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Military Moms Breastfeeding In Uniform Create Controversy

Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna breastfeeding in uniform
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Above: Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna breastfeeding in uniform

Photographs taken of military moms breastfeeding their babies in uniform are stirring up controversy on the Internet.

TODAY Moms reports it all started when professional photographer Brynja Sigurdardottir snapped unposed shots of breastfeeding service women assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington state. The photographs were to be used on promotional base posters for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in August.

But the photos, posted on Sigurdardottir's website, began circulating on the Internet. And the two women photographed breastfeeding in uniform found themselves under fire.

Terran Echegoyen-McCabe, who is photographed breastfeeding her twin girls, told TODAY:

"There isn't a policy saying we can or cannot breast-feed in uniform. I think it's something that every military mom who is breast-feeding has done. ... I think we do need to be able to breast-feed in uniform and be protected."

In contrast, former Marine captain Emily Barton wrote on a military breastfeeding website:

"I don’t want my Marines to look at me any other way than as a Marine. When I am asking them to fly into combat with me and do a dangerous mission, I do not want them to have the mental image of a babe at my breast. I want them to only see me as a Marine... Trust me, I love the ease of breastfeeding, but not at the detriment of good order and discipline. Find a room, go to your car, ask someone for their office. It’s not hard."

What do YOU think about military moms breastfeeding their babies in uniform? Have your say in our comments section!


Avatar for user 'Lyndsie'

Lyndsie | May 30, 2012 at 8:38 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm all for breastfeeding because it's natural and healthy for our children, but it is also a discrete and private matter. Whether you are in uniform or not, you should take your child somewhere private to breastfeed them because no matter what you use them for, breasts are a PRIVATE body part! As a member of the US Air Force myself, I am absolutely disgusted and outraged that these women would pose like this in uniform! Where is your military bearing Airmen?! Did you think that you would actually be taken seriously or that you would be tastefully representing the Air Force posing for these photos? You should be ashamed and should be punished by the UCMJ! If you're going to be foolish, at least take off the uniform so that you don't embarrass the entire branch of service! These women can be proud of breastfeeding all they want, but when you put on the uniform, you are no longer representing yourself and your beliefs, you are representing our country. Have some respect!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 30, 2012 at 9:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Come on, get over it.

The critics are telling me soldiers being sent across the globe to witness terrorism and possible bloody, murderous combat can't handle the sight of a boob!?

Grow up.

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Avatar for user 'ArmyRetired'

ArmyRetired | May 30, 2012 at 10:32 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago


What you're failing to understand is the professionalism that will be maintained at all times when service-members of the US Armed Forces are in military uniform. These Airmen should have breast fed their children in a more private setting, not in public while in duty uniform. They made a poor choice and might very well be reprimanded for their actions. For those of us in the service, we're very much restricted on what we can say and do, especially while out in public wearing the military uniform. It's part of our professional code of conduct. Those of you whom we serve expect nothing less of us and we'll deliver nothing less than the most professional and honorable service.

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Avatar for user 'MonsterJugs'

MonsterJugs | May 31, 2012 at 8:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Americans need to grow a pair and get over it..

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Avatar for user 'cmcouturier'

cmcouturier | May 31, 2012 at 10:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Two smiling healthy women feeding their beautiful healthy babies makes me smile. Their uniforms make my smile wider. Sometimes I see a man or woman in uniform embracing a child with such joy and intensity that I look away as I smlie, so as not to intrude on their public moment of intimacy. I don’t know anything about being in the military or being in combat but I hope that whenever men and women in uniform have a mental image of a comrade holding a child in their arms, that image strengthens their resolve to get everyone back home safely. Powerful mental images can be used to advantage. May breastfeeding women in uniform be one of them!

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 31, 2012 at 11:02 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago


Why should breasts be private? Male soldiers regularly expose their chests and nipples in the military for no reason other than to be cool. Why not females? What is professional about one and not the other? At least when women expose their chests, it is for a function.


