Back in 2015, photographer and former member of the Air Force Tara Ruby won hearts all over the internet for her stunning photo shoot of 10 active duty soldier moms breastfeeding their L.O.s. Now, she's done it again. On March 24, the El Paso, Texas-based photographer took to her Facebook page to share the new image, featuring six soldier moms in the current uniform.
"I was honored to be able to reshoot the breastfeeding image of US Army Soldier moms in their uniforms," Ruby wrote alongside the stunning photo. "Today's session was in the current uniform and we had a blast. It's so amazing to be able to sit and talk with these moms after, learning of their struggles and success moments with being an active duty soldier, a mother and a breastfeeding mom on top of it all. These women work so very hard... above and beyond to make sure that they can provide for their littles. This will never grow old for me!"
Here's the original image for comparison.
Ruby tells Parents.com all the moms involved "loved the image, and the response so far has been very positive. This has led to conversations about offering this to other military installations and as well as other military branches. I foresee mixed branch portraits in the very near future as a result of this."
She also explained that this shoot was different from the last, because "there wasn't as much hesitancy in capturing the image. We know the military supports women in uniform breastfeeding."
Back in 2015, the photographer had felt it was necessary to spread the message that for these active duty moms, "breastfeeding their babies doesn’t make them less of a soldier, I believe it makes them a better one. Juggling the tasks and expectations of a soldier, plus providing for their own in the best way they possibly can, makes these ladies even stronger for it.”
The photographer has received tons of supportive remarks in response to the new photo shoot. One commenter wrote, "I have to say that I absolutely love this! When I had my son 8 years ago, I breastfed my son for about 17 months. During this time, the Army was not as accommodating if you needed to pump. I would have to pump in the bathroom or in my car and if I took too long, I would get chewed out. It didn't help that I was one of two females in my platoon. I also remember having to hand pump in the field, telling the others in our tent to leave and block the entrance while I had to pump. I am glad now female soldiers are able to pump when they need to. Even in the newest Army Building, they have Nursing Rooms available. If not, they let female soldiers get an office to pump in. I am glad to see the Army change in this aspect."
Another said, "Coming from a woman who served in the Marine Corps and Air Force, YES!!! Women are meant for the military, to bond with child by breast-feeding, and if it is done in uniform, who is it hurting?"
Ruby's work is not only a reflection of breastfeeding becoming more normalized and supported in the military, but it's clear that through her work, she has helped the cause. Illustrating that point: Ruby says her latest image will be on display at the Women's Center in Fort Stewart in Georgia. Cheers to that, as well as to Ruby and all the moms involved.