Health officials in the UK are asking people in the medical field to stop using the term "breast milk" and, instead use more inclusive terms such as "chest milk" or "human milk." "Chest feeding" is a term that has been suggested to replace "breastfeeding."
The move was made by officials at the parental units of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. The word substitution is being made to be more "inclusive of trans & non-binary birthing people without excluding the language of women or motherhood," the guidelines state.
The hospital system announced the new language advisory earlier this month.
"Today we are launching the UK's first clinical and language guidelines supporting trans and non-binary birthing people," the hospital system tweeted. "We are proud to care for trans and non-binary people."
Today we are launching the UK’s first clinical and language guidelines supporting trans and non-binary birthing peo… https://t.co/DxwVyM9VQa— Brighton and Sussex Maternity (@Brighton and Sussex Maternity) 1612776467.0
Transgender men who have retained a functioning vagina, ovaries, and uterus are able to get pregnant. However, these men are often subject to a variety of negative, social, emotional, and medical experiences, as pregnancy is regarded as an exclusively feminine or female activity.
This puts them in a very uncomfortable place at a time in their lives when their health is of utmost importance.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, transgender men are an "underserved community" and need improved care. This is seen as a reason why only 78% of transgender men give birth in a hospital setting.
In 2009, 99% of all U.S. births took place in a hospital.
Transgender men are also more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
Transgender man opens up about breastfeeding his sons: https://t.co/Of8kwQBIma https://t.co/s9Hfvo81gU— Women in the World (@Women in the World) 1466526621.0
Illinois mother Jill Aspinwall, an internationally board-certified lactation consultant and founder of After Hours Breastfeeding Support, is also making the substitution.
"I think that we can speak to people in general terms until we get to know that client individually and then when we know what pronouns they would like to use and to be addressed as then we can address them as such," Aspinwall said according to WSPA.
She believes that it's a way to create a more comfortable atmosphere for transgender and nonbinary parents.
"We're transitioning now to use chest milk just to be more inclusive of all populations and that term is probably going to be changed in the near future," said Aspinwall.
She also believes the change in terminology makes these groups more comfortable with the process. Breastfeeding can be a source of great stress for new parents, but it is highly encouraged by doctors. The more comfortable that new parents are with the process, the better the chance they have of being able to feed their babies with the milk they produce.
"There are all different types of families and I think that the most important thing is that every type of family knows that breast milk is not just for any particular baby," she explained.
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