Breastfeeding in the navy: estimates of rate, duration, and perceived support

Mil Med. 2009 Mar;174(3):290-6. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-03-8807.


In May 2005, the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) issued an instruction (BUMEDINST 6000.14) on support of servicewomen with nursing infants, indicating that the length of time that Navy women breastfeed is below national targets. To provide additional information on breastfeeding while serving in the Navy, a limited number of questions were added to the 2005 Navy Pregnancy and Parenthood Survey asking about rates, duration, and workplace support of breastfeeding. Results of this descriptive, exploratory, cross-sectional study show that most officers and two-thirds of enlisted women breastfeed, but about one-third have stopped by the time they return to duty. Almost half of enlisted and over one-third of officers indicate they were not given a comfortable, secluded location for breastfeeding or pumping, although the majority are given time to do so. Also, two-thirds of enlisted and half of officer women indicate they stopped breastfeeding because of a work-related reason.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Parents*
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychometrics
  • Social Perception*
  • Social Support*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Women's Health*