Posted on Sep 30, 2015
CW4 Brigade Maintenance Technician
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SSG Warren Swan
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Can common sense ever prevail in the military? Do we really have to have a regulation outlining breaks on breastfeeding? I'm thinkin too hard.
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
7 y
SSG Warren Swan Scale. It's always about scale. The Army is HUGE. Massively huge. When you include reserves & NG, it's about 4-5 times the size of the USMC, and double the size of the other services. Think about that.

The USMC doesn't require a whole lot of rules (regs) because we're not large, and not wide spread, hence most Marines' humorous contempt (hence my joke on your initial response) of the Army's need to have a reg for "everything." We just don't get it. "Common sense" (limited regulation) works for us, because we're small.

But when you scale up... individual unit policies start to clash more and more. "that's not how we did it at X" becomes WAY more prominent. Remember, we only have 3 MEFs (3 Infantry Divisions, 3 Air Wings, 3 Support Groups, over a total of 14~ bases, really 3 locations). Compare that to the Army... Infinitely more complex. We can't do "NCO business" and "unit policy" when it comes to actual medical concepts. It has to be deconflicted.
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SSG Warren Swan
SSG Warren Swan
7 y
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS - You have a hard on for logic bombs don't you? You're right on with this one.
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MAJ Security Cooperation Planner
MAJ (Join to see)
7 y
SSG Warren Swan - There are too many NCOs and Officers who wouldn't support the needs of breastfeeding women without a reg in place.
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SSG Warren Swan
SSG Warren Swan
7 y
MAJ (Join to see) - Sir you're right, but it just seems SO unessicary. For privacy and sanitary reasons hells yeah reg the hell out of it. But on the breaks, it just seems so much like a simple 4856 with follow through. But for those that cannot support it, maybe they might be in need of an attitude adjustment being even with the reg, they're going to try and interpret it to suit their wants and needs.
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CPT Physician Assistant
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The reason a policy has to exist is because Soldiers are not receiving the support they need to ensure they are able to maintain their milk supply and provide the best nutrition for their child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastmilk until 12 months of age. If leaders are not aware of the needs of these new Moms, and these Moms are not able to pump as often as they need to in order to maintain their supply one of two things will happen - 1. They will suffer from mastitis and blocked ducts because they are unable to pump and/or 2. Their supply will decrease, which will prevent them from continuing to breastfeed. This is not to say that those Moms who formula feed aren't providing for their children as well. Any Mom who is ensuring that her child's nutritional needs are met is doing a phenomenal job. Not all women are able to breastfeed, and I understand and empathize with that.

The most common cause of early cessation of breastfeeding is lack of employer support. I don't think that it is a lack of caring on the part of leadership, but more so of lack of knowledge and education. This policy is going to create dialogue between the medical and leadership lanes to make sure this happens. Moms who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from post-partum depression, diabetes, hypertension and other cardiac disease, lowers risk of various cancers, and assists with weight loss and return to pre-baby weight in addition to the health benefits to the child. Children who are breastfed (or receive pumped breastmilk) are less likely to have sick-baby visits, which means that the parents are staying home less with a sick child - this translates to more productive parents because they are not on quarters to care of an ill child.

I have had Soldiers who have been so dedicated to continuing to breastfeed that they have pumped in their cars. I personally have pumped in my car, in my office, in a phone booth at the Denver Airport USO, and an A/V Room at Fort Rucker. This policy ensures that women don't have to skulk into a corner or a dirty restroom to be able to continue to pump. This has almost zero mission impact - the 20 or so minutes it would take to pump is nothing compared to the number of Soldiers who take smoke breaks every day. If you feel it is going to decrease productivity, you had better start weaning your other Soldiers off the nicotine because they take more time than a pumping Mom will. Soldiers typically pump before PT, after PT during personal hygeine time, during lunch, and again in the afternoon (roughly every 3 hours). That means that the only time they are using to pump that is not already a designated break or personal time is once in the afternoon.

TL:DR Version: This is a good thing. Leaders should make every effort to support this and support their new Moms.
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LCDR Deputy Department Head
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Long overdue. Not sure why it took so long to make the policy. Worth noting though, most were being given the opportunity to pump/breastfeed without issue regardless of the policy.
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SFC Stay At Home Dad
SFC (Join to see)
7 y
Sir, it would appear that someone somewhere had issues with not being allowed.
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