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Enlisting in the Military Postpartum? Here’s What You Need to Know

If a new mother is ready to enlist in the military postpartum, she must prepare for several things before joining, participating in training, and meeting the requirements for possible deployment.

Joining the military is a life-changing decision, especially if it’s recently after you gave birth. There are some important things to consider before enlisting, and we’re sharing what you should know below.

When can I join the military after birth?

A mother can enlist in the army as early as four to twelve months after birth. Her healthcare provider would first have to prove that she is in good physical health and approve her status as good standing.

Depending on the mission, if the mother feels she cannot participate, she can request deferment once the pediatrician or healthcare provider approves the submission for later deployment. 

Requirements for enlisting during postpartum

  • Ensure you’re in top physical shape
  • Confirm childcare for the baby
  • Take time to bond with your baby
  • Consider financial and housing decisions
  • Lean on your support system

Before joining, the mother must pass a physical test and meet all military standards, such as minimum required age, optimum health, and education.

Soldier mothers now have 365 days instead of the previous 180 days to meet their height and weight standards after the birth of their child. 

1. Ensure you’re in top physical shape

There are many things a mother needs to consider before enlisting. The first is to ensure she is in top physical shape to join.

After birth, it may be challenging (and completely normal) to get back into shape, so knowing what to expect by following the current military standards for postpartum mothers.

2. Confirm childcare for the baby

Secondly, the parent must ensure that either the father, spouse, partner or a designated guardian will be with the child while the mother is away. If the mother does not have proper childcare arranged and set before deployment, she cannot join. 

Knowing who will physically care for the child is essential to the mother—having the father present, a partner, or a designated caregiver significantly supports the mother while on deployment.

The person appointed will be responsible for feedings, doctor visits, and ensuring the baby is healthy before deployment. These are all things to consider before leaving for a duration of time for military enlistment.  

3. Take time to bond with your baby

Taking maternity leave and bonding with your newborn before taking on the responsibilities of being in the military would be ideal. Another critical factor is ensuring you are ready to leave your newborn behind while enlisting.

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Figuring out when and how you will be able to continue to bond with the baby is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with your child. 

4. Consider financial and housing decisions

The military offers financial assistance for those who enlist and are in need. Finding the necessary information, such as where you will be located and determining if moving is something you and your family are willing to consider, are essential to understanding enlistment.

Finding out where you will be deployed and acquiring adequate housing is also crucial. Factors such as whether you will be moving states or even out of the country are important questions to ask the recruiter to help further you converse with your family.  

5. Lean on your support system

Finally, it is crucial to consider your wishes along with your family. Making sure the baby will be safe and secure with the other parent or guardian is important.

Having a support system and being able to depend on others would be ideal when making such a big decision as enlisting in the military. Making sure that the plan works for all is vital in the process of joining the military postpartum. 

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