Breast milk - Breastfeeding
Author: TLN

Breastfeeding FAQ for trans and non-binary parents

We’re answering your most commonly asked questions about breastfeeding for trans and non-binary parents

We believe everyone deserves support with their breastfeeding and chestfeeding goals. To dispel common myths and misconceptions, we’ve answered your most pressing questions about the trans and non-binary breastfeeding experience and shared some of our favorite resources.  

Can I breastfeed if I’ve never given birth? 

Yes! You do not need to have given birth to be able to breastfeed. Many parents who adopt or are in a same-sex relationship where they are a non-gestational parent can successfully induce lactation. Because parents who haven’t given birth do not have pregnancy hormones to stimulate their milk production, they need to take additional steps if they want to breastfeed. Protocols for inducing lactation may include nursing supplementation devices, medication, breast pumps, and/or hormone treatments. *It is very important that you work closely with your physician and an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) if you would like to induce lactation.  

Can I breastfeed if I was assigned male at birth? 

It is possible for people who were assigned male at birth to breastfeed/chestfeed. The hormones responsible for milk production (prolactin) and milk ejection (oxytocin) are released from the pituitary gland at the base of both the male and female brain. Although some trans women and non-binary parents are able to establish milk supplies, the amount of milk produced can vary.  

How do I induce lactation?

Protocols for inducing lactation vary greatly. We recommend that you work closely with your physician and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who has experience with induced lactation protocols to determine the plan that’s best for your physical and mental health.  

Why would a non-gestational parent choose to breastfeed?

Breastmilk provides a host of health benefits for both parent and child, while also providing a bonding experience.  Some parents decide to breastfeed alongside their partner in order to share feeding responsibilities. 

Will I produce enough milk through induced lactation?

Milk supplies vary from person to person. Generally speaking, we would expect milk supply to be impacted by both the surgical removal of breast tissue, and testosterone. However, some trans women who induce lactation provide nearly a full supply to their babies. For others, using a supplemental nursing device, or integrating non-nutritive breastfeeding/chestfeeding, helps them meet their goals. As always work closely with your child’s pediatrician and your IBCLC to ensure that your baby is getting enough milk. 

Can I share breastfeeding responsibilities with my partner? 

Absolutely! This is called co-nursing. If you think co-nursing might be right for your family, you should consult with your physician and an IBCLC. You can request an insurance-covered lactation consultation through The Lactation Network. 

Where can I find an inclusive, genderqueer breastfeeding community? 

We’re glad you asked — every parent needs a village. We recommend the Facebook group, Birthing and Breast or Chestfeeding Trans People and Allies, as well as these resources. 

It’s deeply unsettling that safe spaces for non-binary and trans chestfeeding people can be difficult to come by — although that is, unfortunately, an experience some parents have. If you find that any breastfeeding community feels exclusionary or unsafe for your family, you may want to consider creating the community you need. Reach out to your friends, medical providers, doulas, midwives, or IBCLCs and ask if they know of non-binary and/or trans parents who might want to connect. Building the support network you need can be a major help on your parenting and breastfeeding or chestfeeding journey. 

Get the care you deserve

We’re here for you, every step of the way. We work with your insurance to provide in-home, in-office, or telehealth visits with an IBCLC.