Military Lactation Toolkit – Resources

  • The U.S. Air Force. The Air Force has concluded that breastfeeding has proven health benefits and accommodates servicewomen with nursing infants “Breastfeeding provides optimal health benefits for both mother and infant throughout their life spans. ” (Air Force Instruction 44-102). The military medical community also supports you, and advises pregnant service women to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and encourages them to provide breast milk for the remainder of the first year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Download the U.S. Air Force brochure
  • The U.S. Army. As a servicewoman in the Army who is currently breastfeeding or plans to do so, know that you are non-deployable for four months following the birth of your child, and at some bases, even up to 12 months. Army leaders are advised to support female soldiers who breastfeed by providing space and time in which to do so. Download the U.S. Army brochure
  • The U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard recognizes the importance and benefits of breastfeeding. The military medical community also supports you, and advises that pregnant servicewomen exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and encourages them to provide breast milk for the remainder of the first year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Download the U.S. Coast Guard brochure
  • The U.S. Marines. Marine Corps Order 5000.12E specifies that, when possible, you should be provided a clean, private place in which to express milk. The broad military medical community supports your decision, and advises pregnant service women exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and encourages them to provide breast milk for the remainder of the first year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Download the U.S. Marines brochure
  • The U.S. Navy. The Navy has concluded that breastfeeding’s proven health benefits and accommodating servicewomen with nursing infants “offer tremendous rewards for the DOD and the Navy, in cost savings for health care, reduced absenteeism, improved morale and service member retention” (Navy BUMEDINST 6000.14). The military medical community also supports you, and advises pregnant service women to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and encourages them to provide breast milk for the remainder of the first year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Download the U.S. Navy brochure
  • The New Parent Support Program of the U.S. Department of Defense. Your choice to continue to breastfeed on return to duty aligns with DOD policy “to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of servicewomen and their families, reduce absence from work due to illness, and improve operational readiness.” 1  The DOD New Parent Support Program provides information and links to resources for military families with infants at: http://www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil
  • Breastfeeding education materials from the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. A coalition of 40 organizations including the Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The USBC materials are available at: http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/NewsInfo/Publications/tabid/70/Default.aspxl.
  • International Lactation Consultant Association. The professional group for certified lactation consultants (LC) employed by military and civilian hospitals, and in private practice. An LC can help you learn to breastfeed, solve problems, and maintain breastfeeding while you are on active duty. Contact an LC near you in the ‘Find a Lactation Consultant’ directory at www.ilca.org.
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Enlisted families on base pay may qualify for support from the Federal WIC program, which provides vouchers for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and breastfeeding and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. Many WIC breastfeeding coordinators are also certified lactation consultants. The WIC Overseas Program is available for eligible military families living overseas.
  • TRICARE. The Armed Services health care system supports breastfeeding as one of the key preventive measures identified in the fight against childhood obesity. Breastfeeding guidance and counseling are provided as part of well child care. (At this time, TRICARE does not reimburse for lactation consultant services.) Thirty military hospitals and pediatric clinics covered by TRICARE offer The Parent Review, a program of weekly e-mails to expectant and new parents from week 7 through week 40 of pregnancy and up until the child’s third birthday. The program offers research-based information, links to resources, and breastfeeding education. Enroll through your TRICARE clinic for e-mails including information from your military hospital or at www.theparentreview.com/parentsignup.
  • Breastfeeding in Combat Boots. A book, blog, and website by lactation consultant and U.S. Navy veteran Robyn Roche-Pauli, IBCLC, this source summarizes military policies and provides breastfeeding resources and links to equipment for nursing mothers in all branches of the armed services. www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com.
  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother. The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding After You Return to Work, by Gale Pryor. Written for civilian working mothers, this book covers all aspects of breastfeeding, pumping and milk storage, and managing work as a nursing mother for women in every field.
  • Text4Baby, a free, mobile information service from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, supports pregnant and new mothers by providing accurate, text-length health information and resources directly to their cell phones. Sign up directly by texting ‘‘BABY’’ or ‘‘BEBE’’ to 511411 and then entering your due date or baby’s birthday to register. You will begin receiving three free text messages each week with helpful information or resources, including breastfeeding information, timed for your pregnancy or your baby’s age. www.text4baby.org
  • www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding
  • www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/guide.htm

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