By Debbie Gregory.
In an effort to “normalize” breastfeeding, a group of active duty military posed with their babies at the breast, and the photograph has gone viral. Fort Bliss Public Affairs and Garrison Command approved the shoot, an Army spokesman said.
While breasts have been used to sell everything from cheeseburgers to cars, for some reason the act of nourishing babies the way it has been done for thousands of years strikes a chord.
Photographer and Air Force Veteran Tara Ruby was originally going Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, to help adorn the walls of the newly established nursing room.
Through the Fort Bliss support group for mothers, Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training Program (P3T for short) Ruby sought active duty soldiers to model in the photos. While she was hoping she might get two or three volunteers, 10 women showed up for with their children, proudly wearing their boots and camo.
Ruby said, “Breastfeeding their babies doesn’t make them less of a soldier, I believe it makes them a better one. Juggling the tasks and expectations of a soldier, plus providing for their own in the best way they possibly can, makes these ladies even stronger for it.”
Not everyone has been accepting of the photograph, as evidenced by many negative comments left on the Facebook page where it was originally posted.
The conversation about breastfeeding is entangled in social and cultural ideas about human nature, sexuality, and how we think about individual human bodies, forgetting that the primary reason for their existence is nourishing babies. Therefore, the conversation needs to change to overcome the negative connotations of a very simple act.
Ruby and the women who participated in the photograph can take pride as the picture puts the finishing touch on the wall in the breastfeeding room. The image of these beautiful mom soldiers breastfeeding their adorable babies show that women no longer have to choose between starting a family and serving their country.