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UK health officials ordered nurses at two hospitals to substitute the term “breast milk” for “human milk” — part of a first-of-its-kind effort there to be more inclusive to trans and non-binary parents.
The terms “breastfeeding” and “breast milk” should be swapped for more “gender-inclusive” phrases in prenatal units of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, the health care center said in a 19-page document cited by Sky News Wednesday.
Instead, health professionals were advised to use the phrases “breast/chest milk,” “milk from the feeding mother or parent” and “human milk” to be more “inclusive of trans & non-binary birthing people without excluding the language of women or motherhood,” the guidelines state.
The hospital system announced the new language advisory Monday.
“Today we are launching the UK’s first clinical and language guidelines supporting trans and non-binary birthing people,” the hospital system tweeted. “We are proud to care for trans and non-binary people.”
Nurses were also urged to avoid the terms “mothers” and “women” on their own — unless called for in specific cases. They were instead asked to use gender-neutral terms such as “parents” and “people,” according to the hospital system.
“As midwives and birth workers, we focus on improving access and health outcomes for marginalized and disadvantaged groups,” the hospital system said in a statement. “We are consciously using the words ‘women’ and ‘people’ together to make it clear that we are committed to working on addressing health inequalities for all those who use our services.”
But the changes “do not apply when discussing or caring for individuals in a one-on-one capacity where language and documentation should reflect the gender identity of the individual,” the hospital system said.
On its website, the hospital system adds, “We acknowledge the additional challenges that gender identity can have on pregnancy, birth and infant feeding and recognize the importance of providing inclusive, respectful care to pregnant people and their families.”
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