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Firefighter Breastfeeding Photo: Photographer Is Empowering Women With This Image

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A photo of a New Mexico woman nursing her child while wearing her husband's firefighter uniform has everyone feeling the fire.

The photo, which has now gone viral, is part of a series where photographer Tara Ruby shows women breastfeeding while in their uniforms.

Another photo for what I might have to start calling the Uniformed Breastfeeding Portrait collection. I have dreamed of...

Posted by Tara Ruby Photography on Saturday, February 27, 2016



"This portrait was made to show the power of a working mother, for all mothers, that might be in the firefighting career field," the photographer wrote on Facebook back in February. Since then the photo has been liked and shared thousands of times.

Overall the comments have been positive. "As a man, [a] 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marines and a husband to a working mother I applaud you," one commenter said.

"As a breastfeeding firefighter, I say kudos!" said another. "We need women to know that they can be successful mothers and firefighters, and yes, successfully breastfeed even while being separated from their babies for 24-48 hours at a time. You CAN make it work!"

"This portrait was made to show the power of a working mother, for all mothers, that might be in the firefighting career field."

In regards to her photo, Ruby says she was trying to re-imagine male-dominated roles by putting breastfeeding at the center.

"Firefighters in the past have been predominantly male. With one photo I made that position as female as I possibly could," she said to HuffPost Canada Parents. "I do feel though that sometimes it's hard to see a male dominated role in a breastfeeding light and I think that that's why we're OK with a sexy fireman calendar but we might have a hard time dealing with a breastfeeding firefighter."

This isn't the first time Ruby has empowered women with her breastfeeding photos. Last September, a photo she took of breastfeeding Army moms at Fort Bliss, El Paso also went viral and garnered praise and support from the U.S. Army.


Since starting the photo series, Ruby has had many people reach out to her.

"I have had other first responders reach out to me to tell me they breastfed while working. I feel like being a first responder it's just an added pressure, but if moms are determined they can find ways to do it," she said.

In New Mexico it is legal to breastfeed anywhere, anytime in public. Nursing mothers are also accommodated as much as possible in the workplace.

"If a city employee is looking to breastfeed or pump in the workplace, the city will provide provisions for that," Udell Vigil, Communications Director for the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, said. "We've had instances where we've supported breastfeeding mothers, and we will continue to do so."

"I want to continue showcasing mom's in uniforms working a job and breastfeeding and doing both very well at the same time."

Earlier it was reported that the unidentified firefighter, who lent his uniform to his wife for the photo, was facing disciplinary action from the Las Cruces Fire Department for doing so.

However, Vigil confirmed to HuffPost Canada Parents that while the firefighter is facing disciplinary action, it's for a personal matter unrelated to the photo, but he could not disclose what it was in regards to.

As to whether it was against policy for the wife to don the husband's uniform, Vigil said: "The policy for use of firefighter equipment and uniform is specific to city employees, and the wife is not a city employee, so it doesn't pertain to her."

Ruby remains undaunted in the face of the controversy. In fact, the El Paso-based photographer is continuing her photo series with Cosmopolitan magazine.

"I want to continue showcasing mom's in uniforms working a job and breastfeeding and doing both very well at the same time," she said. The exclusive series will cover five working women breastfeeding, including a showgirl from Las Vegas.

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