Exploring Solids With Baby and Giveaway Codes!

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Dear Leakies,

 

I love this issue! Secret newsletter exclusive giveaway codes, tips on feeding, recipes, and a special word from our friends at Paxbaby. Go all the way down to the end to see it all!

Feeding our babies is a big deal from the very beginning and oddly enough, causes a lot of controversy (did you see that FB rejected our money for an ad claiming “nudity” and “adult content?” We just see babies being fed.
Every milestone is an exciting experience with and for our little ones and introducing solids is one of the biggest. What to introduce and when to introduce it are important considerations many of parents agonize over. In many ways the introduction of solids is an emotional time, bittersweet and significant as it signifies our babies growing up and the first step away from the feeding of their infancy. It can be easy to rush it or even hold back delaying the inevitable, but whenever and however it happens, it can be such a fun stage and it’s time to join us at Our Stable Table where we talk about nourishing our families beyond the breast or bottle and including everything from recipes to conversations that happen around the table.

 

Making the decisions for starting your baby on solids can be overwhelming. Between conflicting information, personal opinions, and outdated recommendations, navigating those decisions becomes particularly difficult when you factor in concerns about allergies, readiness, and your mother-in-law’s insisting that starting rice cereal at 4 weeks was the best thing ever.

 

Whatever you choose to do, The Leaky Boob wants to offer you information and support, respecting your responsibility in making informed decisions for your family. While some will feel it is important to wait until 6 months or more to introduce any solids, some will feel that their child is showing signs of readiness between 4-6 months and with the support of their child’s doctor will start giving their baby first foods.
And if you do have a child with allergies, it is an entirely different ballgame and getting friends and family to respect those boundaries is no small challenge. We talk about that here.
Some resources to help you get started or just for curiosity’s sake: American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on introducing solids, recent research on introducing solids and allergies, exploring baby-led solids, information on puree solids, and making your own baby food.

 

Whatever you do with introducing solids, and I’ve done just about all the options with my children, I hope you enjoy the process.

Ready to read more?! GO HERE to hunt for the codes and get the best information on transitioning your little one to solids! 

 

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Stars and Stripes Forever Edition! (and a HUGE giveaway bundle!)

by Kileah McIlvain

We’re gearing up for some HOT Independence Day celebrations this weekend here in the States! (Also, a shout-out to our Canadian Leakies today-July 1st! Happy Canada Day!) So much excitement going on around here that we decided to do a super patriotic #LeakyLooks theme as well as celebrate with Summer Magic Giveaway Bundle just for YOU! (Also, if you’ve joined our TLB Community on Facebook, I gave a super awesome hint about our Newsletter-exclusive secret code words for FIVE EXTRA ENTRIES for all running giveaways! Yeah. If you haven’t signed up for our Newsletter yet, you may just want to if you want to increase your chances of winning this super sweet bundle!)

This week we’re all about the patriotic stars and stripes and the good ol’ red, white, blue for our #BoobOutFashion! Take a look, see what we put together for you. Share, comment, repost on Instagram and Pinterest and show us YOUR patriotic #LeakyLooks this week! (and seriously. go sign up for the Newsletter. You won’t wanna miss this!). Scroll down to the bottom and enter that giveaway! Ready? Set? GO!

Grand Ol’ Flag Neighborhood BBQ

BBQ

 

Here’s a great collection to help you feel put-together as you attend that neighborhood BBQ to celebrate the 4th festivities! I paired this GREAT Milk Nursingwear Contemporary Knot Top with a pair of cropped trousers from Old Navy! A beautiful Tula ring sling in Eclipse to show off your patriotic stars and a Bebe Au Lait nursing cover to give some shade for you and baby in that great July sun! A You!Lingerie bra and Babymel ‘Cara’ diaper bag complete this great red, white, and blue ensemble!

Patriotic Pool Party!

Patriotic Pool Party!

It’s ALL about the vintage and pinup bathing suits this year! Why? Because they’re so complimentary for YOU and they show how FABULOUS you are! I immediately went to Modcloth for this gorgeous pinup suit (and it’s easy boob access!) and paired it with a lightweight wrap skirt from Peace Love World for when you want some poolside sunbathing options! And since I’m a huge babywearing fan, I had to put TWO different carriers in-A great version of another Tula ring sling and one of the newest polkadot Ergobaby carriers! Pair these with some patriotic-themed chewbeads, some sunnnies, and a great Orla Kiely bag from Target, and you’re ready for a fantastic day on the lake, river or backyard pool!

Stars and Stripes Evening Gala

Stars And Stripes Evening Gala

I couldn’t help but put this gorgeous evening look together for a beautiful evening dance set to the patriotic tunes of the night with fireworks booming in the background! I put this look together using this gorgeous navy dress from Modcloth paired with a fantastic pair of peeptoe vintage red pumps from them as well! A beautiful navy nursing bra from Cake and a small metallic clutch for the essentials. And I couldn’t resist finishing off the look with a beautiful silk ring sling from Sakura Bloom! Now you’re ready for an evening that is feeding-friendly and fashionably gorgeous!

