Recently Time magazine’s cover photo of a woman breastfeeding her toddler sparked a lot of controversy over breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding in general.
Many people said it was disgusting and gross and that it should be kept private, while other’s viewed it as a natural and beautiful thing that mother’s should be allowed to do without question. Now there is more outrage over women breastfeeding in pictures or in public and it is because of the women who are shown breastfeeding are in the United States Military and are wearing their uniforms while breastfeeding. Mom2Mom of Fairchild Air Force Base has started a local breastfeeding awareness campaign. It is a support group that was started by a military mother of three, Crystal Scott. The campaign features woman who volunteered to participate having pictures taken, feeding their babies the way they normally do, by breastfeeding. Advertisement The pictures are beautifully done and while there is some criticism of the breastfeeding for all to see in general, the outrage that the campaign has caused is because of the moms in military uniform. Terran Echegoyen-McCabe is a member of the Air National Guard and she is one of the mothers in the pictures. She is breastfeedng her ten month old daughters, alongside her friend and fellow military member, Christina Luna. She is very shocked at the reaction she has received. She spoke on the Today show regarding people’s ugly reactions; “I have breastfed in our lobby, inmy car, in the park … and I pump, usually in the locker room,I’m proud to be wearing a uniform while breast-feeding. I’mproud of the photo and I hope itencourages other women to know they can breastfeed whether they’re active duty, guard or civilian.” Scott said it is ridiculous what people are saying about the pictures “People are comparing breastfeeding in uniform to urinating and defecating in uniform. They’re comparing it to the woman who posed in Playboy in her uniform in 2007. We never expected it to be like this.” To compare feeding a child to a disgusting act that is illegal is unreal to Scott. She said that she breastfeeds all the time in her uniform for work, it is what people do because it has to be done. “I’m an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time, Granted they’re scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely?” Military Air Force spokesperson Rose Richeson had this to say on the military’s policy; “Airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while in uniform.” Military moms who are still breastfeeding are encouraged to pump and bottle-feed their babies while they’re in uniform. ” Many wonder why they should pump and not breastfeed while inuniform. Some say it should have no effectwhatsoever on any of the other members who would witness it, asit is a natural thing that a parent does for their child, while other’s see it as a distraction of some sort. One of the most detailed comments on the website of Robyn Roche Paull ;who has been advocating for policys for military moms, came from a retired captain of the marines, and she had this to say about thephotos and breastfeeding in uniform; “Women before us have worked too hard to earn and retain the respect of their male peers. I don’t want my Marines to look atme any other way than as a Marine. When I am asking them to fly into combat with me and do a dangerous mission, I do notwant them to have the mental image of a babe at my breast. I want them to only see me as a Marine. Let’s be a realistic folks. We give up many freedoms beingin the military…Breastfeeding in front of my fellow Marines was one of them.” The thoughts are though, why should you have to give that up? Marines can be strong women who can fight and serve the country and still feed their baby the way they choose. Should feeding your child be a freedom you should have to give up because you are a Marine or in the military? It does not make you any less of a marine if you choose to breastfeed. McCabe says: “I guess my thoughts are, if you don’t want to breast-feed in youruniform, you don’t have to. But you should have respect for those who do. … If anything, it should make people look at you as someone who is able to multitask.” Brynja Sigurdadottir was the photographer for the pictures of the women breastfeeding and hasthe pictures up on her site as wellon the MOM2MOM Facebook page. What are your thoughts on women in the military breastfeeding in uniform? Does it matter? Does the breastfeeding inpublic bother you at all? Let us know.
Published in: Family