Tag Archives: military

Celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week in the Military

Black Breastfeeding Week
© 2017 Tonya Ritter Photography

This year marks the 5th Annual Black Breastfeeding Week celebration.  Breastfeeding in Combat Boots is proud to offer a glimpse into the beauty and struggle of African American women breastfeeding their babies while serving their country.  This year’s theme is #BetOnBlack and serves to underscore the need for those that love and support black women to continue supporting them to be successful at breastfeeding. This is even more important in the military community where there are many unique challenges not found in the civilian world.

Black Breastfeeding Week was created 5 years ago to highlight the specific issues that black breastfeeding moms face and to celebrate the fact that black women DO breastfeed. The need for a Black Breastfeeding Week is due to the many inequities that exist for black women when it comes to awareness, opportunities, and resources for breastfeeding. While black women are just as capable of physically breastfeeding as white women, there are racial disparities built into our society (and our military) that make breastfeeding as a black woman very difficult.  According to Kimberly Seals Allers (Co-Founder of Black Breastfeeding Week and Author of “The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding“) some of these issues and inequities include:

  • Huge racial gap for breastfeeding initiation (according to a CDC report from 2008, 75% of white mothers versus 58% of black mothers)
  • Higher infant mortality rate than in all other races (twice as many black babies die as white babies) throughout the first year of life
  • Higher incidence of diet-related disease (respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, diabetes, SIDS) in African-Americans
  • Lack of diversity in the lactation field (this is even more pronounced in the military)
    • How are black women supposed to feel supported when lactation providers and breastfeeding support groups are predominantly white and do not and cannot understand the struggles black women face, no matter how much we might want and try to
  • Cultural barriers such as history of being forced to wet-nurse as slaves
    • Yes, this is real, complex, and a painful historical fact that affects breastfeeding for black women
  • Lack of breastfeeding role models (again, much more pronounced in the military)
    • How are black women supposed to successfully breastfeed if they never see another black woman successfully breastfeeding? Let alone in uniform!

Within the military, where breastfeeding rates are already low due to the many unique challenges inherent in serving ones country in a male-dominated workplace, breastfeeding rates for black women are HIGHER than their civilian counterparts, but still lower than for all other races. According to a study published in 2015, “Do Black-White Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding Persist in the Military Community“, serving in the military has been shown to mitigate some of the racial disparities that impact breastfeeding, such as socioeconomic status, employment, and marital status but not all (as outlined above).  However, there is STILL a racial gap (albeit smaller) between black women and white women. This needs to change!

Breastfeeding in Combat Boots celebrates Black Breastfeeding Week in order to support our black sisters-in-arms to be successful despite the many barriers they encounter both in and out of the military.  We hope that everyone enjoys the many beautiful photos of black moms and babies (below) that have been shared by mothers in uniform over the past 7 years with our organization. Black Breastfeeding week is always celebrated the last week of August, and this year it falls on August 25th–31st. The theme for 2017 is #BetOnBlack, and you can follow the Black Breastfeeding Week Facebook page for updates and look for #BBW17 and #BlackBreastfeedingWeek hashtags across all social media platforms.

Want to learn more about why it is so important to celebrate Black Breastfeeding Week?  Take a peek at just a few of these links:

Black Breastfeeding Week

Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association

Mocha Manual

**As the Founder of BFinCB, a veteran, an IBCLC and yes, a white woman, I can’t begin to understand the struggles black women face to breastfeed.  I stand here to offer support and to learn.  Any cultural inaccuracies, assumptions, or mistakes are my own and I ask forgiveness as I learn.  ~Robyn Roche-Paull**

Click on any photo to start the slideshow!

Are you celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week?  Do you think it is easier or harder as a black woman to breastfeed while serving in the military?  Do you feel supported? Are the racial inequities still present even in the military? Leave a comment below.  



Sarah Wells – Breast Pump Bags for AD Moms

Pumping in the military means having to lug a breast pump around due to separation during the workday or for deployment. Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags, a company founded by Sarah Wells (mom, wife and entrepreneur) in 2011, wants to make pumping a little easier for breastfeeding and pumping moms with their stylish and uniform… Continue Reading

SOS – Supporting Our Breastfeeding Military Moms Post-Election

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… Continue Reading

Military CAH Game Pokes Fun at Breastfeeding. It’s Not Funny.

You may have seen the post on Army Times about the new Cards Against Humanity (CAH) style game, Disgruntled Decks, the hilarious — and at times *very* offensive — brainchild of 1st Lt. Matthew Coble.  He wanted to adapt Cards Against Humanity for a military audience, so he set about forming a community online from… Continue Reading

WBW 2015: Let’s Make It Work (in the Military)

It’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which runs every year from Aug 1-7 and this year’s theme is “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make It Work”. World Breastfeeding Week is a chance to highlight the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and babies.  This year the focus is on encouraging everyone to understand needs of working women who… Continue Reading

Celebrating Breastfeeding Support in the Military this 4th of July!

There is much to celebrate this 4th of July if you are a breastfeeding mom serving in the military. There have been a number of amazing changes in policy that offer more support for breastfeeding, and motherhood in general in the military, than any other time in the past decade. Keep in mind though that… Continue Reading

Breastfeeding Support on Father’s Day

Thanks to Jarold ‘Tom’ Johnston, MSN, CNM, IBCLC, LTC(R), AN, Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC for this guest post on the BFinCB Blog about how fathers can provide breastfeeding support just in time for Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all of the supportive and loving fathers. Every year breastfeeding support pages abound with helpful advice… Continue Reading

Your Top 20 TRICARE Lactation Policy Questions Answered

If you are in the military or know someone in the military, you’ve probably heard the rumors swirling around about TRICARE finally offering breast pumps, supplies and lactation counseling.  The rumors are true and last week I wrote a post about the Updated TRICARE Lactation Policy and was immediately inundated with numerous questions and comments on… Continue Reading

Powerful Photo of Airman Breastfeeding Shows Us What Motherhood in the Military Looks Like

This photo is more than just that of a mother breastfeeding her child. This photo is more than just that of a member of the Air Force Reserves breastfeeding her toddler in uniform. This is a photo that shows us what motherhood in the military looks like. This photo shows us a mother who is… Continue Reading

Milk-Sharing in the Military: What You Need to Know

For mothers serving in the military, milk sharing is a very real need. Due to the many challenges inherent in serving in the military, such as a lack of place and time to pump, military mothers often have low milk supply issues and must either resort to giving their babies formula or find human milk… Continue Reading

Our Vision

To create a community where military mothers can share experiences, find information, and offer support in order to successfully breastfeed their babies while serving in the military.

Our Mission

BFinCB is committed to advocating, informing and supporting all breastfeeding personnel serving in the military.

Contact Us

14103 229th St Ct East.

Graham, WA 98338




This is not an official DOD website. The information and links on the BFinCB website are for educational purposes only. Visitors are encouraged to consult with their health care providers and/or JAG to obtain relevant information and discuss their options in order to make safe and informed choices. We welcome all inquiries, but will not suggest any medical or legal course of action. This nonprofit site is funded solely through donations and Sponsorships. No advertisements are accepted.