Air Force Moms Criticized For Breastfeeding In Uniform
Here we go again. Women breastfeed in public, non-moms get grossed out, controversy ensues. This time, there’s a special element: the moms in question breastfed their babies while wearing their Air Force uniforms. According to MSNBC, Crystal Scott, a military spouse who started Mom2Mom in January as a breast-feeding support group for military moms, hired photographer Brynja Sigurdardottir to take photos of real-life breast-feeding moms in uniform to create posters for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August.
One of the women in the photo is Terran Echegoyen-McCabe, an Air National Guard member who has 10-month-old twin girls. “I have breast-fed in our lobby, in my car, in the park…and I pump, usually in the locker room,” she says. “I’m proud to be wearing a uniform while breast-feeding. I’m proud of the photo and I hope it encourages other women to know they can breast-feed whether they’re active duty, guard or civilian.” Beside Terran in the photo is her friend Christina Luna.
“There isn’t a policy saying we can or cannot breast-feed in uniform,” Echegoyen-McCabe added. “I think it’s something that every military mom who is breast-feeding has done…I think we do need to be able to breast-feed in uniform and be protected.”
Air Force spokesperson Captain Rose Richeson simply commented, “Airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while in uniform.”
So the issue is: does breastfeeding in public taint that professional image? What do you think of the photo? Many commenters on the internet say yes, even comparing the act to urinating in public. “It’s extremely upsetting,” Scott said. “Defecating in public is illegal. Breastfeeding is not.”
This is all part of the same debate that boiled over earlier this month when Time Magazine featured a breastfeeding mom on its cover. Why are we still arguing about this? Breastfeeding is natural. It’s healthy. Hasn’t Beyonce made it cool yet??