ABM Position Statement on Lactation-Related Language and Gender

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) has released a position paper and guideline on infant feeding and lactation-related language and gender. The new guideline is published in the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine. Click here to read the statement now.

The new guideline states: “To be inclusive of all people in our written materials, use of de-sexed or gender-inclusive language (for example, using “lactating person” instead of “mother”) is appropriate in many settings. In some situations, however, use of sex-specific language may be preferable.”

“While we affirm and support gender-diverse lactating persons around the world, using de-sexed or gender-inclusive language in places where being LGBTQI+ is illegal may do more harm than good and prevent important information from reaching families,” according to the ABM.

The position statement also addresses issues such as translation concerns, scientific accuracy, masking research needs, and personal preferences.

Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, states in an accompanying editorial: “Breastfeeding Medicine, itself, in publishing the ABM position paper similarly encourages the use of gender-neutral language as a general guideline. However, it should be clear that the choice of terminology/nomenclature regarding the specifics of infant practices of human milk feeding rests with the author of a submitted manuscript and that no specific language terminology will be imposed by the journal. No less so, it will be expected that the citing of data, recommendations, or policies from other organizations or from the accepted world literature will utilize the original author’s or organization’s choice of language.”

About the Journal

Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, is an authoritative, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published 10 times per year in print and online. The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. Tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Breastfeeding Medicine website.

About the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) is a worldwide organization of medical doctors dedicated to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding. Our mission is to unite members of the various medical specialties with this common purpose. For more than 20 years, ABM has been bringing doctors together to provide evidence-based solutions to the challenges facing breastfeeding across the globe. A vast body of research has demonstrated significant nutritional, physiological, and psychological benefits for both mothers and children that last well beyond infancy. But while breastfeeding is the foundation of a lifetime of health and well-being, clinical practice lags behind scientific evidence. By building on our legacy of research into this field and sharing it with the broader medical community, we can overcome barriers, influence health policies, and change behaviors.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research. A complete list of the firm’s 90 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publisher’s website.

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