The support system for military moms: understanding available benefits and resources for new parents

How does the military help moms balance their parental and service member roles?

Military mothers face unique challenges when it comes to balancing their duties as a parent and their duties as a service member. They are often called upon to make impossible decisions and unimaginable sacrifices. In 2022, the Army’s Parenthood, Pregnancy and Postpartum directive made a number of significant policy changes and program improvements to support these heroic mothers in fulfilling their many responsibilities to family and country.

More time for mother-newborn bonding

Under the new directive, new mothers are deferred or excused from continuous duty events in excess of one normal duty shift for 365 days after the birth of their child to ensure that at least one parent is home with the newborn. The directive also protects single and dual-military parents from having to take personal leave to care of sick children and encourages commanders to give soldiers flexibility to attend to unforeseen parenting requirements. This provides much-needed extra time for mothers and fathers to bond with and care for their babies.

Space and support for military moms who choose to breastfeed or pump

Army Regulation 600-20 states that commanders must provide a place to pump breast milk, and the new directive reinforces the regulation, clarifying lactation accomodations for new mothers. Many military bases offer lactation rooms where mothers can safely and comfortably breastfeed or pump milk for their babies. These rooms are often equipped with comfortable chairs, electrical outlets, and refrigeration to store milk. Some bases also offer lactation consultants who can provide guidance and support to mothers who are breastfeeding or experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding.

In the past, military moms often lacked adequate storage for breast milk while on duty, especially during field training. In many cases, soldiers who were pumping breast milk would have to dispose of the valuable milk causing mental distress. The new directive works to correct these challenges to ensure new moms can breastfeed and/or pump for a minimum of six months as recommended by medical experts.

100% covered breast pumps through TRICARE

In addition to lactation rooms on base, the military’s insurance provider TRICARE covers breast pumps for mothers to use. This can be particularly helpful for mothers who are deploying or going on temporary duty assignments and need to pump milk to leave for their babies. In addition to pumps, TRICARE covers breast pump supplies and breastfeeding counseling at no cost for new mothers, including those who are adopting an infant and plan to breastfeed.

Milk N Mamas Baby supports mil-moms and their babies.

Reliable resources make a big difference in helping military mothers provide for their children while fulfilling their responsibilities in the military. At Milk N Mamas Baby, we have more than two decades of experience in the medical device supply industry, with specialization in breast pumps, pumping essentials, and breast pumping accessories that anchor us as a leading breastfeeding shop based in the United States. Our company’s history is rooted in activism on behalf of nursing moms, including lobbying for insurance to cover breastfeeding equipment before the ACA required it, and we’re always eager to advocate on behalf of our moms in the military.