La Leche League official guide to responding to chestfeeding comments

(33 Posts)
MilkSpill Thu 21-Mar-19 01:37:28

A Google document containing LLL USA's 'Guide to responding to chestfeeding comments' for moderating threads on social media has been circulating.

Includes instructions on hiding and deleting comments which don't support LLL's position on chestfeeding, how to tell if a commenter is a religious conservative or a T*RF, and explicit instructions to 'stick to the script'.

Since I first read it access to the Google doc has been restricted. But as they say themselves at the end, the internet is forever, so here it is in full for your enjoyment.


LLL USA Guide to responding to negative chestfeeding comments on facebook
By Beck McCormick
August 2017
(with additions & revisions from other members of the Social Media Team)

It is important to set yourself up for success when posting about chestfeeding. A lot of headaches can be avoided by the following:
- clearly define what chestfeeding is in the main post. Do not simply link to a website or article; actually put a short definition in the text.
- in some instances, adding a bit about how hateful comments won't be tolerated CAN help.

Generally responses to chestfeeding posts can be classified in the following ways:
1) supportive- "This is so amazing! Thanks for being inclusive!"
2) inquisitive- "What's chestfeeding?"
3) disapproving- "I'm all for inclusiveness, but this is too far" or "Ugh, I love LLL, but this PC has gotten ridiculous..."
4) antagonistic- "WTF is chestfeeding??? Breasts feed babies! I never "chestfed" my babies. Shame on you!"

Types of responders:
1) Normal page followers
2) Conservative religious people- "God made women women and men men!" "Isn't LLL founded by Catholic women?" Note: not all religious and not all conservative people are anti-trans. We are sharing from our experience as moderators that there are some conservative religious people who comment in these ways.
3) Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs)- "No, Both genders have breasts. You are sexualizing breastfeeding and being anti-woman. You are fighting BIOLOGY. This is female erasure!"
4) Men who think it's funny or gross- "Can you teach me how to chest feed? lol" "Does it matter if I have hairy nipples?" Hide and/or block these people.

Someone can initially seem inquisitive, but this can also be a ruse to lure you or others into an antagonistic discussion about how chestfeeding is invalid. For more information on this behavior, see:

It can be initially difficult to determine if someone is religious conservative or a TERF.
Religious conservatives will likely bring up God, religion, and the founding or founders of LLL. TERFs use terms like "female erasure", womyn, misogyny, patriarchy, or natural-born women and accuse you of sexism and being anti-woman.
Both TERFs and religious conservatives will talk about biology. Both groups use unnecessary quotation marks around chest or chestfeeding. Both will use capitalization like BREASTfeeding. Both will talk about political correctness.
Generally, all negative comments should be hidden. Hateful comments should be hidden. Repeat commenters, especially ones that go to other threads to argue (after having comments hidden on the OP) should be banned. Before hiding or blocking, screenshot the post for self-protection. Some people will delete all their posts and then complain that LLL USA hid their posts or blocked them for no reason.

People asking for definitions can be provided them. Here is a sample definition:
Chestfeeding is a term used by anyone who does not wish to use the word nursing or breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. We support anyone in reaching their nursing goals and support whatever terminology they wish to use. Some sexual abuse and assault survivors prefer the term and so do some nursing dads.
If they then ask for the definition of a nursing dad you can say:
Nursing dads can mean trans men choosing to nurse their children and fathers helping to nurse with an at-the-breast supplementer.
If they accuse you of getting rid of the term breastfeeding say:
We are glad to have you as a follower! Be sure to take a look at our many breastfeeding posts/photos/links!
If they say "I BREASTfed! I didn't chestfeed" say:
We are so glad you that the term breastfeeding worked for you. Congratulations on your breastfeeding journey/s!
If they speak generally about "breasts make milk not chests!" say:
The terms are available for anyone to use. Some individuals prefer to use the terms nursing or chestfeeding. We would never force a sexual abuse or assault survivor to use a term for themselves that makes them uncomfortable. For some people, referring to it as chestfeeding limits the trauma they feel surrounding their breasts.
If they say "why don't you help real women!" say:
Our aim is to help everyone meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping goals. Thank you for helping to build a community of breastfeeding support!
If they say, “why are these people using MALE HORMONES?” or “These MEN only care about themselves and not the health of the BABIES!” say:
Our aim is to help everyone meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping goals. The hormones used to induce and support lactation are approved for use while nursing. Many adoptive mothers and families who use gestational surrogates use the same hormones to help them establish a milk supply. We hope, like with everything breastfeeding and breastmilk-related, that we continue to see more scientific research on this topic.