Ready for our giveaway? Scroll down!!!

 

LeakyLook Summer Magic Bundle

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#Leaky Looks Summer Magic Giveaway Bundle includes items from AppleCheeks, Bebe Au Lait, and Naked Tank!!!

AppleCheeks

2 AppleCheeks Infinity Nursing Scarves – Retail Value: $64

1 AppleCheeks Swim Diaper – Retail Value: $19.50

1 AppleCheeks Little Bundle Bamboo Diaper – Retail Value: $28.95
For more information visit www.applecheeks.com

Bebe Au Lait

1 Muslin Bedtime Sleeper – Retail Value: $32.00
 1 Muslin Carseat Cover – Retail Value:  $35.00
 1 Muslin Swaddle Blanket (set of 2) – Retail Value:  $32.00
 

For more information visit www.bebeaulait.com

 

 Naked Tank

 1 Black Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank – Retail Value: $40.00
For more information visit www.nakedtank.com 

Total Retail Value of Bundle: $251.45

 

 

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from July 1, 2015 through July 5, 2015. A big thanks to AppleCheeks, Bebe Au Lait, and Naked Tank for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women.This giveaway is open to participants in the USA and Canada.

 

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#LeakyLooks: Fashion, Fireworks, Fabulous! (And a Giveaway!)

by Kileah McIlvain

 

Can you feel it?! Summer, Fireworks (okok. I know some of you don’t like it, but hear me out. You might like the outfit I put together for the 4th better than the actual BOOM BOOM. lol. That is OK!) and simple yet fabulous outfits that allow you the freedom to explore the outdoors, grill outside, neighborhood movie nights projected on an old white sheet, juicy popsicles running down your chin….yeah. I get a bit excited!

We’ve got such a great collection for you Leakies this week! (Plus….a FANTASTIC giveaway from Applecheeks!). Have fun! Pin, Post, Instagram- let me know how you like these looks and what YOUR favorite summer outfits are for #BoobOutFashion!

 

Saturday Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market

Isn’t this look adorable? I’ve been enjoying this lightweight nursing infinity scarf from Applecheeks and I put together this look for some great fun at the local Saturday market! I even found purple apple earrings from Etsy! Chewbead bracelets are a must-have for that sweet squish as they ride around in an Uppababy stroller! Don’t forget a chic Namaste mini messenger diaper bag in Caribbean Blue from Luv My Bag and an easy, lightweight pair of bermuda shorts from Old Navy and an easy-to-nurse-in White Flutter Sleeve top from Seraphine! (Yes. I totally added in my favorite Birks…because SERIOUSLY. They are amazing. And I live in them come summertime!)

Fireworks and BBQ

Fireworks!

This one has got to be one of my favorite summer looks so far! I centered this whole look on the Tula baby carrier in Skipper! The striped nursing tank is one of my favorite tops from Figure 8 Maternity and I added in a simple red skirt from SheInside. Comfortable Ink Calf hair blue wedge Toms complete this patriotic look! And you’re probably wondering where that gorgeous striped diaper bag came from? Ikabags on Etsy makes them! Don’t forget an eco-friendly way to transport food and water!

Easygoing Boho Mama

The Easygoing Mama

This beautiful and easygoing look is based around the gorgeous BB Slen sling from Babylonia USA! Made ethically and from sustainable resources, this compliments the gorgeous breezy maxi dress from Maurices! I chose this gorgeous maxi for its range of sizes available and the gorgeous print (and easy nursing access!). Wooden and crocheted chew necklace from Etsy and an easy geometric wedges from Toms (as well as a gorgeous bag from Luv My Bag!)-you’re all set for an easygoing day that’s comfortable and functional AND lovely!

Ready to win a sweet bundle from Applecheeks?!

Here is what the winner gets:

Two Applecheeks Nursing Scarves, retail value = $64

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Applecheeks Swim Diaper, retail value = $19.50

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Applecheeks Bamboo Little Bundle Diaper, retail value = $28.85

Product Details

Total value = $112.35!

Hurry! It ends Tuesday Night and is open to Leakies in the USA and Canada!

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Epic MiLK! The Leaky Times Newsletter Vol.8

by Kileah McIlvain

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Dear Leakies,

This may come as a shock, but I’m not passionate about breastfeeding.

Which is why I hope you all can join me at Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference on August 1st in Los Angelas, CA. This conference is all about bringing together everyone involved in infant feeding conversations to learn how to listen, share information, and offer true support. Support that isn’t possible when we’re judging and shaming individuals.

Nearly every day we hear from moms they concern about how they are feeding their baby. Guilt weaves through their words. With heartbreak they share their story, aching at what they perceive to be failure and hoping we can offer some magic fix. We tell them all the same thing.

Feed the baby. That’s the first rule of infant feeding care, FEED THE BABY. Because no matter what methodology, the baby must be fed. Not feeding the baby IS failure.

If there were a first rule of infant feeding support, it should be “DON’T BE A JERK.” Followed closely by “SUPPORT THE PERSON OVER THE METHODOLOGY.” Being a jerk and supporting a methodology over people IS failure.

Feeding the baby isn’t failure.

