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Chestfeeding group at work

(65 Posts)
Sengah Sun 20-May-18 14:26:27

I've just been invited to join a chest/breastfeeding support group at work. I find myself keen to join on the one hand, in order to be supportive of other mums as our workplace doesn't make it easy. But on the other hand use of the term chestfeeding is bizarre and undermines women-who-try-&-breastfeed's struggles and invisibility and bigotry. We are not yet at a stage of being out and proud and breastfeeding, as a society, and now the act/women sees to be being undermined in a different way, through language. I don't even really follow what chest feeding is or who 'chestfeeds'!

Please help me navigate this? Should I say something of my concerns in the office? Am I over reacting? I do not want people to feel hurt or excluded but breastfeeding is so hard I do think we should be making it about women until they are not ostracised for it, have the support they need etc

CuriousaboutSamphire Sun 20-May-18 14:31:20

Could you act confused and ask, out loud, with lots of witnesses, "What on Earth is chestfeeding? I've never heard of that. Is it a new thing?

And then let the daft woman who thinks men should be included explain herself.

You never know, it may turn out that nobody knows and, a bit like Stitch and Bitch groups, someone just thought that's what such groups are always called these days!

ChickenMe Sun 20-May-18 15:45:24

Yes I agree, best to come back with a question.
I assumed chest feeding was invented to "not offend" trans men who breastfeed?
And I would say - well I'm "offended" then. We haven't "cracked" breastfeeding yet so we aren't in a place where it can start to be erased or forced to share space with wacko ideas

LoislovesStewie Sun 20-May-18 15:55:01

Do they know that the Oxford English dictionary gives the definition of breast to include the same part of the male anatomy? This is so silly, why can't we just say breastfeeding like most people would ? Even those who are shy about saying the word breast can't be mealy mouthed about breastfeeding.

Terfulike Sun 20-May-18 15:56:33

this is the absolute limit.
i'm sure you'll be able to discern whether there are any transmen there (best to check by having a " pronoun-aroun' " if not you could say: well, if we were all assigned female at birth and continue to identify as female now, perhaps just this once we could use terms such as mother and breast and how was your 6-week check, and have you tried biting on a stick during latch on and..

Picassospaintbrush Sun 20-May-18 15:58:15

I think the people that force words like chestfeeding into situations like this are overreacting. I think their behaviour is naive and inexperienced.

Breastfeeding is the last place you want gender ideology rammed down your throat.

Having had an extraordinarily difficult time of it and being reliant on lovely older and experienced midwives literally handling my breasts and baby into the right position whilst in agony, to think that at the same time someone would be bashing into my PND brain that I had to worry about hurting someone's gender identity by saying breast, it would be the last thing I cope with. It would make me think I was even more trivial and useless.

Just tell them you think it's inappropriate and unnecessary.

ExpectedItemInTheBraggingArea Sun 20-May-18 16:05:01

I thought that the point at which the most support is needed is in the early days/weeks of establishing feeding. Not when you've returned to work. Or am I missing the point of a work place support group?
I don't understand the point of the term chest feeding. Both sexes have breast tissue. Both can develop breast cancer for example. (I can't imagine it being called chest cancer).

SardineReturns Sun 20-May-18 16:16:16

Just thinking about it

How can the word for this activity be more triggering / upsetting for a trans man than the act itself?

That doesn't make sense, does it? I mean I know it's about emotion but not logic, but breastfeeding is very female. I mean, we're mammals, and part of the definition is that teh females give birth to live young and then feed them milk. Or is that disputed these days? Anyway, the point is that if a person is upset by anything that reminds them of being female, surely the act itself would be way worse than what it's named. I mean call it what you like, it's still a fact that in mammals it's the females that nurture their newborns this way.

(Not all women BF etc yes that's fine in case anyone was going to head down that route. The fact that not all women BF does not mean we are not mammals etc)

reallyanotherone Sun 20-May-18 16:22:43

Like pp says i don’t even get why we need chestfeeding.

Men have breasts. They have breast tissue, they get breast cancer. They don’t get “chest” cancer, that would be utterly meaningless as a descriptive term.

So if there are men/transwomen there, challenge them on why they want to call it chestfeeding when they would, in the style of monty python, have breasts, and therefore have the right to breastfeed, even though they can’t, not being able to give birth and lactate.

If biological men want to breastfeed, they can just theroetically feed from their breasts.