In general, DO:
- hide hurtful or mean posts
- do block/ban hate speech and repeat offenders
- kill them with kindness
- stick to the script
- affirm their own experiences
- mirror their own phrasing for their experience (If they call it breastfeeding, congratulate them on breastfeeding.
- answer any question that is easy to answer
- stick to the truth
- ignore questions you don't wish to answer
- stay positive if at all possible
- check to see where your post is being shared and block people who appear to be intent on harming the organization
-remember that we are here to help nursing families, not combat trolls. If someone is obviously not looking for help or education, you should not feel badly about disengaging with them

- try to change their mind
- get into a discussion of biology
- get defensive
- antagonize
- be sarcastic
- get into a back-and-forth argument
- continue a conversation that you are too upset about
- use emojis or emoticons. They are often seen as sarcastic.

Remember, the Internet is forever. Even if you delete a comment, post, or Tweet, anyone who saw it may have a copy of it, such as a screenshot. Screenshots are forever and can be reposted without your control. Do not post anything you think would reflect badly on you as a Leader, your Group in your community, or on LLL in general.

OP’s posts: |
Cloven Thu 21-Mar-19 03:52:30

If they're using the term chestfeeding just for trans men, as that document suggests, then I don't see much harm in it?

I thought the problem was that they use that term for everyone, which is just wrong.

UnderHerEye Thu 21-Mar-19 04:18:04

It’s clear in that document they have zero understanding of women’s concerns.

Furthermore im very uncomfortable with a breastfeeding support group who endorses the use of hormones to establish milk supply for any other person (!) than the birth mother. What kind of parent wants to validate their own identity to the detriment of their baby?
Whatever happened to best for baby?

MilkSpill Thu 21-Mar-19 04:34:02

If they're using the term chestfeeding just for trans men, as that document suggests, then I don't see much harm in it?

LLL have been moving away from breastfeeding as a stand alone term, you will see "breastfeeding/chestfeeding" or "breastfeeding/chestfeeding/human milk feeding". So even when a topic is relevant to breastfeeding, chestfeeding is given space, and using the term breastfeeding on its own is seen as exclusionary language.

OP’s posts: |
Spokk Thu 21-Mar-19 06:16:58

What are breasts for if not feeding? I’ve heard the USA has strange reactions to breastfeeding in public, but this is a bit much. An organisation set up to encourage and support breastfeeding also encourages a fear of the word? hmm

StealthPolarBear Thu 21-Mar-19 06:20:58

Human milk feeding may be to ensure that expressed and donor milk in a cup or bottle is captured.

ILuvBirdsEye Thu 21-Mar-19 06:24:13

There's no centering of the baby here.

I thought the whole point of breastfeeding was that it's best for baby.

Our aim is to help everyone meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping goals. Really? That's the aim??

StealthPolarBear Thu 21-Mar-19 06:26:46

Very good point. Surely the primary aim should be to get breast milk into babies and the secondary aim to encourage and support mothers to breastfeed.

CallMeWoman Thu 21-Mar-19 06:27:05

I'm not surprised that LLL has been targeted, but I am deeply sad about it. A volunteer from LLL helped me feed my babies when no other organisation could.

Knicknackpaddyflak Thu 21-Mar-19 06:59:35

That's been written for them by a TRA.

JellySlice Thu 21-Mar-19 07:17:42

I get what they're saying but think it's not their place to wade in further.

