Please do not use the terms ‘mother,’ ‘father’ and ‘breast milk’

Australian National University (ANU) based researchers have suggested getting rid of traditional words such as “mother”, “father” and “breastfeeding.”

According to ANU Gender Institute’s Gender-Inclusive Handbook – ‘Every Voice Project’: “mother” should be replaced by “gestational” or “birthing parent”, “father” by “non-gestational” or “non-birthing parent” and “breastfeeding” by “chest-feeding”. 

Prior to this, UK health officials had also ordered nurses at two hospitals to substitute the term “breast milk” for “human milk”.

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This was part of a first-of-its-kind effort at prenatal units of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust to be more inclusive to trans and non-binary parents.

UNICEF and other organizations recognise the importance of breast milk that helps keep a baby healthy as it supplies the necessary nutrients and protects against allergies, infections, and sickness.

The new initiative are clinical and language guidelines and not university policy.

“This document is not an official ANU policy, process or official prescription to staff and students.”

These suggestions will help support trans and non-binary birthing people. ANU Handbook notes:

“This non-gendered language is particularly important in clinical or abstract academic discussions of childbirth and parenthood, both to recognise the identities of students in the class, and to model inclusive behaviour for students entering clinical practice.”

A nonbinary parent is someone who was assigned female at birth, but their gender is neither male nor female.

On the other hand, transgender men are those who were assigned female at birth based on their biological sex.

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Do you think changing the language around pregnancy and birth can make our society and healthcare more inclusive and safe?

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