Professionalism in uniform? Like when soldiers pose with dead Afghans and Iraqis, or with Nazi flags, or with a naked pyramid of prisoners? But not women breastfeeding? Ohhhh noooooooo. That's where we draw the line! Those dirty, unprofessional women!

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Avatar for user 'dolphingirl1978'

dolphingirl1978 | May 31, 2012 at 5:24 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Breastfeeding is a perfectly natural thing and very healthy for the babies. It is also good for moms getting their figure back. You guys don't what time frame they had for feeding their babies. I have to congratulate the one with twins cause one baby is enough to have to breastfeed. So what if she had a little more of her breast showing you would too if you were feeding 2 babies. Personally I would rather see this kind of a picture over the ones from overseas posing with dead people. Whether we like it or not just face it it is reality.

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Avatar for user 'ErinLeigh08'

ErinLeigh08 | June 1, 2012 at 8:40 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Simmer down Lyndsie! Why should women have to breastfeed their children in private? Having breastfed both my children, I know that there is not many private locations when you are out in public or running errands. Where else would you suggest....a broom closet? a public restroom? Before you answer, ask yourself this question: Would you eat your sandwich crouched over a nasty toilet at the Exxon station? No. Then why would you expect your child to eat there?

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Avatar for user 'ErinLeigh08'

ErinLeigh08 | June 1, 2012 at 8:47 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I understand about professionalism in uniform; My husband, an Air Force Major, won't even kiss in public while in uniform. That being said, I really don't understand why this photo is causing any controversy at all. Our country has so sexualized the breast that women are being shamed when using them for their god given purpose.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 1, 2012 at 10:36 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Never have seen two on one--at least not among the human species--not even in a photo!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 1, 2012 at 10:37 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Hi, MJ, I like your sign-on.

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Avatar for user 'Get_A_Life'

Get_A_Life | June 2, 2012 at 5:36 a.m. ― 3 years ago

These two military moms are facing disciplinary action, by the military, for breast feeding their babies while wearing their uniforms. It's beyond me how educated people, the authorities, could be so ignorant. They need to go back to school. Apparently they failed their class in common sense. As we all know, any Politician facing ethical violations, including a former President, would state – the moms were not wearing their official military uniforms – they were knock-offs purchased at Walmart…

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Avatar for user 'ndeanna'

ndeanna | June 2, 2012 at 7:28 a.m. ― 3 years ago

As a disabled Vet and a breastfeeding mom, I find Lyndsie totally disgusting. Men look at women sexually all the time at anytime, it in their nature. Mary fed Jesus from her boob when ever and where ever she liked. If Jesus can do it so can our children. You guys are a bunch of idiots. In other countries women openly breastfeed their children and its common and normal. ONLY IN AMERICA is a God given right disgusting. God gave women breast to feed their children not for the pleasure of man or to be looked upon as disgusting. There are so many women who suffer from breast cancer early in life and can't breastfeed their children, so to those that can we all should be grateful and not hateful. You should be ashamed of yourself Lyndsie, your are a disgrace to women and I am ashamed to know that I served with people like you. Freedom is what we fight for, but only if it looks good right Lyndsie. You are all full of shit. GO MILITARY MOMS FOR TAKING IT OLD SCHOOL, LIKE JESUS WOULD DO!!

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Avatar for user 'CassyRebecca'

CassyRebecca | June 2, 2012 at 4:36 p.m. ― 3 years ago

"These women can be proud of breastfeeding all they want, but when you put on the uniform, you are no longer representing yourself and your beliefs, you are representing our country." And isn't the number one thing that we fight for in this country freedom? So shouldn't these women have the right to openly breastfeed in or out of uniform? "Those of you whom we serve expect nothing less of us and we'll deliver nothing less than the most professional and honorable service." I understand the military can be very strict in representing themselves but what I want most from my men and women of uniform is to look at them with pride and have never been more proud then when looking at these two women. But everyone has their opinion and that's the beauty of America (even if I don't agree or even like another's opinion).

