Photo Credit: Brynja Sigurdardottir Photography
Sure, we know breastfeeding in public can stir up controversy at times, but a new photo of two Air National Guard members nursing their babies in uniform has sparked an extra dose of attention, according to TODAY.
Crystal Scott, founder of the breastfeeding support group Mom2Mom and a military spouse, was behind the photo, part of a campaign to help support National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, according to the news show.
"A lot of people are saying it's a disgrace to the uniform," she tells TODAY. "They're comparing it to urinating and defecating [while in uniform]. It's extremely upsetting. Defecating in public is illegal. Breastfeeding is not."
Terran Echegoyen-McCabe, who is breastfeeding her 10-month-old twin daughters in the photo (along with fellow breastfeeding mom and National Guard member Christina Luna) was surprised by the negative reaction to the photo.
"There isn't a policy saying we can or cannot breastfeed in uniform," she was quoted as saying. "I think it's something that every military mom who is breastfeeding has done...I think we do need to be able to breastfeed in uniform and be protected."
There's no policy about breastfeeding while in uniform, but Air Force spokesperson Capt. Rose Richeson told TODAY that that "airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while in uniform."
The photo comes hot on the heels of the recent converversial Time cover showing a young mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son. The image drew a torrent of commentary ranging from disgust to applause.
Here's what we want to know: Why should a military mom -- or any mom, for that matter -- be expected to change out of her working uniform to breastfeed her child on a break? Would there be an issue if the photo had been of female -- or male -- soldiers feeding their kids a bottle while on break? Of course not. They'd be seen as good parents caring for their children.
Many members of the military are parents. Government agencies recommend breastfeeding. We're pretty sure they don't exclude female soldiers and officers from those recommendations. And, come on, having the freedom to nurse your child as you please: Isn't that part of what America is all about? Isn't that worth fighting for?
WATCH: Is breastfeeding in public rude?