Use of language in “When online support groups prevail: the information experience of chest/breastfeeders who only express their milk” for ISIC 2020

A note on the use of language.

It is vitally important to use inclusive and gender-neutral language, especially in the arena of parenting and infant feeding: an increasing number of parents do not identify within the gender binary of male/female, yet carry, birth, and feed babies. To this end, ‘parent’ is used rather than mother or father, unless the latter are specifically used in the literature or by study participants; the singular ‘they’ is used, again with the same caveat. However, while I recognize that ‘breast/chest’ is more inclusive than simply ‘breast,’ for the sake of brevity, I will use ‘breast’ alone. ‘Breastfeeding’ is used to mean feeding human milk, regardless of the modality. A ‘breastfeeder’ is a lactating person. A ‘breastfed child’ is a child who receives their parents’ own milk; a ‘human milk-fed child’ only receives donor human milk. ‘Nursing’ or ‘direct nursing’ is used to denote feeding directly at the breast; ‘latch’ refers to the physical connection between a child’s mouth and a breastfeeder’s breast. Milk ‘expression’means removal of milk from the breasts; however, given that most breastfeeders today use a pump to remove their milk, ‘pumping’ is more commonly used. Likewise, the commonly used term for breastfeeders who express all of their milk is ‘exclusive pumper,’ even if they hand express. ‘Weaning off the pump’ or just ‘weaning’ means stopping exclusively pumping. For most exclusive pumpers, this means ceasing to lactate, but some may wean off the pump because they have latched their child(ren). Consistent with the convention in scientific journals in the field of breastfeeding and lactation, breast milk is referred to as ‘human milk’ as it more properly indicates the species of the source, rather than the body part from which it comes (cf. ‘cow milk’ vs. ‘udder milk’).

© August 2020