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Old 12-11-2010, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband is active duty Air Force. We were at a Christmas party last night and I got to talking with one of the moms (also active duty) and during the course of the conversation she said that she'd have to stop BFing at a year...because her doctors told her she wasn't ALLOWED to BF longer. When I pressed her for more details she said that EVERY doctor she's been to (she's had lots of post partum issues so she goes regularly) has told her that she will "get in trouble" for BFing past 12 months because it's "not allowed for active duty."

 

I looked it up. Yes, the Air Force Information thingy only states the importance of breastmilk for the first year...but there is ZERO in there about duration of breastfeeding.

 

 

I'm outraged. I told her last night (before I checked it out) to double check the regulations and then start telling them to go screw themselves. I'm not military so I don't know that there's anything *I* can do...unless someone has ideas or a really great letter I can flood around base? (Pregnancy brain prohibits me from writing as eloquently as usual lol)


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Old 12-11-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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My husband is an air force officer. I'm guessing that the regs are in place for two reasons. One, they don't want to have to give females time to pump at work after a year. Two, they don't want females breastfeeding for years to get out of deployments. If they admitted that breastfeeding has benefits for more than a year they would have to do both. If she is told she has to stop during off duty hours she needs to bring it up and let it go up the chain of command until someone realizes this makes no sense. Perhaps they told her this so she could avoid sudden weaning should she need to deploy without much notice? She may also have to accept vaccines or medications the af deems are needed, they won't care that she's breastfeeding because it's been more than a year.

 

Really, how would the doc know?

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Old 12-11-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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I really fail to see how what she does in her off-duty time is any of their business, especially if we're talking about providing the best possible nutrition for her baby. If she's not asking for breaks to pump after a year or to avoid deployment after a year, what's their problem?


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Old 12-11-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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I think the absolute "go to" site for help with breastfeeding on active duty is Breastfeeding in Combat Boots. http://www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com/ There is a forum and I highly recommend the book. Robyn Roche-Paull is a fantastic resource for active duty moms.

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Old 12-11-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamajake View Post

I think the absolute "go to" site for help with breastfeeding on active duty is Breastfeeding in Combat Boots. http://www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com/ There is a forum and I highly recommend the book. Robyn Roche-Paull is a fantastic resource for active duty moms.


Thanks for posting the Link. I just posted it on a military forum I belong to.
 

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Old 12-11-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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The book is less than a year old but I have been using Robyn as a resource for years. Thanks for helping to get the word out to active duty moms. I'm hoping this book makes it to every base.

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Old 12-11-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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I was active duty Air Force for six years. I nursed DS till he was 2 while on active duty. The only references to breastfeeding in the AFIs (the regs) is that supervisors must allow members to pump up to a year and that women can get a deferral from deployment up to a year. I don't know how this can be construed as prohibiting breastfeeding after a year. You can be deployed after a year and your boss doesn't have to let you pump anymore, but they can't (and won't!) stop you from breastfeeding your child past a year. My bosses were always great about making sure I was able to leave for lunch exactly at 11 and leave work exactly at 4:30, so I could go and nurse DS. When I had to pump, they were great about that too. I even nursed him at work a couple of times and that wasn't a problem either.

 

Sounds like this "rule" came from the same reg that bans homebirths on base and/or for active duty members. The imaginary one.

 

ETA: If anybody has the book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, look at the picture on page 282. That's me and DS! :-)


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Old 12-12-2010, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like this "rule" came from the same reg that bans homebirths on base and/or for active duty members. The imaginary one.



I'm thinking this. I read that reg too and what it's saying is that if they find out the midwife isn't licensed they can stop your homebirth...because it's illegal and all. Well, duh.


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Old 12-22-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minkajane View Post

 

Sounds like this "rule" came from the same reg that bans homebirths on base and/or for active duty members. The imaginary one.



I'm thinking this. I read that reg too and what it's saying is that if they find out the midwife isn't licensed they can stop your homebirth...because it's illegal and all. Well, duh.


