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Chest Feeding vs. Breast Feeding

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Across various social media platforms, conversations about gender-neutral terms have been brought to the attention of users. Gender-neutralism is the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender. Professional terms such as policeman are now becoming police person/officer or mailman now being a mail carrier.

Gender-neutral terms for pregnancy and things related to pregnancy have recently become a more talked about issue. A labor and delivery nurse practitioner Feby Wagner recently had a lesson on gender-neutral inclusivity from one of her fellow nurses. Wagner had a run-in with one of her colleagues about the term “chest feeding” and what it entails.

“I was never really aware of the term ‘chest feeding’, nor have I ever read that in any of my thousands of textbooks, so I was ignorant to the term. To my shock, I received a lot of backlash about misgendering a body part,” said Wagner. The term chest feeding is feeding your baby milk from your chest. It’s often used as a way for nonbinary parents to describe how they feed and nurture their babies after childbirth. Some people also similarly use the word “body feeding”.

Wagner was consulting with a transgender patient about the tips and protocols needed to improve his breastfeeds, and the patient began to get teary eyed, and abruptly left the room. This left Wagner confused and worried about the patient.

“He just walked out, and I was afraid that he was struggling with his feedings and got overwhelmed because of it,” said Wagner. Later Wagner spoke to one of her fellow nurses following the event, and she told her what happened. Her colleagues let her know how offensive it was to use the term “breast feeding” while speaking to a trans man.

“I was afraid that because I offended a patient so greatly that my job would be in jeopardy, and I could even risk my license, especially with cancel culture” – Labor and Delivery Nurse Practitioner Feby Wagner.

Wagner’s colleague gave her different resources to look at to understand the terms so that she would have a better understanding of her patients.

The term is supposed to help those that are non-binary and or transgender feel more comfortable when speaking with doctors and nurses about their pregnancies.

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Chest Feeding vs. Breast Feeding