Sometimes, the people that should be the most supportive, end up offering unsupportive support.

READ MORE HERE!

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Leaky Looks: Let’s Welcome Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Hey Leakies! Summer is HERE (ok. ok. It officially starts on Sunday…but around here all of the schools have just gotten out for the summer and you can literally smell the sunscreen and freedom wafting in on the warm breezes we’ve been getting here in the Pacific Northwest!

This week we’re giving you some beautiful looks celebrating the beginning of summer in STYLE! pssssst…..Don’t forget to stay tuned for our Applecheeks Nursing Infinity Scarf giveaway!

 

To The Zoo We Go

day at the zoo!

This look I had to put together as we’re planning a zoo trip soon! Keeping it light and layered with an Applecheeks Infinity Nursing Scarf, a Yummielife.com nursing tank, and a Target.com pleated maxi skirt completed with a J. Crew summer hat andSalt Water Sandals from Modcloth! It’s important to have a simple but capable bag like this beautiful plum colored Juno Blu Pumping Bag and keep hydrated with a Sigg water bottle and I also added in some California Baby suncreen (great for kids AND adults!) and one of my favorite lightweight strollers: the Joovy Groove UltraLight! Set for a day of primate watching and exploring the animal kingdom!

Concert On The Lawn

Summer Concert On The Lawn

This look was one of my favorites as here in Portland we get the treat of sooo many wonderful summer concerts outside! I centered this look around the Floressa Ayana Maxi Dress from Queen Bee, a Chambray jacket from Lulus.com, and Kokoro wrap in Mon Cheri. Our delicate grass around here can get a bit dry after the hot weather we’ve been having so I added in a soft blanket from Urban OutFitters. Best part about this ensemble? The Custom wrap conversion bag from Smiling Octopus. Isn’t it just amazing?!

Summer In The City

Summer City mama

This look I curated around this beautiful lightweight button-down blouse (easy to nurse in!) fromAshleyStewart.com, the Anita Stretch microfiber nursing bra Bare Necessities and distressed jeans from Torrid.com. The cute summer hat is from Forever21.com and my current favorite suede wedges from Toms.com. When you’re trecking the concrete jungle in warmer weather, you don’t want a big bulky diaper bag to clunk around your midsection! I added in this gray canvas leather tote from Pottery Barn Kids as a sleek and understated option for carrying your essentials. Beco Soleil in Steps is one of the best lightweight carriers to explore the best haunts and food carts in with your baby!

Have a great week, Leakies! Don’t forget to enter our Applecheeks giveaway when I give the signal! Watch for it!!

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#LeakyLooks: Epic MiLK Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Around here at the TLB hub, we’ve been getting super excited about the MiLK Conference coming up in LA! Why? Because it’s about infant feeding. About supporting all moms…in every feeding journey…for all stages. So this week I curated three looks that highlight some aspects of our feeding journeys. What accessories or wardrobe choices empower YOU to be the best YOU for YOUR moment? YOUR journey? Let us know!

#BoobOutFashion #LBLWednesdays #LeakyLooks

 

Postpartum Staycation

Postpartum Staycation

Ok ok. I’m sure you snickered at the title. Postpartum-land isn’t exactly a vacation. It’s major recovery time and bonding time. But you know what? Who says you shouldn’t be pampered and loved and supported to help ease recovery and rest? I centered this look around a Belabumbum nursing gown that is loose, lightweight and cotton. You can wear with or without a soft wireless bra like this Bravado Silk Seamless nursing bra and some cushy slippers like these great Kiltie Moccasins from L.L. Bean! One of my besties gave me the Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Recovery essentials bundle…the bottom balm? And the cooling mist for hemmorhoids? Yes. Just do it. I have 4 hobbits. I know these things. My wee lambs always come earthside with super-sensitive skin so we quickly learned that certain brands like Weleda continue to deliver in terms of clean chemical-free body products for the whole family! You and baby will be needing tons of skin-to-skin time so I collected a Swaddle Designs muslin blanket, Kate Quinn newborn hat, and a Cotton Babies Flip diaper (brownie points if you can guess which one!). Milk coming in can mean VERY tender breasts. The Cariwell breast soothers work magic and sooth those inflamed tissues working hard to make some milk! And don’t forget this beautiful Tula Migaloo Sorbet ring sling!

 

 

Don’t Stress Just Go!

Don't Stress Just Go! We all need those options for days where we have to hit the ground running. I wanted to center this look based on the colors of the AppleCheeks infinity nursing scarf! Hues of Blue and Plum really work well for most skin tones and a skirt like this blue cotton skirt from Old Navy really elongates the legs without being too short for comfort! I paired it with the cotton H&M nursing shirt and a soft wireless Lamaze Intimates nursing bra in soft pink. One of my FAVORITE comfy yet functional shoes that are crafted to last is Born. Finished off the look with some lovely plum-colored earrings from Poshmark and the Timi & Leslie Charlie diaper bag and you’ve got a comfortable yet effortless ensemble that is going to last you through a whole day of post-school playdates and summer camps!

 

You WORK That Pump!

You WORK that Pump!