In fact you could possibly argue that by calling it chestfeeding they are denying their femininity and their own breasts. See that confuse them.

ijustwannadance Sun 20-May-18 16:30:48

Yes it's fucking ridiculous.
If they are so fragile that the word breast was triggering and reminding them they are biologically women, why the hell would they have had a baby and be breastfeeding anyway?!

YesILikeItToo Sun 20-May-18 16:32:16

As I understand it, chestfeeding just is breastfeeding. It’s not the activity that has changed, it’s the word. So the answer to your questions are that chestfeeding is breastfeeding and that it is done, practically exclusively, by women and transmen. Anyone involved in any sort of artificially induced lactation activity might also call that chestfeeding, but they would probably have bigger problems than a peer support group could help with.

Freespeecher Sun 20-May-18 16:52:15

I imagine the advantage of 'chestfeeding' is that it allows the child to floss afterwards.

aaarrrggghhhh Sun 20-May-18 17:01:46

tbh I just find that such an offensive denial of what biological women do.

How on earth can breasts have a gender identify? (and why on earth should they)

LassWiADelicateAir Sun 20-May-18 17:10:09

In fact you could possibly argue that by calling it chestfeeding they are denying their femininity and their own breasts. See that confuse them

Isn't this aimed at the sensibilities of trans men , not trans women?

ILoveDolly Sun 20-May-18 17:12:24

I find the whole concept of triggering faintly ridiculous, should we be supporting such fragility and anxiety? My male hetero father had breast cancer and he didn't mind calling it what it was, although as a cismale apparently the term breast should have offensively implied that he was being misgendered as a woman and everything he went to had pink on and he was usually the only man at things like support groups. He found it all just a little sad. I suppose the modern transgender lobby would say it was because he had male privilege and didn't feel anxiety about it because of that, but I wonder WHO finds the term breastfeeding offensive? If you are a transman but have a baby and feed it with breast tissue then you are a man breastfeeding. Like you might be a man, trans or cis, at the breast cancer clinic, with your breast tissue being the issue. The chest is a different area of the body, really.

Alicatz66 Sun 20-May-18 17:27:24

Oh lord .. you lot sound like a fun group !!! .. just stay at home and breastfeed
( yes .. I have children )

Penfold007 Sun 20-May-18 17:49:08

My DSF died a couple of weeks ago. The secondary cause of death was breast cancer. Breast not chest because male bodies do, indeed, have breast tissue. Like ILoveDolly's DF all DSF's medication, advice leaflets etc etc came with a little pink bows on them.
Every time I went to his appointments with him the staff assumed I was the one with breast cancer, not him. He just had to poke up with it and he did with great grace.

Picassospaintbrush Sun 20-May-18 17:50:58

Another thread where the OP disappears. It's like offense farming.

InfiniteSheldon Sun 20-May-18 17:54:44

So he ok to offend women but God forbid we offend men (let's remember if transwomen are Afghanistan then transient are actual men). And men can breastfeed just the same as women because we all have breast tissue. I'd refuse to attend anything called breastfeeding and tell them why. It's exclusionary and offensive.

Sengah Sun 20-May-18 18:01:51

No I haven't disappeared just busy sorry. Thanks for the responses everyone. I guess I am not alone in my instinctive reaction of confusion/ irritation. I will give some more thought how to respond. @expectediteminthebraggingarea the support is really because you encounter a different set of issues returning to work than in the early days of e.g, latching. Pumping, feeling confident to leave your desk for breaks, scheduling meetings around need to pump, being pressured to travel for work etc.

Whwhywhy Sun 20-May-18 18:07:40

Sheldon? You’ve lost me.

Picassospaintbrush Sun 20-May-18 18:10:23

Sorry Sengah, I'm paranoid.

LassWiADelicateAir Sun 20-May-18 18:11:36

So he ok to offend women but God forbid we offend men

Fairly certain "chest feeding" is used to avoid offending trans men, not biological men.

reallyanotherone Sun 20-May-18 18:30:20

Isn't this aimed at the sensibilities of trans men , not trans women?

Fuck knows. I thought it was exclusionary to transwomen to refer to breastfeeding and remind them that they can’t if they don’t have female breasts?

IdentifiesAsMiddleAged Sun 20-May-18 18:32:10

Do you think most people have heard of chestfeeding? I don't think so, myself

So I agree with going in and very disingenuously asking them to explain chest- feeding. Big smiles, very interested. Get them to hoist themselves by their own petards, as it were

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