Since we first featured them in Army&You almost two years ago, the Defence Breastfeeding Network (DBN) has gone from strength to strength.

Founded by servicewoman Natasha Day in 2020, DBN is a peer support group for military families on their infant feeding journey – through pregnancy, breastfeeding and beyond.

“I realised that there was limited support for servicewomen who return to work and continue to feed their babies,” explains Natasha.

“It started off as a small Facebook group but now boasts 1,200 members.

“In addition, 55 breastfeeding rooms have been opened across defence, we’ve contributed to changes in policy, introduced breastfeeding posters, held the first UK armed forces breastfeeding photoshoot, and have trained 60 Level 2 breastfeeding peer supporters.”

Room of comfort

The breastfeeding rooms allow servicewomen private and comfortable spaces to express and store breastmilk during the working day. “All they need is a lockable door, comfortable seating, access to clean running water, electricity and fridge space – so it’s really simple to do if the infrastructure is there. Some establishments have chosen to spruce up the rooms to make them prettier too,” adds Natasha.

One new serving mum said: “The breastfeeding room at my camp has given me peace of mind that my chain of command will support me when I return from maternity leave.”

Future plans

The network has many plans for the future including the introduction of adapted uniform, training additional peer supporters, hosting webinars and doing more to educate about breastfeeding.

Natasha says: “If I said there wasn’t more work to be done I’d be lying – the network has only been running for two years so we have so much more we can achieve as we grow.”

Get in touch with Natasha at @defencebreastfeedingnetwork on Instagram, or via Defence Connect and MODNet.

Photo credit: Cpl Adam Wakefield – Army Photographer 

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