 

With this look I was just itching to feature a dress from Leche Libre’s collection! This designer is phenomenal and her subtle, utlitarian-yet-classic style really set her pieces apart. I found this Mermaid coral necklace from Humble Chic and used a Juno Blu pumping bag to compliment the Ardo Pump that I love so much (quietest pump EVER. And soooo easy to clean!). I just HAD to put in a Simple Wishes pumping bra because they WORK. And they work WELL! A simple lightweight cotton cardigan from Zara and some Crown Born vintage heels complete this versatile work look!

 

Show us how YOU rock your #LeakyLooks this week and tag us on Instagram or show us on Pinterest!

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Leaky Looks: YOU Choose Edition!

You spoke, and I delivered! This week to kick off the month of June, AppleCheeks, Naked Tank, and Bebe Au Lait teamed up with me to give you our freshest and latest #LeakyLooks!  I asked all of our Leakies on Instagram and Facebook  the #BoobOutFashion they wanted to see MOST on our picks this week.  The top 3 came in as Boho/Hippie Mama, Beach/Daytrip Mama, and Workout Mama.  Have fun looking through your looks! Pin, share, repost, tag us and tell us what you would choose!

 

To The Beach We Go!

To The Beach We Go!

I think most, if not all of us, want that perfect summer dress. Light, flowing, flattering and breathable (and #BoobOut -able!). I started out with this gorgeous all-cotton Torrid maxi dress that hits loosely at the natural waist and flows comfy and loose over all of our beautiful mama shapes! I saw the AppleCheeks nursing infinity scarf and fell in love with the colors immediately! As a scarf-lover myself, this lightweight item works as a no-fuss fashion statement, nursing cover, and beach hair protector all in one! I added in a soft pink bra, a silver footbed sandal, teal leather diaper bag, and a wide-brimmed sunhat from LL Bean (and let’s not forget the chewbead bracelets! I love wearing a TON of these in the summer!). I chose to include one of EWG’s highest-rated sunscreens (and gentle on sensitive skin!) and an adorable AppleCheeks diaper. Toss in a Mastitis Patrol tee for your little, sunglasses, and your favorite soft-soled sandals and you’ve got the makings of a fantastic day in the sand and surf!

Rockin’ That Gym Look!

Rockin' That Gym Look

I got so many awesome requests to do another workout look this week! I had done a couple of looks here and there, but this has got to be my favorite collection so far! I centered this look around one of the BEST Leaky wardrobe pieces in my closet-the Naked Tank! It’s breathable, lightweight, comes in white or black, and means I don’t have to put on 3 layers to function comfortably (can we say NO OVERHEATING OR SWAMP BOOBS?! Plus, free shipping for orders over $50? Yeah. Just Do It. No pun intended. Ha.) I LOVE these Belabumbum yoga jogger pants that fit loosely in the hip and thigh and hug the ankle! The rebound racer sports bra that I chose isn’t actually a “nursing” bra, but it might as well be! the front two straps are high-quality velcro that allow you to undo a side and adjust after you empty a breast! The HydroFlask insulated water bottle has always been one of my favorite go-to’s for keeping liquids cold OR hot, depending on my needs. Add in a durable gym bag, a lightweight top to cool down in when you leave the gym and some great Asics trainers and you’ve got yourself a no-fuss, all-function workout ensemble!

Work That Bohemian Mama!

Earthy Mama

I fell in love with this cotton wrap boho skirt from oOlives on etsy and just HAD to use it to create this bohemian hippie look! A wrap skirt is such a great option for both pregnant and nursing mamas as it’s easily adjustable and comfortable (and cool!). I added in a peasant top from Walmart (inexpensive!) and a lovely bralette from Aerie.com. Now…the piece that I’m MOST excited about in this look is the Bebe au Lait muslin nursing cover in Botanica! This lightweight premium cotton muslin is the PERFECT match for a hot day, whether you need it to shield baby from sun or distraction while eating or you can drape it over a low branch to give baby extra shade! I’m pretty sure I want every print they have. Ha! I added in the Ergo carrier in Dandelion because it’s all cotton and a lighter color which means it’ll be reflecting heat more than absorbing it.  I finished off this look with a fun diaper bag, Born gladiator sandals, and an awesome multi-colored necklace from Modcloth!

So there you have it, Leakies! YOUR CHOICE. And I absolutely LOVED your ideas! I hope you like what I picked! Tag me on instagram (@theleakyboob or @abitofearth) and show me how you rock YOUR #BoobOutFashion!

PSSSSST. Remember to keep an eye out for our upcoming giveaways!

They’re almost here!

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Boob Out Fashion: Spectactular Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Last week when we released our Special Occasion Edition,  a leaky on our Instagram feed asked me about nursing SWIMWEAR. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! What IF there WAS such a thing as beautiful, functional swimwear for nursing mamas…or outdoor gear that is breastfeeding-friendly…or workout wear that made it easy to access the milk…what IF?!

Well, @megfyfewatkins ….THANK you for the idea that wouldn’t leave me. I FOUND the droids…err…clothing…you were looking for! (Yes. I’m a Star Wars nerd. More on that, later!)

