In honor of the global celebration of human lactation, also known as World Breastfeeding Week, let’s celebrate some scientific facts about lactation.
Did you know that anyone with mammary tissue can produce human milk with the right support?
What do I mean by support?
In this case, not only do I mean physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and cultural support, but I also mean hormonal support.
In order to participate in lactogenesis, one, two, and three, that is, the “beginning of milk” translated from Latin and Greek, the three stages, we do need hormonal support, and we either get the hormones that we need from our own body systems or through medicine we get from our primary care practitioners or our endocrinologists.
Why is this relevant?
Those Nerdy Girls have gotten some questions about the concept of chestfeeding.
What is chestfeeding?
Chest feeding is another word for feeding a human infant human milk, and chestfeeding can be done by people who are assigned female at birth or by people who are assigned male at birth if they have the hormonal support along with the psychological support of this process that can take weeks to months.
In addition to people assigned male at birth parent, adoptive parents, and others who are not the gestational parent would need the help of hormones and possibly other medications prescribed by their primary care team or their endocrinologist to have the possibility of lactating.
We want to acknowledge the fact that there is a spectrum of those of us who are parenting, and we want to be able to support with science and nurturing the ability to offer the best quality feeding to our infants.
I also want to point out that for those who cannot generate enough human milk to meet an infant’s needs, there are supplemental nursing systems where either banked milk or formula can be fed through a tubing system placed at the nipple.
So there are lots of options for feeding our infants: at our breasts, at our chests, at our bodies, and we want to support everyone to do what they want to do to support their families through science and other types of support.
For more on this topic, see here.