Moms pose in uniform to gain support for breastfeeding soldiers

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A photo of ten soldiers feeding their babies while in uniform is going viral. The photographer says she hopes it helps the movement to ''normalize breastfeeding.'' (KTRK)

When Tara Ruby was a mother on active duty in the Air Force, she didn't have a designated place to pump breast milk for her baby. More than 15 years later, she's hoping her photo of soldiers feeding their babies while in uniform will help the movement to "normalize breastfeeding" in the military.

"Breastfeeding their babies doesn't make them less of a soldier, I believe it makes them a better one," she wrote on Facebook. "Juggling the tasks and expectations of a soldier, plus providing for their own in the best way they possibly can, makes these ladies even stronger for it."

Ruby originally took the photo to decorate a designated nursing room in Fort Bliss, the Army post in El Paso, Texas, CNN reports. When Ruby posted the photo on her Facebook page, it was initially removed, she wrote. This only strengthened her resolve, as she posted it again and it went viral.

The post has been shared more than 10,000 times in a few days. While some said they viewed it as unprofessional, many had positive reactions to the photo's mission.

"This is a beautiful way to show how much women give of themselves to country and family," one comment reads.

Ruby's story reflects the evolving policies in the military. For a similar photo in 2012, a National Guard spokesperson told the Air Force Times that the women violated military policy that prohibits promoting a cause while in uniform.

It's a different story now, as an Army spokesperson told CNN that Fort Bliss Public Affairs and Garrison Command gave her permission to take the photo. The Army is the only military branch without a policy requiring a private space for breastfeeding mothers, according to Breastfeeding in Combat Groups, a group which helped organize the photo shoot.

Ruby also said that she hopes her photo is an inspiration for women who are juggling the responsibilities of being both a mother and a soldier.

"Sometimes, you hit a point in your military career where you have to choose between being a soldier and a mother," Ruby said, "and a photo like this helps mothers so they don't have to choose. "
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