 

By the Poolside

Swimwear

 

This gorgeous look is centered around the beautiful Pez D’Or La Mer 3-piece tankini set! Provides extra support for your lactating breasts, easily makes milk accessible and really compliments a wide range of figures! I added a Dotti Lazer-cut Kimono cover-up and a simple Sanuk white sandal (so dang comfy. seriously.) In the summer, chances are you’re going to want both you AND baby to cool off in the nearest cool water, so what better way to carry your squish than in a Beachfront Baby Water Ring Sling! Lightweight, dries super-fast, is easily adjustable for comfort and weight of baby and looks effortless. Add in a beautiful and functional Jelly Strands chewbead necklace, a Storksak diaper bag and some EWG-approved Badger Sunscreen and you are good to go for a beautiful day at the beach or by the poolside!

 

Yoga For Two

Workout

This was such a fun look to put together! I pulled this look together based on this Old Navy Burnout Tank I JUST purchased last week! It’s really easy to breastfeed in and pairs really well with the Melinda G Sports Nursing Bra that I picked out (Yes. there ARE actually sports bras that are made for the breastfeeding and pumping mama!). I love the easy cuteness of a good Bolder Band to keep sweat out of my face as I’m working out. REI has Hugger Mugger Batik yoga bags that I seriously want like…all of. I added an Echo Vessel water bottle and a great gym bag. My first carrier I ever had was an Ergobaby Original carrier. They still remain one of my go-to carriers and after birthing 4 hobbits, it has always held up to our busy lifestyle!

Take A Hike

Hiking

Living in the Pacific Northwest is kind of like saying “I live in a mecca for all things lush and outdoors.” An hour to the misty mountains. An hour to the soft-sanded coast. Deep lakes, temperate rainforests, and internationally-acclaimed hiking trails are one of our trademarks in these parts. Imagine my HAPPINESS when I discovered there is an actual clothing line designed for the active, pregnant/breastfeeding mom! Mountain Mama has an impressive line of great outdoorwear for the active outdoors mom! Crafted well from durable material and versatile for just about any wardrobe. I included the Salomon Ellipse GTX women’s hiking shoes (top-rated by Outdoor Gear Lab!) and the Lillebaby All-Seasons carrier in Stone as it’s incredibly breathable and the dimensions work so very well for both mums and dads! (see a GREAT review my husband did on them HERE!). Throw in a GORGEOUS Tekhni Pax Delta Hip Sack, some chemical-free thinksport sunscreen, and a double-insulated Kleen Kanteen stainless-steel bottle and you are set to explore the great outdoors with your family!

Are you inspired, yet?! Want to show us your summer-friendly #LeakyLooks outfits? Inspire the Leakies and tag us using our hastags on instagram or facebook! Now get outside and enjoy life in all of its summer beauty in all of your #booboutfashion awesomness!

PSSSSST: we have some super-awesome exclusive stuff coming soon (As in, next week!). (a giveaway? a Leaky feature? What could it be?!)…so keep watching our #LeakyLooks space and get your share-button ready! It’s going to be GOOD.

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Breastfeeding Discrimination and Mountain Home Air Force Base- Interview with Breastfeeding In Combat Boots

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Every day we see evidence that parents feeding their babies is in being more and more accepted with less judgment, discrimination, and hostility from the world around them. Though we may hear more about the discrimination and public shaming of babies being fed, the truth is, there are more stories where such feedings either go unnoticed or even outright supported. We see better policies, laws, and even health care being put into place that encourages and facilitates moms in reaching their breastfeeding goals. It’s encouraging to know that we’re making progress.

Which is why it is so incredibly disappointing and discouraging when we encounter discrimination and barriers in that progress, even more so from those who are in leadership and positions of influence.
On April 16, 2015, Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho released a memorandum regarding the official breastfeeding in public base policy by Commander David Iverson. On April 21, 2015 Breastfeeding in Combat Boot’s Facebook community posted the memorandum they had received from a member impacted by this new policy on their page, which you can see here and below.
Mountain Home Air Force Base Breastfeeding policy memorandum
For some this was at least sounding supportive of breastfeeding and trying to be sensitive to everyone. For others though, this was quite a blow. For US Navy veteran and IBCLC Robyn Roche-Paull, author of the book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and owner of the website and social media communities of the same name, this was particularly disappointing to see. The mom 3 wrote her book and launched her website inspired by her own struggles with breastfeeding in the military with a desire to support other families and help see change happen that would better support military moms.  In short order word of this new policy on MHAFB spread like wild-fire on social media and an informal campaign was launched to voice concerns regarding the policy. At the time of publishing this article, the base had release a revised statement rescinding the policy until further notice in response to the efforts of those supporting breastfed babies. Still, it is clear in the the new statement that this may not be entirely resolved.
As a civilian, I wanted to better understand the situation before reacting and reached out to Robyn. She graciously agreed to answer my questions and I’m happy to share the conversation here with you. Robyn explains what all this means, why it matters, and what we can do about it.
TLB: What exactly is this? For those of us unfamiliar with military procedures, could you explain what this memorandum is and how this impacts the lives of those who work and live on Mountain Home Air Force Base?