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | June 2, 2012 at 5:29 p.m. ― 3 years ago

@Army Retired. I'm a retired 30-year Air Force officer who has no problem with that photo or the practice. Nor would I if I was on active duty. If the reputation of the Air Force for professionalism could be destroyed by the sight of uniformed mothers feeding their children, it couldn't have been that much to begin with. You are speaking for the Army, which you know better than I do, so I'll take your word for it.
Lyndsie doesn't represent the mature airmen I know. To all who are upset at seeing breastfeeding, Joan Rivers' advice applies: Grow Up.

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Avatar for user 'BenFromCA'

BenFromCA | June 3, 2012 at 6:50 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I haven't seen a single argument against breast feeding in uniform that doesn't boil down to "it makes me feel icky!" Lindsie, (hippy parents, huh?), boobs are only a "private body part" because we condition ourselves to think so. Army-Retired, once again "professionalism" is a concept that is unique to humans and WE decide what it mean or what it doesn't mean. It's simply another human bias that we've arbitrarily created for ourselves. I'm sorry you were raised in such a repressive community, but that's simply no reason to carry such immature beliefs into the future. We're trying get past those trivial, anti-human attitudes about a perfectly natural, human function - not pander to them. Instead of having the rest of the world acquiesce to your old-fashioned "feelings", how about you just try to get over them?

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 4, 2012 at 7:40 a.m. ― 3 years ago

There are always thing on the 'icky' list. Urination is perfectly natural too, but most of us would object to a soldier pissing into a storm drain.

I'm not saying I'm against this, just that there are always social and customary influences on behavior, regardless of the utility of those restrictions.

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Avatar for user 'argue_honestly'

argue_honestly | June 4, 2012 at 11:05 a.m. ― 3 years ago

@ Peking_Duck_SD - -Your post doesn't count because you gave a false comparison. Next...

@MonsterJugs - - None of us "need to get over it." That is a thow-away
phrase when you can't have a valid point. Next ...

@cmcouturier -- Yes, you don't know about the military. I'll take your source
in context. Next...

@dolphingirl1978 - - Your post doesn't even count because you gave the non-argument of a false comparison with "I'd rather this then that." It's changing the subject. Next...

@ndeanna -- Don't be calling names on here, lest you be fast-tracked into
being banned. And your body isn't the only thing that is disabled. Your post shows that your thinking is too. Next...

@ Len -- You're a disgrace to the military. You're an excuse-maker for this wrong behavior. Next...

BenFromCA -- If you haven't seen a single argument for..., then you're either partially
blind, in denial, disingenuous, or some combination. YOU are immature, AND
(again , *yawn*), you're spewwing the childish "get over it" garbage.

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Avatar for user 'jay_mee'

jay_mee | June 4, 2012 at 11:39 a.m. ― 3 years ago

oh...and no reason to have your baby while in uniform for that long of a period unless its an emergency or just a min or two.....why would you have your child at work ? im all for equality, but women chose to be in the military to prove they were just as strong...not to make it weaker by using they sex to get away with stuff! women getting pregnant to keep from deploying, but terminating after she is allowed to stay behind.....using their sexuality to try to get their way and when they dont....yell sexual harrassment! i have seen it....its not all, but enough to notice!

its not a symbol for this country!! its innapropriate either way you look at it.
i am all for breastfeading, but in the right way if out in public. the light scarf or a blanket over the shoulder. my husband has been in the navy for 20 years and there r standards and regulations when it comes to uniforms and being out in public. hell, he cant even wear physical training gear into the store to get water! if i read of those chics arnt even in the military...its her husbands uniform! even worse if true!

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Avatar for user 'Vintage_user'

Vintage_user | June 4, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. ― 3 years ago

This isn't about "nursing their children"...this is clearly a political statement...indicating some females will "require special treatment" this case the Air Force Personnel are not wearing headgear outside and they are not wearing their blouses in the proper manner. The fundamentals of "Unit Discipline and Morale are built upon Uniform Discipline, Physical Training, Shared Hardship and Adherence to Set Standards". This photo does not support those Fundamentals and implies "special treatment" for some which will be detrimental to Unit Performance. This is why Armor, Infantry, Artillery and other Combat Roles should remain closed to Females.

