Milk donors, breast pumps and plenty of patience: Transgender father describes complex system that enables him to breastfeed baby son


Milk donors, breast pumps and plenty of patience: Transgender father describes complex system that enables him to breastfeed baby son

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 2 May 2012

A transgender man breastfeeds his one-year-old son by using a supplemental nursing system.

Trevor MacDonald, an openly gay father from Winnipeg, Canada, has been breastfeeding his son since the day he gave birth to him.

The father looked to the SNS instrument, which is a tool that helps to induce lactation, after struggling to naturally produce more than a few drops of his own breast milk.

Bonding: Trevor MacDonald, a gay transgender father from Canada, has written a blog about how he breastfeeds his one-year-old son

Bonding: Trevor MacDonald, a gay transgender father from Canada, has described how he breastfeeds his one-year-old son (posed by models)

He wrote on his blog Milkjunkies.net, earlier this month: 'I'm transgender and I breastfeed because it is what my baby expects and deserves.'

The SNS is a bottle
attached with a tube that is able to feed milk to a baby once the tube is attached to the nipple.

It enables Mr MacDonald to feed small amounts of milk directly out of his nipple to Jacob, which is an alias he and his partner Ian have given their child, as he takes from the bottle as well.

Genius: The SNS features a bottle attached with a tube that feeds a baby at the breast

Genius: The SNS is a bottle attached with a tube that feeds at the breast

Rather than using the bottle alone,
the baby's sucking action at the nipple is able to bring on a direct
source of breast milk, which works in conjunction with the bottled milk.

The father fills the bottle with breast milk that he orders over the internet.

But
when Jacob was born, he was able to feed him with a good amount of his
own colostrum, which is a type of milk that is produced late in one's
pregnancy.

He wrote: 'I diligently
saved the precious liquid in syringes and stored it in the freezer in
anticipation of Jacob's birth, fully aware that milk production would be
an issue for me due to my chest surgery.'

Mr MacDonald now purchases female
breast milk through a Canadian-founded organisation called Human
Breast Milk 4 Human Babies. The organisation links international milk
donors and parents to one another via Facebook as well as their website.

The father has been able to keep
Jacob, which is an alias he and his partner Ian use for their son, off
formula entirely by using the milk of mothers who ship him their frozen
supplies.

Friends have also donated their milk to the young family.

He also wrote that learning to breastfeed as a transgender male, is far from easy.

'I have so little breast tissue that latching on a baby takes tremendous focus and determination from both parties involved,' he wrote. 'A first time trans breast feeder will need lots of extra hands to help with latching and using the SNS.'

He is now able to respond to Jacob's needs extremely often, even while out in public.

'He crawls into my lap, pulls my usually
open, button-down shirt out of the way, and latches on by himself
whenever he wants'

He wrote: 'I am insensitive to the man in the
restaurant who is staring as I latch on my little guy. If I'm feeling
brave, I look up and smile at him, but mostly I pay attention to
positioning my baby and the SNS. I'm busy.'

He has rarely resorted to the use of a bottle to feed his baby.

He wrote: 'He crawls into my lap, pulls my usually
open, button-down shirt out of the way, and latches on by himself
whenever he wants.'

The father said that while he began feeding Jacob breast milk in order to keep him healthy, Mr MacDonald has developed a strong emotional bond with his son through breastfeeding.

He told Out magazine: 'I have come to believe that breastfeeding, for us at least, is far more than this. Breastfeeding is the easiest way for me to comfort my child when he is upset, tired, hurt, or scared.

'It works well for us and keeps him happy.'