Breastfeeding In The Military
Being a mom is hard as it is. Add in breastfeeding, returning to work, and pumping and you’ve got a whole new set of challenges – but what if you’re a military mom? Our strong and dedicated community of moms shared some advice and stories — and the responses we received are inspiring to say the least.
“My friend pumped milk while deployed the whole time and shipped it home! See if your base has family advocate program…They loaned me a hospital-grade Medela pump free!” -Angie S.
“I breastfed and pumped for 16 months until I had to leave and be away from my son for 6 months. [I sat] in a bathroom on a bench with an extension cord so I could pump. I put my milk in the refrigerator and you wouldn’t believe the comments I got. I really believe I was super mom during those 16 months because somehow I woke up early to breastfeed my son, then pump, then go workout with my command, then pump once or twice during the workday. I would go visit my son at lunch to breastfeed him. Luckily he was on my base and just a few miles away. After work I would make dinner, clean, breastfeed, pump, and somehow get to bed and do it all again the next day! It was worth it.” -Jessica N.
“The military has surprisingly become very supportive of nursing moms. I am lucky and have my own office to pump in…At my brigade building they have a special ‘pumping room’ for the nursing mothers to use privately while on duty.” -Kimberlie W.
“My husband is Active Duty Navy…It gets easier is the best advice I have…Just remember that you are strong, you can do it, and your baby always has an unconditional love for you. I wake up every morning looking forward to seeing their faces, and that makes it all worth it.” -Jennifer R.
“I was extremely grateful for my Medela breast pump because we PCSed [Permanent Change of Station] when my son was 3 weeks old…I was able to pump in the car from Alaska to Colorado!” -Ashley C.
“I’m an Active Duty mother of 2 and breastfed both while in the Army. I am currently breastfeeding my daughter, age 3 months…I use the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Backpack. It can be worn in uniform and is extremely quiet. I only have to pump once during duty hours and my schedule is 0400, 0815, 1230, 1630, 2100. I also feed my daughter before pumping in the evenings and I produce about 20oz per pumping.” -Natasha T.
“The only advice that I can offer to active-duty moms is to make it very clear to your chain of command that your schedule has to be altered to keep up frequent pumping in order to maintain a good milk supply.” -Kayeleigh H.
“Army spouse here with 3 kids: a 6 year-old, 4 year-old special needs son, and [my baby was] 2 months old when my husband left for Afghanistan. My advice is stick with the nursing. Now, the baby is 10 months old and I am SO glad I didn’t quit. Between therapy, school, and church, I don’t even want to think about how much more complicated life would be if I had I always have washed and prepared bottles every time I left the house. All I need is a couple of diapers and we’re good! Breastfeeding has made life during this deployment so much simpler!” -Stephanie B.
To all military mamas and families, we support you, and thank you for your service!