A transgender woman was able to breastfeed her partner's newborn baby for six weeks after receiving lactation therapy at a hospital in New York. While she is not the first trans woman to breastfeed a baby, doctors say this is the first time it's been documented in the medical literature.
According to the journal Transgender Health, the 30-year-old woman told doctors in New York that she wanted to breastfeed, because her partner, who carried the pregnancy, didn't want to. Her partner was five months along at the time. They put her on an experimental drug regimen that included breast pumping, and within a month, she was able to produce drops of milk. Within three months – two weeks before the baby's due date – she was producing eight ounces of milk a day. She was ultimately able to "achieve sufficient breast milk volume to be the sole source of nourishment for her child for six weeks," according to the case report.
The doctors who treated the woman work with the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, a specialized, multidisciplinary unit within Mount Sinai Hospital designed for providing proper care to the growing transgender community. Zil Goldstein, a nurse practitioner, and Dr. Tamar Reisman wrote in their report that this medically documented case shows that it's possible to induce lactation in transgender women who wish to breastfeed their babies.
"We believe that this is the first formal report in the medical literature of induced lactation in a transgender woman," they wrote.
While other trans parents report being able to successfully breastfeed, mention in medical literature could represent a breakthrough in improving transgender women's health – a growing field as more people identify as trans. "Transgender medicine is becoming part of mainstream medicine," Dr. Reisman told the Guardian. "We're getting more evidence-based data, we're getting more standardized care, we're getting more reproductive options." And while there's no right or wrong way to feed a child, having more options is an encouraging development.
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