By Beck McCormick
(with additions & revisions from other members of the Social Media Team)
It is important to set yourself up for success when posting about chestfeeding. A lot of headaches can be avoided by the following:
– clearly define what chestfeeding is in the main post. Do not simply link to a website or article; actually put a short definition in the text.
– in some instances, adding a bit about how hateful comments won’t be tolerated CAN help.
Generally responses to chestfeeding posts can be classified in the following ways:
1) supportive- “This is so amazing! Thanks for being inclusive!”
2) inquisitive- “What’s chestfeeding?”
3) disapproving- “I’m all for inclusiveness, but this is too far” or “Ugh, I love LLL, but this PC has gotten ridiculous…”
4) antagonistic- “WTF is chestfeeding??? Breasts feed babies! I never “chestfed” my babies. Shame on you!”
Types of responders:
1) Normal page followers
2) Conservative religious people- “God made women women and men men!” “Isn’t LLL founded by Catholic women?” Note: not all religious and not all conservative people are anti-trans. We are sharing from our experience as moderators that there are some conservative religious people who comment in these ways.
3) Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs)- “No, Both genders have breasts. You are sexualizing breastfeeding and being anti-woman. You are fighting BIOLOGY. This is female erasure!”
4) Men who think it’s funny or gross- “Can you teach me how to chest feed? lol” “Does it matter if I have hairy nipples?” Hide and/or block these people.
Someone can initially seem inquisitive, but this can also be a ruse to lure you or others into an antagonistic discussion about how chestfeeding is invalid. For more information on this behavior, see:
It can be initially difficult to determine if someone is religious conservative or a TERF.
Religious conservatives will likely bring up God, religion, and the founding or founders of LLL. TERFs use terms like “female erasure”, womyn, misogyny, patriarchy, or natural-born women and accuse you of sexism and being anti-woman.
Both TERFs and religious conservatives will talk about biology. Both groups use unnecessary quotation marks around chest or chestfeeding. Both will use capitalization like BREASTfeeding. Both will talk about political correctness.
Generally, all negative comments should be hidden. Hateful comments should be hidden. Repeat commenters, especially ones that go to other threads to argue (after having comments hidden on the OP) should be banned. Before hiding or blocking, screenshot the post for self-protection. Some people will delete all their posts and then complain that LLL USA hid their posts or blocked them for no reason.
People asking for definitions can be provided them. Here is a sample definition:
Chestfeeding is a term used by anyone who does not wish to use the word nursing or breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. We support anyone in reaching their nursing goals and support whatever terminology they wish to use. Some sexual abuse and assault survivors prefer the term and so do some nursing dads.
If they then ask for the definition of a nursing dad you can say:
Nursing dads can mean trans men choosing to nurse their children and fathers helping to nurse with an at-the-breast supplementer.
If they accuse you of getting rid of the term breastfeeding say:
We are glad to have you as a follower! Be sure to take a look at our many breastfeeding posts/photos/links!
If they say “I BREASTfed! I didn’t chestfeed” say:
We are so glad you that the term breastfeeding worked for you. Congratulations on your breastfeeding journey/s!
If they speak generally about “breasts make milk not chests!” say:
The terms are available for anyone to use. Some individuals prefer to use the terms nursing or chestfeeding. We would never force a sexual abuse or assault survivor to use a term for themselves that makes them uncomfortable. For some people, referring to it as chestfeeding limits the trauma they feel surrounding their breasts.
If they say “why don’t you help real women!” say:
Our aim is to help everyone meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping goals. Thank you for helping to build a community of breastfeeding support!
If they say, “why are these people using MALE HORMONES?” or “These MEN only care about themselves and not the health of the BABIES!” say:
Our aim is to help everyone meet their breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or pumping goals. The hormones used to induce and support lactation are approved for use while nursing. Many adoptive mothers and families who use gestational surrogates use the same hormones to help them establish a milk supply. We hope, like with everything breastfeeding and breastmilk-related, that we continue to see more scientific research on this topic.
In general, DO:
– hide hurtful or mean posts
– do block/ban hate speech and repeat offenders
– kill them with kindness
– stick to the script
– affirm their own experiences
– mirror their own phrasing for their experience (If they call it breastfeeding, congratulate them on breastfeeding.
– answer any question that is easy to answer
– stick to the truth
– ignore questions you don’t wish to answer
– stay positive if at all possible
– check to see where your post is being shared and block people who appear to be intent on harming the organization
– remember that we are here to help nursing families, not combat trolls. If someone is obviously not looking for help or education, you should not feel badly about disengaging with them
– try to change their mind
– get into a discussion of biology
– get defensive
– be sarcastic
– get into a back-and-forth argument
– continue a conversation that you are too upset about
– use emojis or emoticons. They are often seen as sarcastic.
Remember, the Internet is forever. Even if you delete a comment, post, or Tweet, anyone who saw it may have a copy of it, such as a screenshot. Screenshots are forever and can be reposted without your control. Do not post anything you think would reflect badly on you as a Leader, your Group in your community, or on LLL in general.