Nursing and Military Deploymentes?

I am in the AF, as well as my husband. We are wanting to have children but I would like to breast feed my child for a year, I know the AF offers a 6 month deferral for deployments after childbirth. I would like to stay in the military, but would also like to breast feed for a year because it is recommend by American Academy of Pediatrics. Wondering if there are any waivers for deployments due to breastfeeding.


Please do not answer if you have know information on this. I am not by any means trying to get out of deploying I am just trying to be a well informed mother and make the best decisions for the well being of my child. I am currently deployed and am happy to serve my country. I do not need people telling me what they "think". I am just looking for any information to be a well informed mother when the time comes.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your goals are admirable and should only be encouraged. You are correct, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Practitioners (AAFP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) all recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breast for at LEAST one year, and then for as long as mutually desired by the mother and child. In fact, the AAFP says that children weaned before age 2 are at increased risk for illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) all recommend breastfeeding for at least 2 years. A US Surgeon General has mentioned that it is a lucky child that continues nursing until age two.

    To begin with, breastfeeding is the biological norm. Breastmilk contains all of essential nutrients, and is not a static "recipe." The composition of breastmilk is constantly changing in accordance to the child's nutritional and immunological needs; it cannot be duplicated in a laboratory. The number one reason to breastfeed is that it is the normal and natural way to feed a child. Any other method is simply abnormal, unnatural, and sub-optimum. Luckily formula is available for dire situations; however, formula is never a desirable, optimal solution.

    The vast majority of women produce enough breastmilk to nourish their children when breastfeeding early, often, and on demand. The inability to produce enough breastmilk is a myth propagated into reality by “baby scheduling.” The WHO states: “Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.” Shame on the members of society that perpetuate these myths and undermine other women’s efforts.

    Breastfeeding and breastmilk considerably reduce the risk of ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, upper respiratory infections, type I diabetes, obesity (and therefore type II diabetes), eczema, asthma, breast cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the infant and ovarian cancer, breast cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression in the mother.

    These conditions and disease are all of significant public health importance. Obesity and type II diabetes are abound in epidemic proportions in our country. Both are significant risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of death in this country. Cancers are the second leading cause of death. Primary prevention is essential in reducing health care costs, and breastmilk is a natural, normal, free resource that offers preventative qualities. It certainly is "for the greater good" to encourage and facilitate breastfeeding.

    Can breastfeed infants still be afflicted by these conditions? Of course. There are genetic propensities towards these diseases and conditions that breastfeeding cannot surmount. However, breastfeeding can shorten the duration and severity of the illness. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers are better equipped to nurture and comfort, especially during times of illness. Breastfeeding can only help, not hurt. The same cannot be said for formula.

    Barriers due to work are most often cited as reasons for not breastfeeding. Full time work and full time breastfeeding are not mutually exclusive! Supportive, conducive worksites are of utmost importance, as is society’s support. One should not have to choose between her military career and her child. There is no need for military service to exclude one from childbearing and rearing. Deployments are certainly unique situations. However, a deferment should be available, especially considering the public health implications of not breastfeeding. I agree with GoGo Girls, check with your chain of command, and perhaps your physician.

    The Navy offers a 12 month deferment! That is a great policy. I’m hesitant to say that Naval women are “lucky” because this should not be a privilege, but a requirement. The Marine Corps offers 6 months, and the Army and Air Force offer 4 months. The other branches could certainly learn from the Navy.

    Finally, I applaud your service. Thank you and your husband so much for your brave commitment to our country. I appreciate the freedom you afford our nation every day. Many families do not serve our country at all; however, both you and your husband daily make sacrifices to boldly defend our great country; that is quite admirable. Furthermore, your forethought in considering your unborn children is admirable. Thank you for all that you do.

    -Rebecca, MPH candidate and nursing mother

    Source(s): AAP Policy Statement Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk AAFP Breastfeeding, Family Physicians Supporting (Position Paper) ACOG Committee Opinion No. 361: Breastfeeding: maternal and infant aspects. WHO Breastfeeding UNICEF Infant and Young Child Feeding
  • NWIP
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    6 months is the max for deployments nothing about breast feeding is in there, you will get up to 6 weeks after giving birth. While breast feeding for a year is great how do you know you will be able to do it at all? Many women try and success is there but lots of others are not able to do it or if they can only for a little while. Plus take into consideration that if you are able to bf then while you are working you will have to be pumping because after the 6 weeks you will return to a full schedule. Which has a nurse could be difficult. Your child might have to be supplemented with formula. Which isn't horrible to happen. I know children that were bf'd and had issues and other kids who have had forumula and never had a one.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    In the Navy you have to have your college degree already to be an actual nurse. You can join as an enlisted person and then submit a package for a program like you are talking about to go to nursing school, but you have to be accepted into the program first after submitting your package to be considered for the program. There are a lot of requirements to be accepted into the program. The Navy also has Hospital Corpsman which is our version of a medic. It is not the same thing as being a nurse because a nurse is a college degree program, but you can do a million different things as a HM. It all depends on what you want to do. If you enjoy the medical stuff and don't need the title HM would be great for you. You could also enlist, do your 4 years, get out and use your GI Bill to pay for school. While on active duty you could also work on your degree while letting the Navy pay your tutition with tutition assistance. Great program for free college.

  • HDH
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    In my opinion, military service is not compatible with motherhood. Some women do it - but it requires some sacrifices: You will go back to work after six weeks. You may not be given any time to pump your breastmilk. You are deployable after six months. You could deploy several times during your children's lives.

    Hope you don't get attached to an Army unit. Then you'll deploy for a year at a time!

    Source(s): Six years in the Army I didn't stay in because I'd like to have kids. AND raise them...
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wouldn't your chain of command be the more knowledgeable on this topic? What reason does the American Academy of Pediatrics give to support that a year would be better. If this is just a personal choice on your part, I doubt that you'll be successful. If you don't deploy will a childless person have to go instead to fill your slot? That somehow doesn't seem fair to me.

    AF Vet

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You and your husband are both in the military!! WOW ;) As your husband I think you should get out of the military, I deploy enough for the both of us. Being a wonderful mother and giving our children what they need to be the healthiest is the most important thing. You have done your service to your country and don't let people that are idiots get you down... The navy is the only branch that offers 12 months of non deployable time after the birth of a child, so Mrs. Navy Wife, your husband people get 12 months so why shouldn't the other people who are serving their country get the same, period!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No there are no deferments for breastfeeding.

    I would encourage you not to make a major life decision on based on your intention to breastfeed for a year.

    1. You may not get selected to deploy that first year regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not.

    2. You may not be able to breastfeed (most women can but there are a few who don't make enough milk, etc etc).

    3. You may try breastfeeding and decide it isn't for you or your baby.

    Source(s): AD AF
  • Mrsjvb
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    your poersonal dsesires mean NOTHING. you are deployable after 6 months, period.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.