New Military Policies For Breastfeeding

new military policies for breastfeeding

Listen up, military Mamas! 

There are some new policies put into place to protect and better the lives of mothers in the military. Keep reading to find out the new changes.

For the most part, the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces have similar policies in place for accommodating pregnancy, the postpartum period, and breastfeeding. Recent updates offer significant improvements over the previous policies for family accommodations. The main categories that reflect updates include deferment, lactation, uniform and physical testing policies.

Deferment:

All four branches have a 12 month postpartum and fertility treatment deferment from deployment and permanent change in stations. This deferment may also apply to field training. The Marines specifically state that a lactating person may be eligible if the training will expose them to hazardous chemicals or be in an area that is not feasible for pumping.

Lactation:

Effective April 7, 2022, lactating service members and civilian employees are eligible for reimbursement for breast milk shipment costs as a special need travel accommodation if they are on official travel for more than 3 days. Until now, the cost of shipping breast milk home has been a barrier for those who relocate for temporary duty during their first year with a baby.

Uniforms:

All branches now supply maternity uniforms and breastfeeding t-shirts. Previously, there were no appropriate uniforms available, and service members were required to tailor their uniforms to fit their always-changing bodies during pregnancy. It is now acknowledged that this is not financially or physically reasonable, and that there is a need for accessible uniforms.

Physical Testing:

A 12 month deferment also applies to body composition and physical testing. The branches of the military have recognized the importance of breastfeeding and that the measures taken to meet physical requirements could have negative implications on breastfeeding goals. However,  the Marines are the only branch to have a time restraint less than a year- at 9 months. 

For information on specific policies by branch, take a look at our graphic below!

new military policies for breastfeeding

***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***