Robyn: A memorandum is how the military puts out new policies that affect personnel (military and civilian alike that work and live onboard the installation).  Memorandums are generally reviewed by the base legal department and signed off by the Commander of the installation.  They are to be followed and obeyed by those who live and work on the installation, and should they not be obeyed, those persons can be subject to disciplinary action.  In the case of civil service personnel they can lose their jobs over an infraction if severe enough, and for civilians married to military personnel, the military person (or sponsor) would be subject to the disciplinary action since the military person (sponsor) is responsible for their spouse/children (dependent) actions.

TLB: The memorandum for Mountain Home Air Force Base personnel from Colonel David R. Iverson, Commander of the base has 5 main points. At first glance it would seem these points are positive and in support of breastfeeding with language that expresses respecting the rights of nursing mothers in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Is this actually supportive of breastfeeding and protecting the rights of babies to be fed or is there something else going on here?

Robyn: At first glance it does seem to be supportive of breastfeeding since they are providing an office or room for the breastfeeding mom to use.  But reading further it is stipulated that should the mother not wish to use the room, she then MUST use a breastfeeding cover. If she refuses to cover herself then she will asked to leave the premises.    This applies to individuals in “customer service” areas, which on most military installations means anyplace where administrative tasks are completed such as in or out-processing, housing offices, Personnel Support Departments, Medical/Dental waiting areas, etc.  Places where the mother is most likely waiting in line or has a number to be called to be seen.  If she leaves to the area to go breastfeed her child, she now has lost her place in line or misses hearing her number called and has to start the process over again.

The memo goes on to state that this “sort of accommodation supports nursing mothers while also respecting the ‘sensitivities’ of other base personnel and preserves the good order of the military”.  This is anything but supportive of breastfeeding mothers, and is in every way looking out for the possibility of offending other people who might come in contact with the breastfeeding mother, and more importantly, it is putting the needs of the military’s good order and discipline ahead the needs of a hungry infant.  I can only assume that the many twenty-something young Airmen will not be able to control themselves when confronted with a breastfeeding baby and so they need to be protected from witnessing the act lest they attack the mother for being sexually provocative because they caught sight of a little side boob?  I don’t know….
TLB: It seems it is worth noting that only babies and children that are breastfed are impacted in this ruling, is that correct? Bottle-fed infants and children would be permitted to be fed in the same settings that breastfed children will be asked to move to a private room or cover?
Robyn: Yes, it would seem that the policy, as written, only affects breastfed babies and children.  They will be asked to cover or leave while bottle-fed babies and children will not be required to cover or leave.  This fact alone makes the policy discriminatory towards breastfeeding dyads, and introduces the whole concept that there is something inherently wrong or sexual about breastfeeding that requires removal from the area or covering up.
TLB:Is there a precedence set for this kind of discrimination against breastfed infants and children at other bases? Are there other military facilities that have instituted similar policies? Are there any that have taken a more supportive position in regards to infants and children that are fed at the breast of their mothers?

Robyn: There is precedence for this type of discrimination at other military bases.  In 2007 Ft. Bragg had an incident at the BX (Base Exchange, a military only store that carries everything…much like a Walmart) where a worker was told she could not breastfeed her infant on her break because the Exchange had a policy forbidding it. And again in 2011 an Army spouse and breastfeeding mother was asked to leave the housing office at Ft. Bragg because she was breastfeeding her daughter.  In March of 2013, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii had an incident at the out-processing facility with a mother breastfeeding while waiting in line to have her paperwork processed, she was accused of indecent exposure and asked to leave, her active duty husband was threatened with legal action if she didn’t comply.  Later that month, at Schofield Barracks, also in Hawaii, an incident at the Commissary (a grocery store for military personnel) mothers were asked to leave when breastfeeding their infants, and then a policy was put in place requiring breastfeeding mothers to be ‘discreet’ and cover themselves or leave if they were breastfeeding in order to protect the other patrons from having to see the act going on.   In some cases, public outrage and the power of social media, along with education made it possible to rescind the policies and have better ones that were breastfeeding friendly put in place instead, but not in all cases. See my Blog post here regarding another incident.

TLB: Are there any military facilities that have instituted policies that are truly supportive of breastfeeding in public? Could you share with us examples of what such support looks like in policy? Is there a military base that Mountain Home Air Force Base could learn from in supporting breastfeeding children and their families?
Robyn: There are no specific policies that I am aware of at this time that are supportive of Breastfeeding in public.  There are a few that have it included within another breastfeeding policy (like the one at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth which includes a statement that breastfeeding is allowed anywhere within the hospital, but a room can be provided if the mother chooses). I know that the Commanding Officer at Naval Base Ventura County in California made a public statement in the base newspaper that breastfeeding women could do so anywhere and anytime in accordance with California law. But there is no formal policy stating that.
TLB: The memorandum mentions concerns of exposure in public settings, what does this stem from and is there something uniquely particular about this concern on a military base? Is there a reason that this policy would be necessary on base when there are laws protecting breastfeeding babies (and their mothers) on a federal level?

