Controversy has erupted online this month after a hospitals began issuing guidance to midwives to concentrate less on the term breastfeeding in order to be more supportive of transgender and nonbinary parents. Midwives are being instructed to use terms like “chestfeeding” and “chest milk.”
According to a report from the UK Times, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is the first in the country to formally implement a gender inclusive language policy for its maternity services department, which will now be known as “perinatal services”.
Staff have been instructed that “breastmilk” should be replaced with the phrases “human milk”, “breast/chestmilk” or “milk from the feeding mother or parent.”
Other changes include replacing the use of “woman” with “woman or person” and “father” with “parent”, “co-parent” or “second biological parent”, depending on the circumstances.
“BSUH always aims to meet the needs of our local populations and provide the best possible, individually tailored care for every person. By adding to the language we use we will support more inclusive care and ensure that people who identify in a different way feel the service includes and represents them,” reads a statement on the hospital’s website.
“Adding to the language we use is something people who use our services have been asking for, for some time. Our aim will always be to treat everyone who uses our services as an individual, providing care that is personal to them, that meets their needs and uses language they are comfortable with,” said BSUH Chief Nurse, Carolyn Morrice.
This is not a trend reserved solely for the UK either as several universities in the United States are on the same page.