Photo taken of military females breastfeeding in their combat clothes goes viral!

Lynn Griffith
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Approximately 27 percent of women in the United States breastfeed their children to the one year mark.  The Surgeon General is hoping to see this number rise. (1)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers are now required to provide time for employees to breastfeed or pump for one year after the birth of the child.  Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is private and free from interruption in order to pump or breastfeed. (2)

Viral photo of women breastfeeding in their combat clothes is making history!

A recent photo has taken the internet by storm and is encouraging women to breastfeed.  A group of ready for combat mothers pose in uniform while breastfeeding their children.  The picture was taken by Tara Ruby, a former Air Force member.  Within hours of posting the photo on Facebook, the picture went viral. (3)

She reports that, to her knowledge, this is the first group photo of active-duty military women nursing their babies that has been completed.  Ruby’s goal was to show that juggling the demands of military life, and also providing for a child, makes these women stronger, not weaker.(3)

Currently, breastfeeding policies in different military branches vary.  The Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines have current breastfeeding policies in place; however, the Army does not.  Each individual Army base issues a policy based upon the need.  At least one base upset new moms when they were asked to cover themselves while breastfeeding.(3)

The Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines have current breastfeeding policies, whereas the Army does not!

Where policies on breastfeeding exist, they vary according to the branch of military service. The Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines have policies in place.  But the Army does not, according to the pro-breastfeeding group Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and the Stars and Stripes website.(3)

Ruby reports that when she was in active duty, breastfeeding was not even an option or consideration.  She sees the current movement as progress, and hopes that this photo will inspire the military to continue to accommodate this need. (3)

Photographer of the picture is hoping that the picture challenges people across the globe to see breastfeeding in a new light!

Ruby reported that she has received a lot of feedback from working mothers who look at the picture and see themselves.(3)

Sources for this article include:
(1) www.breastfeedingbasics.org
(2) www.dol.gov
(3) abcnews.go.com

Image attributions:
 "military females breastfeeding" by Today Parents (Featured Image)
Licensed under CC BY 4.0, images may have been modified in some way

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