This week’s Mom On Mission is Robyn Roche-Paull, RN, BNS, IBCLC from Virginia Beach, VA, and the Author of the Award-winning book “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military” and Founder of Breastfeeding in Combat Boots. Robyn is a mom who is making it possible for women to be successful at breastfeeding their babies while serving in the military. She has brought 1000’s of Active Duty, Reserve and Guard mothers across the United States and worldwide, encouragement, information and support about breastfeeding in a very demanding workplace.
In her own words:
After successfully breastfeeding my own baby for over a year while serving in the United States Navy, I wanted to be able to offer the encouragement, information, and support that I did not receive to the many new mothers trying to breastfeed their babies while serving their country. My book started as a small pamphlet that I created for my Capstone Project while working on my degree that I sent to a few fellow women serving in the military who had just had babies and wanted to breastfeed. It was based on my personal experience of breastfeeding while on active duty and my professional expertise as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It was picked up by a publisher and turned into a 350 page book covering everything from the basics of breastfeeding to how to ship milk home from overseas. A Blog and website as well as a Facebook Page soon followed. The Blog is a space to share important thoughts on the state of breastfeeding in the Armed Forces, while the website is full of FAQs and Handouts providing much needed information that cant be found anywhere else. The Facebook Page is the place to find support as mothers stationed all over the world can post a question or a breastfeeding selfie (in uniform) and receive feedback from other military mothers who have Been There, Done That! In addition there are Challenge Coins, t-shirts and water bottles available to give to moms who have successfully breastfed as a way to show support. What started as a simple pamphlet has become so much more. Simply put, I just wanted to create a resource that would allow moms serving in the military a way to be successful at Giving the Breast for Baby and Country.
The daily struggles I see and hear about everyday from the mothers in the military who are trying so hard to combine breastfeeding and serving in the very male-dominated military workplace is my biggest inspiration. These moms face incredible challenges in finding the time and place to pump their milk whether serving overseas in Afghanistan (and shipping their expressed breastmilk home) or flying military aircraft and pumping between flights, or working 12 hour shifts performing maintenance on HUMVEEs. Each of these moms has shown me dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance in the face of incredible odds, just so they can provide their breastmilk to their babies and enjoy the closeness of breastfeeding when they are together. Their sacrifices and the love they show for their babies is amazing. They have taught me to be a better IBCLC as I have learned so much over the years about how to better support military moms who are breastfeeding. And I can then share with that information with other breastfeeding military moms through Breastfeeding in Combat Boots.
My mantra at Breastfeeding in Combat Boots is ‘It’s Not All or Nothing’. In other words, do the best you can with the information and support you have available, it doesn’t have to be 100% breastfeeding or nothing at all. No matter what the situation, if you have to give a little to get to your goal, that’s OK.
Would you like to help Breastfeeding in Combat Boots in their mission? The Store has books, Challenge Coins and T-shirts for sale. All proceeds go to supporting the Mission of Protecting, Promoting and Supporting breastfeeding in the military. Here are some ways to follow them:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BreastfeedinginCombatBoots
Twitter – @BFinCB
Shop – www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com/store