The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has issued guidelines that suggest employing such terms as “chestfeeding,” “human milk feeding,” and “parent’s milk” to promote what it calls “gender-inclusive language.”
The ABM position statement on “infant feeding and lactation-related language and gender,” co-authored by eight doctors and the academy, said that “the use of de-sexed or gender-inclusive language is appropriate in many settings.”
“ABM recognizes that not all people who give birth and lactate identify as female, and that some of these individuals identify as neither female nor male,” said the four-page document posted July 29.
Suggested “gender-inclusive terms” for “breastfeeding” include “chestfeeding, lactating, expressing, pumping, human milk feeding.” Alternatives for “breast milk” include “milk, human milk, mother’s own milk, parent’s milk, father’s milk.”
“Language has power,” said Dr. Laura Kair, one of the authors and medical director of well newborn care at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, in a statement.
“The language that we use should be as inclusive as possible when discussing infant feeding,” she said. “When working with patients it is best to ask them their affirmed terminology. When communicating medical research, language should accurately reflect the population studied so as not to mask research needs.”