk down the street holding hands with your girlfriend in uniform, so I can only imagine then breastfeeding in uniform where others can observe would also be frowned upon. I for one don’t find this to be a problem. If theses pictures weren’t staged to cause controversy in the first place what would we be talking about?….Jobs? Laws being passed to limit our freedom?
    The rules the military play by are there rules if you don’t like them then don’t play!


  11. [...] (many of whom are active duty military mothers) and invited readers to share their thoughts on her personal blog regarding the photo and the issue of breastfeeding in uniform. The photos went viral over Memorial [...]


  12. [...] 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 [...]

  13. Dan says:

    Pictures are designed for sensationalism. Period.
    Uniform or not, is hardly the question. Propriety is the issue. As a Marine with service stretching from Vietnam to Afghanistan, I’ve seen it all and rarely have I seen women so audacious as to bare their breasts in public as shown in these photos with the exception of native people who lack the dis-grace of modern civility, i.e. in some cultures such acts are NORMAL. In our culture it is not. In the military culture predominated by immature, hormone driven, mother loving, overly conscientious males it is just not a good idea as is ANYTHING that jeopardizes relationships in the ranks. With due propriety, anything is acceptable, including breast feeding in uniform.

    1. erin says:

      It may not be normal to you but it’s normal to me. You have not proven that these photos are designed for sensationalism.

      1. thegame346 says:

        ANY fucking breastfeeding photo out there that is published to a newspaper, magazine, website, etc is for sensationalism.

        Jesus fuck woman. They are drawing attention to the cause WITH SENSATIONAL SEXUALISM OF THE BREAST! Do you honestly think it is a fucking coincidence that almost ALL of the women that get photographed breastfeeding for publications are ALL about 25 years old?

      2. william says:

        Erin,
        These pictures are all about stirring up drama. Everyone in the military knows you don’t do ad campaigns in uniform unless specificly approved by the installation public affairs office. There are hundreds of great causes/ charities out there that service members help. But non of them have pics of service members without approval. These girls were all about getting attention to their cause without following the rules. What makes it worse is that they are not junior enlisted airmen… they knew better. That is why the air force does not condone their actions.

  14. Douglas Shonk says:

    Tha point of all this is they are ignorant of military policy/ucmj.
    NO MEMBER OF THE MILITARY SHALL USE THE UNIFORM TO PROMOTE,ENDORSE,SUPPORT,ETC, ANY GROUP,POLITICAL PARTY, AND SO ON>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  15. chatterbox says:

    these photos are ridiculous. made to stir the pot and looks like it’s working. it’s obvious as day with such a direct full on in your face shot. and they are not even good photos it looks horrible in uniform!

    IMO the photos are bad taste, get a grip. let women do what they have to do, but please stop sensationalizing it.

    i’m sure most military wouldn’t have cared or would have even turned the blind eye, but not when the photo is plastered on yahoo news! seriously, what am i doing reading this kind of stuff in the news!?

    anyways, hmm…nice linkbait anyone?


  16. [...] qui a fait scandale aux Etats-Unis mais que j’aime beaucoup, montrant des femmes militaires allaitant leurs [...]


  17. [...] what’s the big deal? According to comments on Roche-Paull’s blog that frequently begin with “As a… ” (general rule of thumb — if a sentence [...]

