Of marching and milk: Military moms' breastfeeding dilemma

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Breastfeeding in ACUs, it turns out, is as awkward as it sounds.

Army Girl, Army Wife, who sheds light on how the 13.5 percent live, talks about her decision to breastfeed, as opposed to going to formula.

While it’s healthier for the baby, she says, there are few places where she can sneak away to “express milk” with a breast pump. This takes 15 minutes or so, every few hours, too long to tie up a bathroom.

She runs through her options — communal latrine, shared office, parking lot, boss’s office or conference room — and none seem to fit the bill.

This is not a new problem. There is a book, “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots,” which tackles uniform regs, shipping milk to your baby, the dangers of hazardous materials exposure, and probably most importantly, educating those around you. Last month, Picerne Housing in Fort Bragg had to apologize to an Army wife after forcing her out of an office because she was breastfeeding.

Under the regulations (PDF), all branches place the onus on commanders to provide a private space to moms–except for the Army. And nursing is encouraged by all branches but Coast Guard.

In workplaces across America, this sounds hard enough. For soldier moms,  it’s undoubtedly a challenge.

[via Army Girl, Army Wife]
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5 Comments

  1. Anette Velez on

    I breastfeed (100%)my newborn. Im TPU and I need to travel (3 hours, one way) to perform the BAs and express on the parking lot ( with “curtains”) on my car to avoid any issues. I carry ice and all the things needed to keep everything safe for my baby, but the 1st issue is to deal with my command in order to make them understand how important its this process for my baby (hello, its my baby food) and request the permission every 2 hours).

  2. I didn’t even know I was aloud to breastfeed my baby in ACUs in public. I even read BF in Combt Boots. I am lucky enough to have my own office, so she comes to me or I go home and feed her for lunch. Then I only have to pump twice a day.

  3. I am happy to say that my command has a Lactation room. While I only have 30 service members total, I have 3 new moms (all on baby # 2) that are breast feeding. They did excellent family planning and choose their 3 year shore for having their children.

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