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Military Moms Finally Have a Uniform Option That Works with Breastfeeding

The military has been stepping up their game recently to make uniforms more new-mom-friendly.

Just last month, the Air Force announced that it has approved breastfeeding shirts as part of their uniform. The tops, which are manufactured by Miss Military Mom, come in sand or tan—colors authorized to be worn underneath two current Air Force uniforms, Babble reports. And back in April, the Army officially did the same, allowing for the breastfeeding tops to be worn underneath their uniforms as well.

Available in long-sleeve and short-sleeve styles, the shirts all feature a flap, or panel, that can be lifted so a nursing or pumping mom doesn't have to completely push up her shirt to comfortably express milk. For new moms in the Air Force and Army, the tops would be tucked into their utility uniforms.

As Babble notes, nursing moms will have to buy the shirts themselves, but military members get a yearly clothing stipend anyway to help pay for their uniforms. There's no word yet on whether military clothing stores will sell the item.

The woman behind Miss Military Mom is Kenisha Health, who got the idea to design the shirts when she returned to work as an active duty Airman after giving birth in 2014. She struggled to get through multiple layers of her daily uniform to breastfeed or pump, so she decided to create a uniform option that was more convenient for new moms like her, according to her bio on MissMilitaryMom.com.

And it's other moms in the military who have been instrumental in getting the tops approved by the different branches. As Red Tricycle reported in May, mom of two Major Kelly Bell "made it her personal mission" to get the shirts authorized by the U.S. Army. And Tech. Sgt. Natalia Wood, 20th Maintenance Group unit deployment manager and mom of three who is currently pregnant with her fourth child, played an important role in getting the breastfeeding tops to become an option for new moms in the Air Force, Military.com reports. "I'm trying to normalize breastfeeding, not for me, but for all future generations. I was thinking more about everyone behind me. I just feel like we are the leader in securing our skies, but when it comes to this, we're lagging behind," she said in a service release. "I'm just trying to bring us up to speed, where we do support women who are breastfeeding, and we do provide spaces [for nursing and pumping]."

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