In November Rainbow Families and the Australian Breastfeeding Association met to discuss piloting a human milk feeding and lactation education program for LGBTQIA+ families. This exciting project is funded generously from the Vashudara Foundation.
It is widely acknowledged globally (including in Australia) that human milk feeding is the “natural and ideal way of feeding the infant and a unique biological and emotional basis for child development” UNICEF, Geneva, 1979. It is also known globally that the World Health Organisation recommends all children are fed human milk exclusively for the first 6 months of life and beyond.
Human milk feeding and lactation can look differently to different families, yet a lot of information and support out there is geared towards cis heteronormative families. The reality is every family is unique and diverse even within our Rainbow community. Having great information and support to reflect that is key. Within NSW, there is also currently no classes for LGBTIQA+ parents to learn how to feed their child/children in a safe and inclusive environment where they can ask specific questions and share their personal stories related to their unique circumstances.
The project aims to including information on nursing, co nursing/co feeding, use of supplemental nursing systems and other ways to feed a baby human milk. The project aims to be inclusive of all LGBTQIA+ families including those who identify as trans and gender diverse or non binary. The content will be developed by the Australian Breastfeeding Association in partnership with Rainbow Families to ensure the information is supportive and inclusive. The project will involve education classes and the development of a resource specific to LGBTQIA+ families who are looking at human milk feeding and lactation.
We are so excited about this opportunity and having great, evidence based information and support that is specific to our LGBTQIA+ community.