Breastfeeding in Combat Boots (BFinCB) is a non-profit dedicated to Advocating, Informing, and Supporting ALL breastfeeding mothers serving in the military. This is not a political post and BFinCB does not endorse or contribute to any political causes or figures.
The recent presidential election has been tough for all, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on. Some of you may be very pleased with the results while others are undoubtably worried about the future. Regardless of the outcome of the recent election, and despite our differences, BFinCB remains committed to helping all mothers no matter their political affiliation. Our mission statement reflects quite clearly where our priorities lie: we are here to support you, the breastfeeding mother serving in the military, to be successful at reaching your breastfeeding goals.
With any new administration changes in military policy are usually at the top of the list. Will our new Commander-in-Chief continue to keep family-friendly policies in the military as a priority or not? We do know that the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act is high on the list of proposed cuts. These cuts may very well impact the federal mandates providing a place and time to breastfeed at work, coverage of breast pumps by insurance companies, and lactation services by trained personnel (CLCs and IBCLCs). We do not yet know how these changes may impact TRICARE coverage of breastfeeding supplies and lactation services, or any current breastfeeding policies set in place by each of the branches of the military. What we do know is that BFinCB remains committed to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the military by ADVOCATING for laws, policies and regulations that provide adequate training, time and places to pump, and needed materials to be successful. BFinCB will continue to work with our partners (Best for Babes, Mom2Mom Global, USBC, USLCA) from the lowest levels at various military installations to the highest places in the government to ensure that breastfeeding support remains a priority and breastfeeding rates continue to increase in the military.
One of the best ways to be successful at breastfeeding, especially when employed, is to have accurate information. You need to have the proper information to know what type of pump is best for your situation, where to find the regulation giving you time and space to pump, how often to pump, and what the correct temperature is for storing your milk. Information about how to ship your milk home or set-up a lactation room at your command can mean the difference between weaning when you and your baby are ready, or being forced to prematurely wean due to an ignorant supervisor. No matter the changes that lie ahead, Breastfeeding in Combat Boots remains committed to INFORMING not only all breastfeeding mothers serving in the military, but also other personnel, healthcare professionals, and military commanders about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to help mothers be successful. BFinCB will continue to do this by providing up-to-date, accurate, evidence-based information via this website, social media, the book, in-person, and over email and the phone.
Breastfeeding in Combat Boots lives in a virtual space. We provide support through this website, email, the occasional phone call, and social media. As such, communication can be difficult and what is ‘said’ via typing or voice isn’t always what was meant without the visual clues of being there in person. Ideas and meanings can be taken out of context and feelings can be hurt, especially at a time like this when emotions are running high. We at BFinCB want to clarify that we remain committed to SUPPORTING all breastfeeding mothers serving in the military. We are open to all races, religions, ages, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and yes…political affiliations. We have been, and will continue to be, a safe space to find breastfeeding support. As a safe space, BFinCB will not tolerate discriminatory, hateful, or disrespectful speech or actions online or in person. We all wear the uniform, and no matter what your rank is or which branch you serve in, we are all fighting the same challenges in order to be successful at giving our babies our breastmilk.
We need to come together, now more than ever, to support one another and share our struggles and triumphs as we breastfeed our babies while serving in the military. We need to share our milestone photos as we reach our goals. We need to share our stories of pumping at the range or the back a HUMVEE. We need to share our stories of shipping milk home from the field or the ship. We need to share our sadness at weanings that happen to soon. As the Executive Director and Founder of Breastfeeding in Combat Boots I hope that you will continue to find BFinCB the supportive and welcoming place that it has always been. A place to find information to be successful. A place of love and support from friends and co-workers worldwide giving you a much-needed virtual hug. A voice at the local and national level advocating for your right to Give the Breast for Baby and Country.
Robyn Roche-Paull, RN, IBCLC, USN Veteran
Executive Director, Breastfeeding in Combat Boots