Chestfeeding: Navigating Parenthood and Gender Identity

Chestfeeding is a term that refers to feeding a baby with milk produced by the chest, whether through breastfeeding or pumping. 

While breastfeeding is often associated with women, it is important to recognize that individuals who identify as transgender or non-binary may also choose to chestfeed.

There are a variety of ways that individuals who do not identify as women can chestfeed. 

For example, some transgender men may choose to chestfeed after giving birth, while others may choose to pump milk and feed their baby with a bottle. 

Some non-binary individuals may also choose to chestfeed, using whatever method works best for them and their baby.

It is important to support and respect the choices that individuals make regarding their chestfeeding practices. 

This includes using gender-neutral language and providing access to resources and support that are inclusive of all gender identities. 

Healthcare providers should also be trained to provide culturally competent care to trans and non-binary individuals who choose to chestfeed.

Chestfeeding if you’ve had top surgery

Chestfeeding if you’ve had top surgery

If an individual has had top surgery, they may still be able to chestfeed but it will depend on the type of surgery they had and the extent of the tissue and duct removal. 

Some surgeries, such as periareolar or keyhole, leave more breast tissue and ducts intact which can increase the likelihood of being able to produce milk.

However, even if an individual is unable to produce milk, they may still be able to chestfeed using alternative methods such as using a supplemental nursing system or finger feeding. 

Additionally, pumping breast milk may also be an option for some individuals who have had top surgery.

It is important for individuals who have had top surgery and wish to chestfeed to consult with a healthcare provider experienced in working with transgender and non-binary individuals. 

They can assess the individual’s specific situation and provide guidance and support to help them achieve their chestfeeding goals.

Binding while chestfeeding

Binding while chestfeeding

It is not recommended to bind while chestfeeding, as it can cause issues with milk production and potentially lead to clogged ducts, mastitis, or other complications.

Binding compresses the chest, which can interfere with the flow of milk and impede milk production. 

It can also put pressure on the breast tissue and ducts, potentially leading to blockages or infections.

If an individual needs to bind for gender affirmation purposes, they should take breaks to allow the chest to expand and avoid binding for long periods of time. 

They should also monitor their milk supply and seek medical advice if they experience any issues with milk production or breast health.

In general, it is important to prioritize the health and well-being of both the parent and the baby when making decisions about chestfeeding and binding. 

Skin-to-skin contact

Skin-to-skin contact

Skin-to-skin contact is a practice where a parent or caregiver holds their baby with their bare chest against the baby’s bare skin. 

This practice has been shown to have many benefits for both the parent and the baby, regardless of gender identity.

For the baby, skin-to-skin contact can help regulate their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. 

It can also promote bonding, reduce stress, and improve sleep and breastfeeding outcomes. 

For the parent, skin-to-skin contact can help reduce stress, promote bonding, and increase milk production.

Skin-to-skin contact can be done immediately after birth and continued as often as possible throughout infancy. 

It can be done while chestfeeding or bottle-feeding, and can also be done by a non-lactating parent or caregiver.

It is important to ensure that both the parent and the baby are comfortable and safe during skin-to-skin contact. 

This may involve using pillows or other supports to provide proper positioning, and ensuring that the room is warm and free from distractions. 


Chestfeeding is a term that refers to feeding a baby with milk produced by the chest, regardless of the gender identity of the parent or caregiver. 

Transgender and non-binary individuals may choose to chestfeed, and may need specialized support and resources to do so.

Individuals who have had top surgery may still be able to chestfeed, but the extent of tissue and duct removal may impact their ability to produce milk. 

Binding while chestfeeding is not recommended, as it can interfere with milk production and breast health.

Skin-to-skin contact is a practice that has many benefits for both the parent and the baby, and can be done regardless of gender identity. 

It can help regulate the baby’s body temperature, heart rate, and breathing, and promote bonding and breastfeeding outcomes.

Indrani Guha

Indrani Guha is an accomplished freelance writer who specializes in various areas of wellness, including general wellness, sexual health, relationships, and lifestyle trends. Her unwavering commitment to women's health makes her a trusted source of information and support for women worldwide.

Add comment

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.