Lactation Support for LGBTQIA+ Families

J Hum Lact. 2019 May;35(2):244-247. doi: 10.1177/0890334419831269.


Background: Despite a documented underutilization of healthcare by the LGBTQIA+ community due to fear of mistreatment, reproduction incurs a likely dependence on the medical system. Within breastfeeding medicine, the language used for breastfeeding or chestfeeding has broadened and there is an emphasis on inclusion of all types of gender identities; however, that care can be heavily biased toward the inclusion of all breasts/chests in infant feeding.

Research aim: The purpose of this case study was to examine the impact of queer identity on the gestational and postpartum experience of a bisexual woman married to, and parenting with, a transgender man. It draws into perspective the need to practice in accordance with patients' self-described gender and parenting roles.

Results: The parenting roles of this couple were the same as any married, straight, cisgender couple, yet the family identified as queer. The mother in this case experienced low milk production, but the father had had chest reconstructive surgery and started hormones so that they could enter parenthood as the family they had envisioned for themselves. At no point was there any consideration that the father induce milk production for his baby or that chest reconstructive surgery had been mistimed. Their pregnancy support team was supportive of their gender identities and parenting roles, yet they still found themselves orienting and educating the healthcare team throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.

Conclusions: Caring for the LGBTQIA+ community requires us to recognize our assumptions and act in affirming ways for all parents, regardless of their family constellation.

Keywords: LGBTQIA+; breastfeeding; breastfeeding experience.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / psychology*
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Postnatal Care / methods
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*