Jennifer Buckley, a 41-year-old biological male who began transitioning to a woman in 2017, recently did an interview with The Daily Mail Australia about his choice to “breastfeed” his newborn baby.
In 2019, Buckley’s wife, Sandi Honnery-Buckley gave birth to a child that was conceived with Buckley’s sperm that was frozen prior to his transition.
With the encouragement of an endocrinologist, Buckley began taking hormones and drugs to increase the levels of the hormone prolactin which causes breasts to grow and produce milk during pregnancy and after childbirth.
“Being a trans woman I can’t carry, it’s one of the limitations of it all,” Buckley told Daily Mail Australia. “To know I could breastfeed my own child and have that experience, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to know what it was like to be a mum and breastfeed.”
Lately, males who identify as transgender want to experience pregnancy and motherhood in a way that is simply unrealistic. Men do not get pregnant, nor do they menstruate or produce breast milk. However, some transgender males insist that they need to experience motherhood as if they were biological females regardless of the risk to their baby.
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Although the practice of biological males artificially breastfeeding their babies has been labeled by specialists as experimental and unethical, Buckley’s selfish desires to feel validated as a trans woman superseded the opinions of medical professionals and the safety of their child.
Right after Buckley’s baby was born, his wife had to be treated for a haemorrhage and Buckley decided to go ahead and take the opportunity to breastfeed the newborn. When the doctors found out what was going on, they warned Honnery-Buckley that it could put her newborn at risk. However, the mother signed a waiver and Buckley continued trying to feed the newborn artificial breast milk that has not been proven safe for a baby to consume.
Because the doctors at the hospital were looking out for the baby’s health, Buckley complained that she was made to feel like she was not the baby’s biological parent.
“I was very angry,” said Buckley.
However, Buckley was simply being advised on the health of the baby by medical professionals who were treating Buckley as a biological male who was feeding his child something that is not supposed to be fed to a baby and does not provide the nourishment that an infant needs. Thus, the baby is not benefitting at all from this action. Rather, the process meant to nourish a baby has been replaced with a transgender man’s needs to have an exclusively female experience.
Multiple medical professionals have commented on the potential dangers of biological males trying to breastfeed their infant.
Dr. Foteini Kakulas, a specialist in lactation from the University of Western Australia’s Medical School, told The Daily Mail how male-produced breast milk is completely experimental and has not yet been studied.
“While it is possible for male breast tissue to produce something, what exactly that is, how it may or may not resemble breast milk, and whether this is healthy for the individual person or for the baby, are all unknown and never have been studied,” said Kakulas. “In my view, in nature only females lactate in mammals, so trying to do something against nature won’t result in any good.”
“At the end of the day, women make babies and breastfeed,” Kakulas concluded.
Anna Kerr, principal solicitor at Feminist Legal Clinic, also reported the harmful potential of a man trying to breastfeed a baby. Kerr insists that it is dangerous to characterize the milky discharge produced by trans women – known as galactorrhea – as real breast milk.
“I haven’t seen any evidence men can lactate and produce milk in the quantities that can sustain a child’s life and to attempt to do so is experimenting on the child,” said Kerr. “It detracts from the important of maternity and women engaged in nurturing their offspring.”
“It is extraordinarily offensive to women. Producing a few droplets doesn’t equate to breastfeeding,” she added. “Calling it breastfeeding is already misleading. Ultimately the child is not being fed.”