Friday, September 12, 2008

Military mommas.

After months of reading about babywearing via blogs, Dr. Sears’ books, etc, it hit me. What do military women who choose attachment parenting do? Specifically, are there any regulations regarding babywearing in uniform?  I’ve racked my brain, and I can’t ever think of a time that I’ve seen a woman in uniform, carrying her baby via sling. I see plenty of military moms in the commissary, BX, etc. with their babies in carts (or buggies, whichever you prefer) or carrying them, but I’ve never seen anyone wearing her baby. Surely there are active duty moms who subscribe to attachment parenting- but where are they?

I’m wondering if one of these possibilities is the case:

1.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because they’ve never seen another woman do it.

2.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because they fear being confronted/reprimanded/etc.

3.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because there are no regulations outlining the rules.

4. There are a good number of military mommas who either aren't familiar with attachment parenting or condemn it as "New Age hippy crap"- which is literally something I've heard from someone's mouth

5. There are a good number of military mommas who aren't familiar with attachment parenting because of a lack of resources available

 After doing a little research, I found that there are (according to AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel) no regulations concerning babywearing. This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised at what the AF comes up with. 

With all that being said, I want to point out a few things. Since there exist no regulations outlining babywearing, I’d love to see someone try it out. If this has to wait until I have my own kids, so be it. In accordance with other regulations regarding accessories such as purses/backpacks/bags, I do think slings should be limited to solid, neutral colors, such as black or gray. I found this example online, and I think it would fit the guidelines of “conservative” and “professional.” The last thing we need is for a woman to go walking around in uniform wearing a hot-pink Hotsling. 


Jenny said...

Great post! I had never thought of that. I seem to remember some regulations about the types of bags a woman could carry while in uniform, like that it had to be a neutral color or something. I'm glad there are no regulations about babywearing. What about breastfeeding? How accessible would a normal uniform be for that, and would it be allowed in public? The other thing I was wondering is how the sling would fit over the uniform. If ribbons or hard nametag were worn it might not be that comfortable. It's going to be so cool when you have kids--you can be a pioneer! I'm curious, was it a lady in the military who called it new-age hippie crap? LOL--I have that hot pink hotsling of which you speak :-)

Emily said...

Yes- I forgot that you would be aware of the huge number of regs out there! I am basing my assessment of what is appropriate for slings based on the regs for bags, backpacks, etc. I'm also thinking in terms of wearing a sling with BDUs, which are actually what I wear every day. They would be much more sling-friendly than blues, I'm sure. From my BDU-wearing experience, breastfeeding would be nearly impossible in them. However, I am thinking that I remember someone telling me that she would go to the childcare center over lunch and nurse her baby. In that situation you could have some privacy inside. I'm sure doing it in public in uniform would be not allowed, and although I'm all for the right to nurse in public in civvies, I can understand that. This is one situation in which nursing rooms would be acceptable. In terms of babywearing, I was thinking about running errands around base after work, or stopping somewhere on the way home. Breastfeeding presents a whole new issue! I'm going to have to do some research- thanks for bringing that up!

AND- it was a woman who said that. I think sometimes military women feel the need to overcompensate in being "tough." oh, and i love that hotsling! i just have a hunch that the AF would look down upon it...

Jenny said...

That pink hotsling would look good on you with an outfit like the one in your profile pic. Whatever sling you got, you'd probably need one a whole size bigger to go over BDU's. I ended up having one like that anyway, because I was bigger right after Suzi was born and then lost down to the next size. Do you think they'd allow a ring sling (with a tail)? I think the main reason I couldn't imagine a sling over a uniform is because they don't allow necklaces, and a sling hangs in a similar fashion. In high school ROTC we had to wear ID tags and while everyone else had lanyards, Col Whitley made sure we got clips. It would've been horrible to wear those awful bright-blue lanyards over our uniforms! While I personally think it would be cool for a woman to breastfeed in uniform, I definitely can't imagine it. I figured the military would probably frown on that. Wow, this is just such an unexplored concept! It would make for a great blog one day.

Ed and Elizabeth said...

Hey Emily! Nice thoughts on the sling-wearing in uniform. I don't see a problem with it as long as it is black or maybe we could design a camo one that would blend with the uniform. :) Baby's first camo. Haha!! I'm sorry to hear you're deployed. How are you doing? Are you safe? Joy is deployed right now too. She can't tell me where she is, but it's not a safe place. Hope all is well!! :) XOXO Elizabeth