Photo Of Mother Breastfeeding In Firefighter Uniform Causes Controversy

LAS CRUCES, NM – A photo of a Las Cruces, New Mexico mother breastfeeding while wearing her husband’s firefighter uniform may lead to her husband facing disciplinary action, according to reports.

KFOX14 reported that the firefighter, who did not want to be identified, may face unpaid leave because of the photo.

The Las Cruces Fire Department said they cannot comment on the investigation since it is a personnel matter.

“The message is that you can be a full-time breastfeeding mom and work a full-time job and do both really well,” photographer Tara Ruby told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Ruby said the mother was “standing as a model for all the moms that actually are firefighters that are breastfeeding.”

The photo of the mother in the firefighter uniform was initially posted in February. Ruby heard in March that officials were upset with the photo.

City spokesman Udell Vigil said the fire department’s uniform policy does not address spouses wearing the uniform and that it is not entirely clear about when a firefighter can be photographed in uniform.

“Depending on the specifics of a situation, it may or may not be a violation of (city) policy,” Vigil said, adding that, “The (city) has no policy regarding breastfeeding.”

Ruby’s response to the fire department is, “What’s the difference between a son walking around with a fireman’s uniform on at an event? If the firetrucks come out, they let the kids try on the uniforms. They put the uniforms on, walk around and people take pictures of them.”

The photo is part of what Ruby calls the Uniformed Breastfeeding Portrait Collection.

Ruby’s photo series includes other breastfeeding mothers in their work uniforms, including a nurse, a doctor and active duty military women.

“If the Army supports this,” she added with a laugh, “why can’t the Las Cruces Fire Department get on board with this?”

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution

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