They support any kind of human milk feeding, whether it is direct from mammaries into infant or expressed milk provided in any way. They are helping transmen breastfeed, anyone with body issues breastfeed, supporting anyone, male or female, who wishes to feed using a lactation mimicking device (I can't remember the proper name for the device). All laudable aims.

It's not their place to go any further. A much more sensible statement would have been to affirm the biological and factual reality of the process they support, but to explain that they also accept the use of alternative terminology. They have said to use the language that their client is using. The problem is that, by making the language that includes a tiny minority of their clients the default, they exclude and confuse the vast majority of their clients.

Bizarrely, American English has a neutral euphemism for breastfeeding that does not mention the mammaries at all: nursing. How much more inclusive could that be?!Yet it's not good enough!

hackmum Thu 21-Mar-19 07:23:03

Idiots. I no longer have any patience for this.

Funkaccino Thu 21-Mar-19 07:24:06

What are breasts for if not feeding? I’ve heard the USA has strange reactions to breastfeeding in public,?

Breastfeeding in public is far more common in America
and the bf rates are better. I put it down to the rampant sexualization of breasts in this country. Harder to get your boobs out and feed a baby next to an old man reading page 3. This is only to do with trans activism.

Spokk Thu 21-Mar-19 07:43:05

I stand corrected funkaccino.

Katvonmythicbiowoman Thu 21-Mar-19 08:44:38

With breastfeeding rates in the western world so low, you'd think they'd have more important things to do than pander to a tiny minority group.

I will never get my head round the idea that you can genuinely believe yourself to be male and then put yourself through a thing only females can do...pregnancy. I'm assuming they are just identifying as sea horses at that point.

That list is so written by a TRA. Probably a "chestfeeding dad" with a lot of time on their hands. It's so easy to take over these sort of groups and bend them to your agenda.

ILikeyourHairyHands Thu 21-Mar-19 09:00:18

I can't quite understand how a person can be traumatised by the word breast yet use those same breasts to feed a child as they were intended. I can't see any way in which that would make the slightest bit of sense.

Stevienickssleeves Thu 21-Mar-19 09:05:29

You can tell how UNREASONABLE women are because they type random WORDS in all CAPS.

Blueblueyellow Thu 21-Mar-19 11:40:10

Our Mission
La Leche League USA helps parents, families, and communities to breastfeed, chestfeed, and human milk feed their babies through parent-to-parent support. LLL USA encourages, informs, educates, supports, and promotes the use of human milk and the intimate relationship and development that comes from nursing a child for as long as mutually desired.

Blueblueyellow Thu 21-Mar-19 11:41:05

And yet the UK mission statement doesn't mention chestfeeding and neither does the Irish one. I cant copy it as it is protected.

Furrytoebean Thu 21-Mar-19 11:44:15

‘Do not get into a debate about biology’

I wonder why hmm

bingoitsadingo Thu 21-Mar-19 11:49:06

I just straight up don't get it.

Men have breasts too. Actual, biological, male, men. Men can get breast cancer. It's possible to induce lactation in men (don't want a debate about whether this should happen / whether it's beneficial for the child, but it is possible). So why on earth do we need to call it chestfeeding?

categed Thu 21-Mar-19 12:12:16

Lll uk missions statement talks about breastfeeding and the importance of human milk for babies. I would be sad to see them change here, their site and information stopped me going bananas when my 2 fed non stop.

samsamsamsamsamsam Thu 21-Mar-19 15:18:29

Thats another one to tick off my list.

Moralitym1n1 Thu 21-Mar-19 16:23:43

Was wondering when LLL with their "womanly art of breastfeeding" book with image of a (biological) woman breastfeeding (with her breast) would get hit.

How sad they've rolled over so easily

BickerinBrattle Thu 21-Mar-19 16:57:06

At the risk of sounding cynical: the boards of ALL large charity organisations know at exactly which teat to suck: the one from which cash flows.

If Planned Parenthood can be so bought as to disavow use of the word “woman” in its literature, even to host a Cotton Ceiling workshop, surely LLL is an even easier buy. I’m sure their C-suite executives are handsomely paid, and, really in the world of corporatised charity, that’s what matters most.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in