What Do You Think About Breast-Feeding in Military Uniform? [POLL]
There are many things in my life I’ll have the opportunity to do, but breast-feeding, however, will never be one of them. I am not a woman. But, I have worn a military uniform. If you don’t know, in the military there are regulations that govern everything — from how to wear your headgear, to how to pull guard, to how to address a superior.
These regulations also tell you exactly how to wear your uniform, hair, jewelry, eye-wear, cut your nails, where you can and can’t have a tattoo — they regulate everything. Nothing is open to soldier-interpretation.
But I left the Army in 2008, four years ago. Things change. So today I called up an old buddy who is now an E-8 (or Master Sergeant) in the Army. I asked him if there was any regulation or guideline regarding breast-feeding in uniform, because Google wasn’t getting the job done.
He was unsure, but he did express that he thought it was not appropriate. He then went down the hall and asked a female medical officer, and I heard her response. “It’s disgraceful to be done in uniform,” she said, but she did add that command should cater to a soldier when the situation arises, such as have a place for her to go.
Before we hung up, he checked with one more female officer. Her sentiment was the same as theirs, but she confirmed there is no regulation.
For me, knowing what I know — knowing I could not chew gum in uniform, knowing when it rained I had to get my rain gear, not an umbrella, knowing I couldn’t put my hands in my pockets if they got cold. And knowing that it was fine for me attend political rallies, just as long as I wasn’t in uniform, all led me to think this picture is wrong.
According to TheFW.com, one of the mom’s depicted in the photo — Terran Echegoyen-McCabe — isn’t making any apologies.
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.”
I disagree. Please, know I think being a mother is a beautiful thing. I even think it’s fine to breast-feed in public. Awkward, but fine. I do, however, take exception to this picture. To me, as a veteran, this is inappropriate.
TheFW.com also reported a woman identified as a retired Marine captain said this:
We are war-fighting professionals. 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 at me any other way than as a Marine.”
But for now there isn’t a regulation against it, and there’s no regulation that even mentions it. Maybe this is something that should be addressed. I think this is too much to be left open for soldier, Marine, sailor or airman interpretation.