"I sincerely hope that the majority of those of you that have seen my work can see the positive aspect of this," Ruby said in a April 16 blog poston her website. "The support networks that we are creating with every new photo. Breastfeeding is natural. It’s normal. And it’s legal. Every mom should be able to be able to capture this amazing adventure without the fear of being disciplined because of it."
Without discussing the the latest photo of the female airman, Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson said the Air Force "is supportive of breastfeeding mothers and installations are continuously adapting to offer suitable areas to meet their parenting needs."
"There is no Air Force policy prohibiting breastfeeding in uniform, however, Airmen should be mindful of their dress and appearance and present a professional image at all times while wearing the uniform," she said in an email Thursday.
In 2012, two airmen came under fire for donning their uniforms for a photo session in support of Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The women, from Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, violated a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement, a spokesman said at the time.
In the photo, the women were breastfeeding their children in unbuttoned airman battle uniforms. One of the airmen, the mother of then-10-month-old twin girls, was pictured with her T-shirt pushed above her bared chest.
Ruby said the airman who pulled up her T-shirt probably realized it was "the only way to do this."
"It is a challenge, and I've seen it from every military mom," Ruby said. "It is not easy to breastfeed while in these uniforms. I would have never dreamed of doing these photos. The mentality back then was to just go breastfeed in a dark room, but now [the culture] of the military is much more family friendly. But uniforms for women are just not made for this."
Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East and Europe for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.