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When El Paso photographer Tara Ruby posted a picture on Facebook of soldier moms in camo uniforms breastfeeding their babies, she had no idea the impact it would make.
The photo was eventually removed, but not before it hit over 4,000 shares in just under 24 hours. Ruby recently reposted the picture with the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding and commented, "Today I believe we made history. To my knowledge, a group photo to show support of active duty military mommies nursing their littles has never been done."
Ruby herself was on active duty as part of the Air Force from 1997 to 2001, and shares with CNN that there was no such thing as a breastfeeding or a lactation room when she was serving. She often had to duck into empty offices or bathrooms to nurse her first son. So when she heard that the Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas, was offering a new nursing room, she wanted to contribute in some way and offered to provide photographs to hang as decor on the then-bare walls.
Her revolutionary idea? To take shots of other moms in uniform breastfeeding their babes in a show of support for the mom that would be in that room nursing or pumping. "Seeing a picture like that helps mothers understand they can be an active soldier and provide support to their children," says Ruby.
The photograph has received an overwhelmingly positive response online. One woman commented, "Thank you, Tara, Fort Bliss, everyone involved to make this possible and an extra big thank-you to these ladies and babies who participated to capture this photo. This is a beautiful way to show how much women give of themselves to country and family."