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Avatar for user 'Vintage_user'

Vintage_user | June 4, 2012 at 12:20 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Continuing . . .

It's offensive to me on several levels. First, it trivializes the importance of mothering. Nursing a baby is important, and the baby deserves your undivided attention at this time. Maybe these mothers don't care if they are called away from their infants, but at least they could pay them attention while they are with them. Second, it undermines the uniform. Yes, I think they should be professional soldiers

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Avatar for user 'no_soup_for_you'

no_soup_for_you | June 4, 2012 at 6:28 p.m. ― 3 years ago

I can tell through several things in the last four posts that argue_honestly, jay_mee, and vintage_user are the same person. One spammer who is too immature to understand breastfeeding.

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Avatar for user 'Javajoe25'

Javajoe25 | June 4, 2012 at 8:37 p.m. ― 3 years ago

What is this nonsense "When you put on the uniform, you are representing the country." Well, what, or who, is the country? These two women are precisely the type of country I want to live in-- free and open and normal and natural. It is the uptight, "might makes right" kind of people who are perverting the essence of America. I am grateful for the fact that we have women such as these in the military.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 5, 2012 at 10:05 a.m. ― 3 years ago

CaliforniaDefender, I know you are not this dense, but for the sake of others reading this I would like to note that those you mention action unprofessional in uniform by posing with dead insurgents and such were duly punished for doing so, just as these women should be.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 5, 2012 at 10:12 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I am sorry ndeanna and others saying that these women should not be punished, but if they didn't like the rules, they should not have enlisted. When they did enlist, they agreed to conform to a standard of conduct required of our military personnel. Just because they don't like the rules doesn't mean they can flagrantly break them.

I can't go to work in shorts, sandals, and a tank top because I don't like wearing a suit. I chose to work here, and in doing so agreed to follow the rules of conduct just as these women should be doing whether they agree with those rules or not.

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Avatar for user 'tharper'

tharper | June 10, 2012 at 9:57 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed a baby just like bottle feeding and if they choose to do it in public that is their business. People spend millions of dollars a year to see boobs in magazines, porn videos and etc. This is a natural setting...get over it. If you haven't seen a breast before then maybe its time. Not like they were just letting them all hang out. And as far as their uniform, I commend them on supporting our country and taking care of their family as well. Way to go ladies!!

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Avatar for user 'tharper'

tharper | June 10, 2012 at 9:58 p.m. ― 3 years ago

By the way, it is not illegal to breastfeed in public in any state in the US.

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Avatar for user 'npprof'

npprof | June 12, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Having formerly served, I can sympathize with those who object to this, but let's reserve our vitriol for more deserving issues. We really need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture - focus on what's really important and the things that truly matter. When it comes down to it, these women are hurting no one - and with all the horrific things happening in this world today, let's celebrate the few beautiful things that still exist.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 12, 2012 at 2:49 p.m. ― 3 years ago


Duly punished? No, they weren't.

The Nazi flag incident was dismissed with no charges as the Marine snipers were considered "naive" by investigators.

As for the countless incidents of members of the US Military posing with dead enemy soldiers, the result is always a whitewash statement: "Their unit will take appropriate action."

It's all about propaganda and making sure the public stays in the dark about what really goes on in the military. Nazi flags and macabre fetishes are just the tip of the iceberg. It's laughable that breastfeeding is even an issue.

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Avatar for user 'tm1_83'

tm1_83 | June 12, 2012 at 9:18 p.m. ― 3 years ago

There is a policy and it states that no member of the military shall use the uniform to promote,endorse or show just cause for any organization,political party,religious group, etc,etc.... You learn this in boot camp and I would hope in the academy.........

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Avatar for user 'jibajabaj'

jibajabaj | June 15, 2012 at 11:16 p.m. ― 3 years ago

This is just one of the many stories linking to this actually....

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