Robyn: I think this stems from concerns about anything that might be considered sexual (even though we know breastfeeding is about feeding a child, not sex!) within the military environment and to also maintain good order and discipline. Its complicated in the military. There is a running and deep-seated fear about sexuality, sexual assault, and sexual harassment that has everyone on point and scared to do or say anything that might be construed as sexual.  I think too that the military in many ways is very conservative and old-fashioned and also still a very male-dominated workplace (only 15% of all military personnel are women), so ANYTHING that might be seen as sexual, i.e. breasts are off-limits and cannot be seen, even if they are just being used to feed a child.  There are bans on girly magazines now at military exchanges (they used to be out where anyone could see the covers) and many installations DO have dress codes and policies concerning what individuals can and cannot wear at the gym, pool, Commissary, Exchange (such as booty shorts, saggy shorts, midriffs, etc.) This unfortunately is an extension of that, without taking into account that the baby or child needs to or is being fed.  (See also my answer above! )  With that said, as a military veteran and spouse, and an IBCLC and advocate for breastfeeding in the military…. I just cant see a reason for this policy to be in place when there are federal laws to protect breastfeeding mothers and babies while on federal property.  I just don’t understand where this came from.  I might have more understanding of the ’need’ for a policy if there had been an ‘incident’ that prompted this policy.  But so far it seems as though it sprang up out of nowhere.

TLB: Speaking of laws, though the state of Idaho has no laws regarding breastfeeding, there is a federal law in place protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed, how can the Commander Iverson institute policies and procedures that are in violation of that law? Are breastfeeding children and their mothers protected by that federal law? What do they risk in refusing to comply with this new base policy?
Robyn: This is where it gets tricky.  There are State laws and Federal laws and then there are Military laws.  Federal trumps State and in some cases Military trumps Federal. However this particular policy only applies to civilian personnel, so it would seem that Federal law wins and breastfeeding mothers and children ARE protected.  I have spoken with a couple of Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers (military lawyers) who basically have stated that Federal law does not apply to UNIFORMED MILITARY personnel, especially if it is an Executive Order (i.e. from the President, otherwise known as the Commander-in-Chief of the military).  But where the law is silent the DOD can make policy, and where the DOD is silent, each branch can make policy and so on down the line to the installation Commander.  However those policies cannot be in conflict with any higher order law or policy.  This applies to State and Local laws and policies as well.  In the case of this policy, again…it applies to civilians and civil-service employees so they are automatically covered by the Federal law.
(See my answer above in regards to not complying with policy.)
TLB: Why does this situation matter both for military personnel and for civilians? Why should we be concerned about this?

Robyn: This sets a precedent for other military installations to create policies that are similar which would be horrible.  Many, many military personnel have families and will be or are breastfeeding, polices of this type could affect a large segment of the population. This could also be used to draft policies that limit when and where active duty military women can breastfeed or pump while in uniform, and that would cause massive amounts of hardship since many of those women already face challenges to keep their milk supplies up. Throw in a policy stating that they cant breastfeed their infant on base while in uniform (such as at Medical) and they may very well just wean.  This policy goes against Federal law, it even goes against the Air Force’s very own fantastically supportive breastfeeding policy that allows military women time and place to breastfeed/pump during the duty day.  So on the one hand the Air Force is supportive of breastfeeding but just don’t do it in front of anybody?  Finally our military families sacrifice a lot of freedoms so that everyone can have the rights afforded to them by living in the United States….and now you are going to tell the very people who live and work and sometimes die for their country, that they cant breastfeed their child whenever and wherever they might be while on US Government property?  Not going to fly folks!

TLB: With all that in mind, what can we do? How can we use our voice regarding this issue and what difference can we make? Are there steps military personnel can take to protest this without threatening their career? What can the civilian population do as well?

Robyn: You can help by being supportive of our military personnel for starters!  You can use your voice by emailing/writing and/or posting to the social media site of Mountain Home Air Force base with your thoughts and concerns about this issue (and any others that come up).  You can write to your Congressmen and women to have them enact better breastfeeding polices for our active duty breastfeeding mothers in the military and also have the Federal breastfeeding law amended to specifically state that it covers military installations as well.  Military personnel pretty much have their hands tied, which is why I have posted the memo and other information anonymously as it is a very real possibility that they can have action taken against them for speaking up about the issue.  These are the very people fighting for your right TO breastfeed when and wherever you choose, but they cant voice that opinion themselves.

___________________
As I stated earlier, before publishing but following our conversation, the Mountain Home Air Force Base released a new statement rescinding the policy, linked here.
Mountain Home Air Force Base rescinds breastfeeding policy
I touched base with Robyn for her take on this statement rescinding the policy and she shared this:
Thanks to Social Media and the power of many moms writing in and voicing their concerns the policy has been rescinded (give the link).  Let’s hope that Commander Iverson will receive some much-needed education on the topic and a revised policy will be fully supportive of breastfeeding mothers.

