Breastfeeding moms in uniform spark controversy
Monday, June 04, 2012, 4:13:30 PM
As more and more women choose to join the Armed Forces and become mothers, controversy over breastfeeding has gained a foothold online and on many bases. At Fairchild AFB in Washington, the Mom2Mom Breastfeeding Support Group conducted a professional photo shoot of military moms breastfeeding their babies for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August. Since, it has been called "a disgrace to the uniform," according to MSNBC.
Crystal Scott, a military spouse, started Mom2Mom in January to support breastfeeding moms on her husband's base and in the area. Since the photo shoot, though, her organization has made headlines.
"A lot of people are saying it's a disgrace to the uniform. They're comparing it to urinating and defecating [while in uniform]," Scott told the news outlet. "It's extremely upsetting. Defecating in public is illegal. Breastfeeding is not."
In fact, according to the Air Force's official policy for the wearing of the uniform, breastfeeding is not listed as an unauthorized activity, whereas others - such as while participating in public speeches, picket lines, marches and other public events - are.
Teeran Echegoyen-McCabe, one of the moms photographed who is a member of the Air National Guard, told the news outlet she is "proud to be wearing a uniform while breastfeeding."
"I'm proud of the photo and I hope it encourages other women to know they can breastfeed whether they're active duty, guard or civilian … There isn't a policy saying we can or cannot breastfeed in uniform. I think it's something that every military mom who is breastfeeding has done."
While the Air Force has no official policy on breastfeeding in uniform, it does condone breastfeeding in its Medical Care Management publication, which states that "breastfeeding provides optimal health benefits for both mother and infant throughout their life spans."
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