Transgender Father and Breastfeeding Champion
There once was a little boy who celebrated his first birthday not too long ago. The vivid memory of Trevor, a novice father, struggling to latch the infant on after an exhausting labour was still fresh. An inexperienced Trevor needed the help of his midwife, who, with her expert touch, guided the baby to his nipple. This was just the beginning of their shared adventure.
Trevor is a transgender man. Initially assigned female at birth, he transitioned to male with the help of testosterone therapy and surgery that minimized his breast tissue. The decision to embark on the journey of parenthood led him and his partner to consult medical professionals, subsequently leading Trevor to pause his hormone treatment and prepare for pregnancy.
Trevor’s Quest: An Uncommon Approach to Feeding
Trevor, like all new parents, had a lot of learning to do. The stacks of baby books on his shelf soon convinced him that breastfeeding was a valuable experience he wanted to pursue. Regardless of the small amount of milk he could produce, he knew the benefits would be significant for his child. Trevor chose to use a supplemental nursing system (SNS), a setup involving a tube connected to a bottle of supplement. The baby latches onto both the tube and Trevor’s nipple, which enables breastfeeding in addition to supplemental feeding.
The early days of using the SNS presented Trevor with a considerable challenge. It seemed like he needed an extra pair of hands to handle the device, position his baby, and shape his limited breast tissue to make it latch-friendly. During the initial two weeks, his partner supported Trevor during every feeding, regardless of the hour. However, Trevor soon mastered the system, becoming self-sufficient just as his partner resumed work.
As the baby, named Jacob, grew stronger, latching became easier. But the baby’s increasing strength also led to him discovering the feeding tube. Balancing the SNS and a curious baby who loved to fiddle with the feeding apparatus became another challenge for Trevor to overcome. But with time, they found a rhythm and breastfeeding continued.
Perception and Prejudice: The Challenges Along the Way
Throughout this year-long journey, Trevor faced curious glances and occasional disapproval from people who didn’t understand his unique situation. Despite his outwardly masculine appearance, complete with a beard, he breastfed Jacob confidently, knowing its myriad benefits. During one encounter, a woman criticized him on an airplane, claiming he was spoiling his child. Despite such encounters, Trevor remained undeterred.
Reflecting on the year, gratitude washed over Trevor. He had successfully navigated the challenges of breastfeeding. Jacob, now a cheerful, sociable, and active toddler, sought his dad’s comfort through breastfeeding whenever he felt anxious, tired, or upset. This unconventional task, undertaken by a transgender man, underlined Trevor’s commitment to providing the best care for his child.
Meet Trevor MacDonald: Transgender Parent, Advocate, and Author
Trevor MacDonald, a resident of Winnipeg, Canada, lives with his partner, their child, and a pet dog. His academic portfolio boasts an honours BA in political science from the University of British Columbia. Identifying as a gay man, Trevor chose to breastfeed his son because of the wealth of scientific evidence supporting its health benefits. Trevor chronicles his experiences as a breastfeeding dad and shares insights into his queer family life on his blog.