  18. A. Winston says:

    Absolute Necessity has NO Law to Govern! Must weigh Everything by the Circumstances these Mothers had to face! What ever the Pros & cons according to Forces in Honoring the Uniform – may be, these Acts are according to the Need of the Hour; a n d very much in Line with Nature’s requirements! What ever may have been the circumstances – Who could &/or should Deny these Hungry Sucklings their Food of the Hour and the Nourishment thereof?!? GOD Forbid Any-one/be it the Commanding Chief OR the President of U.S.A., w h o tries to get in the way of those hungry Babes!! IF THE PRESENT LAW DOES NOT PERMIT, THEN LET THE LAW BE CHANGED TO SUITE THE ABSOLUTE NEED!! But let it All be done & so arranged – that the Mothers in Uniform/do Not have to Feel guilty for Breast-Feeding, especially the siblings that may Not have started on Solid-food yet! Apparently, the Publicity of this Picture is a Promotion for Breast Feeding by whom ever was Responsible for putting it out & the Two Mothers are Not; and may Not have been even aware what has been going on, as they were so engrossed in the Act of Feeding the infants; & by Nature WHAT JOY IT BRINGS TO THE MOTHER & THE CHILD AT SUCH TIMES!! Where the Mother has Milk to Feed, s h o u l d Breast-Feed & Not Bottle Feed, because Bottle-Feeding NO WAY is a substitute for Breast-Feeding, & a Child/Psychologist WILL Confirm this Fact – except in unavoidable circumstances, when it had to be done so!

    1. rod says:

      Again rules need to be changed for women so they can do a mans job, now you think you need to feed a baby in public because you want attention. well poor you you want to disgrace the American uniform so you can show your breast in public. use the nutrients and the best up bring for your case yet it wasn’t necessary 10 years ago and we humans lived just fine.
      Those of us that were in the military honor the uniform and not the majors and coronals that sat on there ass and did nothing but the enlisted grew to keep the uniform in check and smart looking if you don’t know what that means than you weren’t enlisted..
      you women like watching other women breast feed than find a lunch room and you all can watch but not in public..


  19. [...] photographs were posted to the Breastfeeding in Combat Boots Facebook Page and were also part of a blog post, asking whether breastfeeding in uniform was acceptable and why the Department of Defense should [...]

    1. A. Winston says:

      I’ve already made my Comments AS Reply to Kim Williams’ Comments! The Two Women SHOULD BE EXONERATED & Re-instated with All Privileges IF Punished / through Dismissal OR Interdicted!! IT IS BEST FOR BABES AS WELL AS FOR MOTHERS! It becomes a Booby-Trap b e c a u s e the Authorities ARE Not Sound in their Thinking & Crooked & Bias! I think Obama’s Health-Care Program Should Throw some Light into this Issue & Some Sense into the So-called Authorities Who are Not Sane in their Thinking – that they want to Punish such Moms!!

  20. PComeau says:

    I was a former Marine and I had my first son while I was still in. I have breastfed in both my cammies and my Dress Blues before the Ball. Although I support military moms and proud to answer new moms questions about breastfeeding. This picture is disgraceful! If a mom must breastfeed in public and in uniform cover up, the cover ups might not match the uniform, it is still more professional. Or the better option, find an empty office.

  21. Leigha says:

    I think this picture could be a great recruitment tool for the air force. Not only are these young woman beautiful but also loving, caring mothers doing the very best for their babies. I think the discrace would be for those precious babies to have to be hidden away to be nourished. Our own surgeon general has set forth a call of action that woman breastfeed their children. I personally think it would be in bad taste for a woman representing this country in uniform to be feeding their child from a bottle after the call to action.

    1. rod says:

      Good grief are we still yaping about this.. the females should be reprimanded and tooken a strip down and the officers that let this be posted should also loose a strip and go to breast feeding classes so they can see how stupid it is to see this in public… or is it that all you women want to go topless.. they are a disceace to the uniform and you know it…


  22. [...] blog that deals with breastfeeding issues for women in the military brings up an interesting argument in [...]


  23. [...] qui a fait scandale aux Etats-Unis mais que j’aime beaucoup, montrant des femmes militaires allaitant leurs [...]


  24. A round of applause for your blog article.Really thank you! Cool.


  25. [...] no, I don’t mean wearing your baby in uniform! We all know how the military feels about breastfeeding in uniform, and I really don’t think that babywearing in uniform would go over much better. What I am [...]

