We’re always on the lookout for health literacy in the news. So earlier this month, we were psyched to see a joint statement on the term “chestfeeding” by La Leche League’s USA and Canada chapters. We got even more excited when we saw that they’re using tried-and-true health communication strategies to back it up.
“Chestfeeding” is a term that many transgender men and gender non-binary parents use to describe feeding their children with their bodies. It’s another word for the action more commonly known as “breastfeeding” or “nursing.”
As La Leche League explains, they’re not replacing the term “breastfeeding” with “chestfeeding.” Rather, they’re encouraging their volunteer leaders to tailor language to match the terms that parents themselves prefer to use. That’s right, they’re using the language their audience uses — and you know how much we ❤ that.
Gendered language can contribute to health disparities by making it harder for transgender and gender non-binary people to seek — and receive — quality care. We’ve previously written about other ways that health communicators can be welcoming and inclusive of transgender and gender non-binary audiences, like:
- Using the singular “they”
- Asking about gender the right way (or better yet, not asking at all!)
- Avoiding overly gendered design elements
We’re glad to see La Leche League recognizing the impact that language can have and taking steps to support transgender parents.
The bottom line: Kudos to La Leche League for putting parents first by adding “chestfeeding” to their vocabulary!
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