Army Directive 2015-43 Army Breastfeeding Policy

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 17, 2015) -- New Army policy
provides more prescriptive guidance to commanders pertaining to their
support to Soldiers who choose to continue breastfeeding or express milk
upon returning to duty.

Acting Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning signed Army Directive 2015-43
on Nov. 11, 2015. The directive further explicates the earlier breastfeeding
and lactation support policy, previously published this past September, by
including better guidance about location conditions, scheduling and storage.

"Extensive medical research has documented that breastfeeding has
significant health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, emotional, social,
and economic benefits for both mother and child," the directive reads. "In
light of these benefits, commanders are responsible for notifying all Soldiers
of this breastfeeding and lactation support policy during initial pregnancy
counseling.

The revised policy addresses how commanders now will not only provide
Soldiers with a location, even during field exercises, to express pump breast
milk but also a means of storage and/or time to transport or discard.

"Soldiers who are breastfeeding or expressing milk remain eligible for field
training, mobility exercises, and deployment (after completing their
postpartum deployment deferment period)," the directive reads. "During field
training and mobility exercises, commanders will provide private space for
Soldiers to express milk. If the Soldier (or designated personnel) cannot
transport expressed milk to garrison, the Soldier's commander will permit her
the same time and space to express and discard her breast milk with the
intent to maintain physiological capability for lactation."

Also new to the policy is the requirement for commanders to provide to
Soldiers a location for expressing milk that is not in a restroom.

"Commanders will designate a private space, other than a restroom, with
locking capabilities for a Soldier to breastfeed or express milk," the directive
reads. "This space must include a place to sit, a flat surface (other than the
floor) to place the pump on, an electrical outlet, and access to a safe water
source within reasonable distance from the lactation space."

The policy also requires commanders to ensure that Soldiers have adequate
time to express milk, and that they consider the unique situations of each
mother. The policy also, for the first time, adds a specific example of
frequency for breast milk pumping as well as duration.

"New mothers commonly express milk every two to three hours for 15 to 30
minutes, but this timeframe may change as the child ages," the directive
reads. "When a child is 6 months old and begins eating solid foods, the
number of breaks a Soldier needs to breastfeed or express milk may
decrease."

The policy also requires commanders to provide to Soldiers "reasonable
lactation breaks ... for at least one year after the child's birth."

Guidance contained in Army Directive 2015-43 will be incorporated in the
next version of Army Command Policy Army Regulation 600-20.
Army Breastfeeding Policy update
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New Army Breastfeeding Policy