What do we class as normal…..? By Beccy Hooper
When you start looking into the world of breastfeeding it’s not always as straight forward as we think. Nikki came across an article about transgender breastfeeding, or chest feeding as some like to call it. Having read the article I then started researching more information. It seems that really it’s only showing up in America and Canada – but this doesn’t mean that we won’t come across a parent that needs support in England.
So the information I found about chest feeding is that a transgender man or women is capable of physically producing milk with the right help. This includes people that have had chest surgery or never given birth, it is quite possible that many transgender people won’t want to experience feeding…they may have gone through a massive mental battle to have got where they are today, but for those that do want to experience every aspect of parenting there are ways to get there.
Chest feeding can occur due to taking hormones to start producing milk, or expressed milk can be used to supplement-feed a baby, rather than producing milk themselves.
This is supplement-feeding…
Both transgender men and women take hormones to suppress their natural physical being. To be able start the process to produce milk these hormones would need to stop. Trans women would normally take anti-androgen which suppresses the female hormones, so these are stopped and oestrogen is prescribed. Trans men take testosterone which stops the menstruation and ovulation, and brings out the male characteristics so again this is stopped and it may be that they need to start female hormones to help.
A particular story that comes up while researching this is about a transgender women and her partner were having a baby and she wanted to share the experience. The lady took several hormones to start the production of milk. This included Domperidone, estradiol and progesterone. After just one week she was able to pump droplets of milk and after three weeks was pumping 8oz. Once the baby was born she breastfed exclusively for 6 weeks.
These drugs are also given to women that are adopting babies so that they are able to breastfeed, this helps so much with the bonding of a parent and child.
Obviously this might not happen in all countries as not all doctors will offer these hormones, but it might be that using the breast pump helps bring on the milk.
I guess this might not be liked by all but what we have to remember the most important thing for our children is to feel loved and comforted and how amazing that we as parents, no matter how we stared in this world, can have the opportunity to feed our babies.