I am active duty and am still nursing my 15 m.o. (I pumped for the first 12 months)- and I'm actually on leave right now- just had DD#2 two weeks ago. PP are absolutely right- the "year" thing comes from how long they are "supposed" to let you pump. And really, the reg just says your supervisor should work to give you time/a place to pump, but duty comes first.  And actually, the AFI regarding deployments is changing- BFing will not get you out of deployments anymore. The only way to get around it is to get your ped to write a letter saying that your infant can *only* take BM (i.e. he/she is allergic to formula). 

 

As to the homebirth thing, technically they can bar you from having one- if you're active duty and assigned to an MTF for maternity care. I lost a 6-month battle on this one. Ultimately the commander of the Med Group has final authority over your request. I actually filed for an elective procedure after my referral was denied *twice*. My elective procedure request was then denied. I spoke to legal, and there is no recourse. The military technically owns your body, and if the Med Group commander percieves the risk to be too high, he/she is within his/her authority to deny you- the same way they can prevent you from having certain plastic surgeries, etc (terrible comparison I know, but the truth). 


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Old 12-22-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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As to the homebirth thing, technically they can bar you from having one- if you're active duty and assigned to an MTF for maternity care. I lost a 6-month battle on this one. Ultimately the commander of the Med Group has final authority over your request. I actually filed for an elective procedure after my referral was denied *twice*. My elective procedure request was then denied. I spoke to legal, and there is no recourse. The military technically owns your body, and if the Med Group commander percieves the risk to be too high, he/she is within his/her authority to deny you- the same way they can prevent you from having certain plastic surgeries, etc (terrible comparison I know, but the truth). 


They can refuse to PAY for it, but since there are no regulations against it, they really can't stop you from having one. You don't have to ask for permission to do something that's not in the regs. Pay for a midwife out of pocket if they won't refer you and there's nothing they can do to stop you and no way for them to punish you. The elective procedure request and denial refers ONLY to getting Tricare to pay for the procedure. It doesn't stop you from paying for it yourself. You can have any plastic surgery you want (barring things like sex changes and other things that are specifically barred by regulation), you would just have to pay out-of-pocket and you probably wouldn't be able to get medical leave, you'd have to get regular leave approved in advance.

 

Even military members have more say than people think with regards to medical care. The only thing you can really be FORCED to do is things they consider essential to mission readiness - vaccinations, treatment for an injury that affects your job, etc. You can NOT be barred from having a homebirth.


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Old 12-23-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Quote:
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As to the homebirth thing, technically they can bar you from having one- if you're active duty and assigned to an MTF for maternity care. I lost a 6-month battle on this one. Ultimately the commander of the Med Group has final authority over your request. I actually filed for an elective procedure after my referral was denied *twice*. My elective procedure request was then denied. I spoke to legal, and there is no recourse. The military technically owns your body, and if the Med Group commander percieves the risk to be too high, he/she is within his/her authority to deny you- the same way they can prevent you from having certain plastic surgeries, etc (terrible comparison I know, but the truth). 


They can refuse to PAY for it, but since there are no regulations against it, they really can't stop you from having one. You don't have to ask for permission to do something that's not in the regs. Pay for a midwife out of pocket if they won't refer you and there's nothing they can do to stop you and no way for them to punish you. The elective procedure request and denial refers ONLY to getting Tricare to pay for the procedure. It doesn't stop you from paying for it yourself. You can have any plastic surgery you want (barring things like sex changes and other things that are specifically barred by regulation), you would just have to pay out-of-pocket and you probably wouldn't be able to get medical leave, you'd have to get regular leave approved in advance.

 

Even military members have more say than people think with regards to medical care. The only thing you can really be FORCED to do is things they consider essential to mission readiness - vaccinations, treatment for an injury that affects your job, etc. You can NOT be barred from having a homebirth.



