Photos of Breastfeeding Moms in Uniform Strike Contorversy

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

It looks long, but it's really a quick read. There is a link to the actual article and image below.

Another photo has been added to the growing gallery of attention grabbing breastfeeding images -- one of two women nursing their children. They are both wearing their Air Force uniforms, and that has caused more than a little controversy.

There are a lot of things you are not allowed to do in military uniform -- including eating or talking on a cell phone while walking (these are okay while standing still), keeping your hands in your pockets, chewing gum, holding hands, kissing and hugging (except during homecomings and deployments) -- according to a list of 11 such restrictions on the website of Veterans United. Technically, service members are also expected to always have their right hand free so they may salute at any moment.

But breastfeeding? There apparently are no official rules. And the photographs, which are part of a breastfeeding awareness campaign launched by the Mom2Mom support group on the Fairchild Air Force Base, in the state of Washington, are being seen by some as a challenge to unwritten ones.

In an interview with the website of the "Today Show", Air National Guard member Terran Echegoyen McCabe, who is shown hiking her khaki t-shirt to nurse her 10-month-old twin daughters, said that the act of breastfeeding in uniform was not new -- she does it all the time, she said, “in our lobby, in my car, in the park.” What was new was the public nature of the photo, which was the point. "I'm 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."

She and the other mom in the photo, Christina Luna, have been criticized and applauded since the photos started circulating online last week. “I breastfed and it didn’t matter where or when,” veteran Tish Karhoff wrote on the Mom2Mom website. “If any of my children were hungry I fed them, with my breast, but I didn’t take pictures of me doing it and I wasn’t trying to prove a point... There is a certain level of responsibilitiy that comes with wearing that uniform... Cover up if you are going to be partly naked in a military uniform out of respect for your country and uniform...”

On the same site, veteran Eric Hobard disagrees: “I salute them both, as soldiers and free American mothers,” he writes. “I’ve fought for people that I do not know, in countries that have nothing in common with me, and for reasons that our politicians can not justify. Considering this fact, I’d fight to defend the rights of these two Americans every day of the week.”

The attention has taken Mom2Mom by surprise, but they welcome it if it brings awareness and change. On their website they wrote: “We have done nothing wrong and we hope this will make changes to protect ALL women to breastfeed in public, in uniform or out.”

Will it?

Here’s a place to start: It wasn’t until the 1980s that it became the norm for women to remain in the military through and after their pregnancies and maternity uniforms were added to the line. Might it be time to create a regulation nursing-friendly t-shirt, and maybe a camo print drape to make it easier to breastfeed in uniform? Then the mothers who wear them could stop fighting battles that should have been won long ago.


There is no specific rule on the books that mothers cannot breastfeed in uniform. What do you think of the controversy?

I am proud of the women.


Charlie - posted on 05/31/2012




I think its absurd that this is a controversy.
A baby needs to eat and woman sure as hell isn't going to go and get changed to do so when their baby is crying for food.
Breastfeed when your baby needs it, it is nutrition.
Good for them.


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Anna - posted on 06/12/2012




As an active duty mom, I'm proud of them for having the gall to show that even service members choose to breastfeed. I do understand the criticism regarding the uniform thing, as there are a lot of expectations for a service member when he/she is wearing a uniform as far as military bearing is concerned. However, as there is nothing in existing military regulations preventing women from breast feeding in uniform, this is a non-issue to me.

Erin - posted on 06/06/2012




I'm confused as to why a woman who has a breast feeding baby is in active duty wearing their uniform? In any event it's really sad that men spend most of their lives trying to oggle at boobs but somehow are are offended when they see a mom bearing one to feed baby. I think it alll goes back to the jealousy theory, that men are jealous of the baby. Also funny these dudes can cut people's heads off if needs be, but are horrified at the sight of mom feeding baby. Sounds like another anti-mom anti-female propoganda campaign.

In addition the purpose of military is to proetect the freedom of a nation and to reflect it's principles so if we ban women from breast feeding in uniform aren't we saying breast feeding is wrong, disgusting and unacceptable? People need to find something better to do with their time than try to dog and supress women.

Stifler's - posted on 05/31/2012




I think what's the big deal they're feeding a baby. can't chew gum or kiss anyone in a uniform? That's taking it a bit far. They don't get paid THAT much to have to stick to dumb ass rules like that. I don't see how breastfeeding is being naked or disrespecting the country either.

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