I agree, I’m grateful for the global village raising their voice against the discrimination of breastfed babies. Together we have influence and can make positive change. Though the rescinding of the policy is encouraging, there is still a bit of a “sorry not sorry” passive aggressive feel to the apology and the line: “I will revoke this policy while we look for a better way to accommodate and be respectful of all individuals in our community” (emphasis mine) leaves quite a bit of room for amending the policy in a way that could still discriminate against breastfeeding children and their mothers.

If you would still like to voice your concern regarding the breastfeeding policy of the base and express support for policies in keeping with the federal law which supports breastfeeding in public, you can send a respectful email (please communicate with respect, no name calling or belittling of the commander) to the Commander’s hotline at 366FW/[email protected].

My thanks to Robyn for her help in understanding this situation.


_________________

Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull, BSN, RN, IBCLC, LLLL
Robyn Roche-Paull, is the award-winning author of the comprehensive book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to the Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military, and the Founder of the website ‘Breastfeeding in Combat Boots’.  She is a Registered Nurse and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) as well as a US Navy Veteran.  She began her breastfeeding career while still on active duty in the US Navy.  She served six years as an aircraft mechanic on F/A-18 Hornets and A-6 Intruders on deployment overseas and stateside.  During that time she gave birth to breastfed her son for well over a year before separating from the military with an Honorable discharge.  Robyn wrote her book due to the difficulties she experienced breastfeeding her son while on active duty, and her desire to help other military mothers be successful at breastfeeding so that they do NOT have to experience those difficulties; but instead can enjoy all that breastfeeding has to offer both mother and child.
Robyn has been working with breastfeeding mothers for over 14 years and has been an IBCLC since 2006. She holds Bachelors degrees in both Maternal Child Health and Nursing. Currently Robyn works as both a Labor & Delivery and Postpartum RN. In addition, Robyn is the Past Area Professional Liaison for La Leche League of Virginia/West Virginia,  is a Board member of MiLCA (Military Lactation Consultants Association), and she is the Secretary for TALCA (Tidewater Area Lactation Consultant Association).  She maintains her website and Facebook page, writes for various blogs and magazines and helps active duty military mothers worldwide via email and Skype.  Robyn lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband of 20 years, who is a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, and her three (long-term breastfed) children.  

www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com

www.facebook.com/breastfeedingincombatboots

www.twitter.com/BFinCB

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LBL Wednesday- Boob Out Fashion: Leakies Vote!

So this week on The Leaky Boob Facebook Community, I put it to your vote: Choose YOUR favorite look and I’ll do a #flatlay collection featuring a boob-friendly look based on that theme!

Bohemian/Hippie Mama and Beach Mama came in First and Second by a landslide with Portlandia Mama a close Third! So without further adieu, I give you Leaky Boob Looks: Leakies Edition.

Leaky Look #1: Bohemian Hippie Mama

 

Breastfeeding friendly fashions

I found this A-MAZ-ING paisley bohemian dress that functions as a wrap-style dress (I need this. In all of the colors.).  The bodice and skirt hit all the right spots and give a flowing freestyle look while the neckline is perfect for easy feeding access! I paired this up with the Glamour Mom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top. Sleek, comfortable, crafted to celebrate your beautiful curves! I added in a Luv My Bag in Namaste Poppins and some bangled gladiator sandals (it’s like they were MADE for this dress!) and finished it off with some coordinating Chewbeads bangles and necklace. Because teething. And distractions.

 

Leaky Look #2: Beach Mama

Ergo baby breastfeeding beach ready

 

I wanted this Beachy look to be comfortable and easy to throw on and go! Stripes for this loose cotton shirt and the cut is longer so it can work over fitted jeans OR shorts. I added the Bella Materna Anytime Nursing Bralette both for its comparable range of sizes but also for its all-day comfort! I had to include the Ju-Ju-Be “The Admiral” bag (because ANCHORS, Leakies! Seriously. Cute.) and the Ergo Original Carrier in Marine. (Whales. Beach. Follow me? :D). Finished off the look with easy on-easy off Birks. Because no one wants to get sand in their shoes!

 

Leaky Look #3: Portlandia Mama

Breastfeeding friendly fashion

 

This look was so fun to put together! I am a PDX mum myself (disclaimer I live in Vancouver. I love it. We locals affectionately call it either Vantucky or the Suburb of Portland. But Portland is basically my second skin. And just a 3 minute drive away! Long live Vantucky!) I confess that I have these particular boots and I live in them. And they make me feel like a badass mom. Amazing how shoes can do that. Ok. Moving On :D  I centered this look around one of my favorite sweatshirts from Sly Fox Threads over a Naked Nursing Tank. We Portlanders are pretty laid back, eclectic and a little particular, but we really value our comfort. Boyfriend jeans are super “in”, flatter nearly every body shape and go with just about any kind of boot, shoe, sandal or loafer that you put with it! AND they don’t look like mom jeans. WIN. We are really conscious of our choice in natural and organic anything. Hence the Alexa Organics teething necklace! Finished off this look with a great wool Fedora and a low-profile diaper handbag and now YOU can rock the Portlandia look!

 

Show us how YOU rock your Leaky Look! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and use hashtags #booboutfashion     #LBLWednesday

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