Joint Statement on use of term chestfeeding

Joint statement from La Leche League Canada and La Leche League USA

In response to some recent discussions on social media, we wish to clarify the use of the term “chestfeeding” in La Leche League Canada and La Leche League USA communications, materials, and counselling of parents by Leaders.

Chestfeeding is a term used by many transmasculine and non-binary parents to describe how they feed and nurture their children from their bodies. Some prefer the term nursing instead, while others prefer breastfeeding. We use all of these words, and our volunteer Leaders warmly accept whatever term a family chooses for their own experiences.

Including chestfeeding and nursing in our communications is one of the ways La Leche League Canada and La Leche League USA express support for parents of all gender identities and all family structures. It is aligned with La Leche League Canada’s equity policy and La Leche League USA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as to our primary mission to communicate current, evidence-based information about nurturing children with human milk, using the most appropriate health communication strategies.

The science behind the use of the term chestfeeding is not focused on human anatomy; it is the science of health communication, which requires using terms that are familiar and accepted by those being helped. Language is always evolving, in the breastfeeding and lactation world as elsewhere. Many of the terms used 20 or 30 years ago would be unfamiliar to parents today, and La Leche League must continue to adapt and evolve as language in the lactation area does as well.

Meeting those who seek our help and walking alongside them in their parenting journey is at the heart of La Leche League. Whether you breastfeed, chestfeed, or nurse your children or support a partner who does, La Leche League USA and La Leche League Canada will welcome you, and we will strive to ensure that your experience is reflected in what we say and how we say it.

For questions, please contact board@lllc.ca

Resource:

LLLC Transgender/transsexual/genderfluid Tip Sheet

To encourage, promote and provide breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society