The shirt just makes that a lot easier. And it provides that first level of support because if you don't have the right equipment, then doing your job is going to be more difficult. This is just the right equipment for that job.
My name is Captain Stephanie Clubine and I am an Armour Officer. I'm married to my husband, Captain Jonathan Clubine, who is a Logistics Officer and we have two children, a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.
The nursing shirt idea originally came when I was on parental leave with my oldest. I saw that the US Army had recently authorized the nursing shirt for wear. At that point, there wasn't a reimbursement structure or anything. But it made a lot of sense. When we're on parental leave, we often alter our clothing to suit our needs.
We do that for PT, we do that when we're on the field, why wouldn't we do it for one other responsibility that we have?
So, the review process for the nursing shirt took a little bit of time because there had to be involvement from all of the different environmental pieces because there are the Air Force and the Navy and the Army. So, it had to work for all of our operational gear. So, for the Army, that's the combat's, but for the Navy, it's the naval combat dress and the Air Force's flight suit. So, they had to make sure that the solution was one that could be evenly applied. So, it took a little bit of time. But when it was approved, it was very exciting.
The nursing shirt is different from the usual t-shirts that we wear because it has a second front. Rather than going all the way to the bottom and just having one piece of fabric, you have two pieces of fabric: an under one and an over one. The over one only goes to about your rib cage and can be easily pulled up and underneath that, there is a tank top setup so that the person wearing it can easily access for a pump or for a nursing.
So, when I returned from parental leave, I started working on a briefing note to just have the shirts authorized with the option to later have them be reimbursed or provided by supply. Whatever made the most sense. Seeing the policy be approved and seeing people being able to buy the shirt here, at the CANEX. I was able to go buy them. I don't have to ship them from the States with insane shipping fees and more. And seeing other people talking on social media or in the Defence Women's Advisory Organization meetings about how pleased they are to be able to have just a t-shirt, but it makes their lives easier.
It's exciting to see change happens, especially when you were there at the beginning and you saw something and you worked with others to make it happen. And to see it come to fruition and to see the shirt authorized was really exciting. And now, all I think about is: What are we gonna do next?