  26. Olivia Mensah says:

    This is a very good breast feeding campaign photo. If a woman in uniform is breastfeeding in public, then no civilian has an excuse not to breastfeed her baby whilst in public!!!!!!!!! Korkor Mensah Ghana


  27. [...] Robyn is intelligent and kind.  She is wonderful and beautiful.  She is my friend.  So I feel a strong need to support her!  Why would I need to publicly support my friend?  Well, it is because she deeply believes in a cause.  The right of all women to be able to breastfeed their children without limitations.  She is an amazing advocate for military women and breastfeeding (hence her book) and wrote a blog post on May 21st that started a firestorm.   The photo on her blog (which she used with permission from the photographer AND the women in the photos by the way) went viral, and brought on many many positive comments, and unfortunately also brought out some not so complimentary comments as well.  Her post can be read here in it’s entirety. [...]

  28. Active Duty Army Mother says:

    There is only one natural way of going about nursing. I haven’t seen any other creature out in nature purchasing any sort of powdered milk, while they have much better milk in great supply or covering up with aprons and blankets. I actually saw a woman (a civilian woman) spend 5 minutes digging her cover out of her bag, while her starving child was about to get a herina from screaming. Where are our priorities???

  29. Active Duty Army Mother says:

    The fact that the Army has no policy for brestfeeding mothers at all has made me uncomfortable hundreds of times over the course of breastfeeding for 8 months now. I would love to nurse in uniform at lunch time, but the contraversy with the photos and a few other reasons have prevented me from doing that.
    One of the reasons, is the general attitude of hundreds of formula feeding American mothers of “breastfeeding being a choice”, just like “formula feeding” is a choice and I can choose to skip a feeding or to nurse my boy under a blanket as he’s dripping with sweat and waving his arms and legs, while screaming in attempts to get out of the suffocating tents of covers. I’m sorry to all that believe there is anything connected to choice in “to nurse or not to nurse” debate.

  30. Active Duty Army Mother says:

    I completely understand being lazy and deciding to just not feed your newborn until switching to formula. I also have great sympathy for women that did everything by the book, but due to physiological or medical reasons could not breastfeed their children. It was not a choice for these women. They could not breastfeed and to save their children’s lives that had to substitute. On the contrary, forcing a woman that has milk to “choose” to formula feed only because we can not provide enough time, a suitable place and a friendly environment to successfully breastfeed has nothing to do with “freedoms” or “choices”.

  31. Active Duty Army Mother says:

    I’m an Active Duty Army SSG and I’ve decided to breastfeed for as long as my supply allows me too. I haven’t fought TDY’s, but I try to bring the child wih me anywhere I can and pump religiously as my military duty permits. However, what I’ve faced is blame, shame and ridicule from other military mothers, from the leadership and from my fellow Soldiers. Every time I go to a foreign country and the subject of my motherhood comes up I have to explain why women in US military and women in US in general do not get sufficient time off work to take care of their babies (9 months minimum in most Western countries, 1 year to 3 years in many countries all over the world)? And I always quote many great female leaders in the Military, that it is because “we fought long and hard” to gain respect and equality. Well, I’m sorry, but there can’t be any equality, when it comes to motherhood until men become physically capable to bear, birth and breastfeed children. We all can run, shoot and yell, but we can’t all raise a new generation of Service Memebers:-)


  32. [...] Combat Boots. There is one discussion going on in the blog is occurring under a recent post titled, “Forget Breastfeeding in Public What About in Uniform?”6 One commenter, Amanda, says, “As a former Marine, Active Duty, I am appalled by the notion [...]


  33. [...] 2012 comes out of Spokane, Washington, where two young moms in the Air National Guard posed for a photograph in which they were shown breastfeeding their kids. Over the past week, the photo has gone viral, [...]


  34. [...] to the military are explored and awareness is raised as well.  In one of the now more (in)famous posts, the issue of breastfeeding in uniform was discussed.  For most civilians, the issue of what a mom [...]


  35. [...] 2012 comes out of Spokane, Washington, where two young moms in the Air National Guard posed for a photograph in which they were shown breastfeeding their kids. Over the past week, the photo has gone viral, [...]

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