Elective procedure requests have nothing to do with Tricare- they are procedures you pay for yourself. They are a fallback for procedures that are not normally covered. And yes, you normally don't get convalescent leave (the exception is for childbirth- the reg on that states that you are entitled to convalescent leave regardless of where you give birth).  Regardless of who is paying, your commander has to approve it. Additionally, if there are complications related to the procedure, Tricare is not obligated to pay. I guess the option would be to deliver at home, claim you didn't intend to, and pay out of pocket, having never filed for an elective procedure. But IF you file for elective procedure and IF your request is denied, and IF you deliver at home (on-purpose and with evidence of premeditation, say having a midwife present), you are disobeying a lawful order. Again, I spent most of my pregnancy speaking with both military and civilian legal services, in consult with the Med Group, and that's what we arrived at. 

 

If you have info to refute this, I'd really appreciate you sharing your sources (besides the AFIs). It's something I am very passionate about and would like to share with other military moms as well. 


Also, I had my DD#2's 2-week checkup yesterday, and our ped was VERY surprised to hear I was still nursing my 15 mo, but very supportive. So not everyone in the system is anti-extended breastfeeding. 

 

I'm in Breastfeeding in Combat boots, too! Only I'm NAK right now so I can't look up the page no.- I'll check later. What a great resource it is! 


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Old 12-23-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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From AFI 44-102:

 

6.2.  Elective Surgery. Elective surgery, performed at the member's expense, is prohibited without prior 

written approval of the member's squadron commander and the MTF/CC. This permission must be 

obtained prior to any non-refundable deposits (for surgery, airline tickets, etc) being made; the potential 

for lost deposits will not be factored into the decision. The mission, unit manning status, potential for 

complications, and effect on upcoming deployments or PCS moves will be considered on an individual 

basis. In addition, elective surgeries within six months of separation or retirement must have additional 

prior approval by HQ AFPC/DPAMM, as required IAW AFI 48-123, para 5.5.4. 

 
 
Again, if the MTF commander perceives the potential for complications related to a homebirth to be too high, he/she has the authority to deny it. 

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Old 12-23-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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AFI regarding breastfeeding/pumping (from AFI44-102):

 

 

4.15.1.  The importance of breastfeeding during the first year of life to infant nutrition and health and 

to family emotional support is recognized by numerous private and governmental authorities. The 

AFMS recommends that supervisors of AF members who are breastfeeding work with the member to 

attempt to arrange their work schedules to allow 15-30 minutes every 3-4 hours to pump breastmilk in 

a room or an area that provides adequate privacy and cleanliness, if available. Restrooms should not 

be considered an appropriate location for pumping. The AF member must supply the equipment 

needed to pump and store the breast milk. 

4.15.2.  AF members who are breastfeeding or pumping remain eligible for field training, mobility 

exercises, and deployment. The Air Force Medical Service encourages commanders’ modifications of 

these activities and/or work conditions for airmen who are breastfeeding, when possible. Nonetheless, 

duty requirements may not always be compatible with exclusive breastfeeding.

 

 

 

 


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Old 12-25-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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From AFI 44-102:

 

6.2.  Elective Surgery. Elective surgery, performed at the member's expense, is prohibited without prior 

written approval of the member's squadron commander and the MTF/CC. This permission must be 

obtained prior to any non-refundable deposits (for surgery, airline tickets, etc) being made; the potential 

for lost deposits will not be factored into the decision. The mission, unit manning status, potential for 

complications, and effect on upcoming deployments or PCS moves will be considered on an individual 

basis. In addition, elective surgeries within six months of separation or retirement must have additional 

prior approval by HQ AFPC/DPAMM, as required IAW AFI 48-123, para 5.5.4. 

 
 
Again, if the MTF commander perceives the potential for complications related to a homebirth to be too high, he/she has the authority to deny it. 


This only covers elective SURGERY. Childbirth is not surgery. If you're pregnant, it's not elective either. You MUST give birth, one way or another. I don't see how this AFI applies to giving the MTF commander the power to prohibit homebirth.


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Old 12-26-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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This only covers elective SURGERY. Childbirth is not surgery. If you're pregnant, it's not elective either. You MUST give birth, one way or another. I don't see how this AFI applies to giving the MTF commander the power to prohibit homebirth.



I agree with you entirely. I'm simply providing you with the AFIs my MTF commander used to deny me my homebirth. That was the justification used. 


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