Take It From a Mom: It’s Breastfeeding, NOT “Chestfeeding”

Caroline Wharton - 04 Aug 2023
Lori Cascio, SFLA Field Operations Manager

GUEST POST: This week is World Breast Feeding Week, and I need to get this off my chest:  

Moms and only moms know the unique joys and struggles of breastfeeding. For hundreds of generations, mothers — including my own and my grandmother — have kept us alive through breastfeeding. It’s truly something worth celebrating.  

I have spent countless hours holding and nourishing my children through breastfeeding. For their first few months, the most critical time for development, I am my baby’s ONLY source of food. What I eat, what I drink, what pills I take, it all goes through me to them. I consider breastfeeding my superpower. 

It is unique to womanhood (although not all women have the ability to breastfeed), but just like sports and the marketing for period products, it has been invaded by men. 

With men’s “chestfeeding” on the rise, this is probably the strangest World Breast Feeding Week there has ever been. The invasion of men into this space is not only offensive to women, but multiple sources say that it is harmful to children

I breastfed my two older girls for 18 months and am currently breastfeeding my five-month-old. I have become outraged at the attempt of men to breastfeed aka “chestfeed” babies. This recent phenomenon, going viral on Twitter, is normalized in the transgender community and affirmed by our very own CDC.  

Since when do we favor a grown man’s experience with a non-consenting child over the child’s wellbeing? That’s called abuse. In any other situation, it would be rightly labeled as such. Yet here, it is being celebrated as good.  

Many people know there’s a long list of dos and don’ts when it comes to breastfeeding. The most basics are don’t take certain medicines and don’t drink alcohol. Why does this list become irrelevant when men take hormonal pills and dangerous chemicals to induce breastfeeding?  

Just like abortion, we are hurting children through this. Just like with abortion, we are putting ourselves first, not the child.  

In a recent article published by The Nation, Nikiya Natale claimed, “My abortions allowed me to become a parent when the timing was right” so she was “equipped to overcome the barriers to breastfeeding in a way that many new working parents are not.” While I understand the sentiment of wanting the perfect timing, life isn’t perfect ever, a child is a child, and abortion ends a child’s life. She had to sacrifice her children to get the breastfeeding experience she has now. That’s a tragedy. 

Like Nikiya, I am grateful that every insurer needs to provide moms with a free pump and that workplaces are required to provide time to pump. I also know that sometimes situations are less than perfect. That is all the more reason to try! Our voices as women need to be heard most in places where it is challenging. We can’t affect change for future moms unless we are seen and fight for those rights.  

Abortion and now “chestfeeding” throws motherhood and what’s best for our children down the drain.  

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