A glossary of terms used on this BF vs FF debate boards

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
A glossary of terms used on this BF vs FF debate boards
Sat, 07-23-2011 - 11:16am

The following is a glossary of terms used on the BF vs FF IV debate board as well as on the IV BF support boards that I have been working on for the last few months. I realize that many of the regulars here likely are already familiar with most or all the terms in this glossary but there may be lurkers and such who would benefit from it. I have made every effort to correct any typos or misspellings though please feel free to let me know of any you catch. Also, please feel free to correct any errors you feel I made in how I defined each termed. I have posted this as three separate posts as well as in the form of an attachment in PDF format.

Glossary of breastfeeding terms A-H:

American Academy of Pediatrics: A United States medical organization the develops standards for pediatric care and who's membership is open to qualified pediatricians.

Australian Breastfeeding Association: A breastfeeding support organization in Australia, essentially very similar to LLL.

Adoptive breastfeeding: The breastfeeding an adopted baby by way of induced lactation (see also Induced lactation).

Attachment parenting (AP): A parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology in which parents, by way of sensitive and emotionally available parenting, strive to form a secure attachment style to their child which fosters the child's socio-emotional development and well being. Some people misinterpret it as involving a long list of requirements for one to qualify as attachment parents. Generally, AP involves extended breastfeeding, child-led weaning, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, and non-violent discipline (i.e not spanking), but one does not need to practice all those things are due them 100% of the time to practice AP, especially if one has medical or logistical reasons for not doing certain AP practices. Like all parenting philosophies, AP is controversial, partly due to the fact that has yet to adequately evaluated scientifically.

Babywearing: The practice of wearing or carrying a baby or child on oneself via a sling or other form of carrier.

Babywise: See On Becoming Babywise.

Baby-led weaning: A method of introducing solid food to a baby's diet, where, rather then starting with pureed baby foods, you start with finger foods that the baby is capable of self-feeding themselves with. With baby-led weaning, you only introduce solids when the baby shows an interest in and demonstrates the capability to pick up foods and feed themselves. This method is in contrast to the more typical method of solids introduction (aka weaning in British English) wherein you start with purees that are fed to the baby via a spoon, then move to finger-foods later on.

Bed sharing: Sleeping with a baby in the one's own bed as apposed to a having the baby sleep in a bassinet or crib/cot. The term bed sharing is synonymous with co-sleeping as the later term is most commonly used today. (see also co-sleeping)

Bottle feeding: Feeding a baby either infant formula or breastmilk via a baby bottle. Due to the fact that most often it's formula that is feed via a bottle, the term bottle feeding by itself is often assumed by many to be synonymous with formula feeding so you may need to be specific when referring to bottle feeding breastmilk.

Breast pump: A device for drawing milk from a woman's breast by suction. A breast pump is one of two ways to extract milk from the breast for feeding a baby via a bottle or other means (other then suckling at the breast), the other being hand expression. Modern versions come in both manual hand-operated and electrical models.

Breast shells: A hollow plastic disks worn inside a bra to protect one's nipple from becoming flattened. and to help correct problems with inverted nipples.

Breastfeeding advocate: Anyone who advocates breastfeeding as the best way to feed babies in general. Please not that there are many different types of breastfeeding advocates from the who recommend breastfeeding only when specifically asked to those that think every women who can breastfeed should be forced to BF whether they like or not. The majority of advocates do not fall on the extreme side contrary to what many formula defenders might claim.

Breastfeeding bully: A derogatory term directed at breastfeeding advocates and support persons (such as lactation consultants, lactation maternity nurses, and doctors) who are judge to be too extreme in the promotion of breastfeeding and method of breastfeeding support. Often characterized as being unwilling to accept a new mom's decision when she says she is going to formula feed or plans give up on breastfeeding or switch to formula. True breastfeeding bullies represent a small number of all advocates and support persons.

Breastfeeding Nazi: An extremely derogatory term for a breastfeeding advocate. Many breastfeeding advocates as well as many Jews object to the term due to the fact that the Nazi's murdered over 7 million Jews and others in concentration camps (among other atrocities) while even the most extreme breastfeeding advocate has done nothing even close to that. Defenders of the term claim they are simply referring to the “a person with extreme authoritarian views” definition common today though many critics argue that this general use of the term nazi argue that it downplays the Nazi's atrocities or extremely exaggerates the wrongdoing of the authoritarian types it's directed at such as in the case of “breastfeeding nazi”, the extreme breastfeeding advocates. It is banned from use as a label for anyone or any group on iVillage message boards, though discussions about the term itself is permissible as part of the breastfeeding vs formula feeding debate.

Breastfeeding/Nursing: Refers to a baby suckling at the breast. Some people use the term to refer to both suckling at the breast and feeding breastmilk from a bottle though many object to this usage due to the possible confusion it can create. Some people say “breastfeeding (at the breast)” when referring solely to suckling at the breast to avoid possible confusion.
Exclusive Pumping:
When a lactating mother is not feeding a baby at the breast at all but instead pumping breastmilk for every feed to be fed via a baby bottle.

Breastmilk bank: A place that accepts and stores donations of breastmilk by lactating mothers for use in feeding baby's who have a medical need for expressed breastmilk. They require that the lactating mother's who donate meet certain qualifications and they screen the breastmilk for diseases and such. Breastmilk from a breastmilk bank is typically very expensive per ounce.

Breastmilk feeding: Refers to feeding breastmilk, either directly via the breast or via a bottle. This term is used to avoid confusion with the terms breastfeeding and bottle feeding which are usually assumed to refer only to direct breastfeeding or feeding of formula via a bottle.

Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS): Canada's version of the AAP (see also American Association of Pediatric).

Child-led weaning: A method of weaning where the breastfeeding child is allowed to decide how long to breastfeed for and thus when they are ready to fully wean, as opposed to the mother deciding when to wean (mother-led/parent-lead weaning). Generally all children with rare exception will self-wean somewhere between the ages of 18 months and 7 years old if allowed to. Please note that some people do not consider any sort of restriction placed on what times of day, how often per day, or how long per session the child can nurse to be true child-led weaning while others still consider it child-led weaning so long as it's the child that decides when to give up the last nursing session and not the parent, even if the parent restricts the child's nursing otherwise.

Cleft lip. A congenital split in the upper lip on one or both sides of the center, often associated with a cleft palate. Breastfeeding can be difficult or impossible with a baby with cleft lip.

Cleft palate. A congenital split in the the roof of the mouth. Breastfeeding can be difficult or impossible with a baby with cleft palate.

Clogged or plugged duct: A blockage in a milk duct due a backup of excess breastmilk. Can be the result of improper feeding technique resulting in poor milk extraction, abrupt weaning, and extreme stress hindering letdown. If not properly dealt with through frequent nursing on the affected breast, massaging the plug, addressing the cause, applying heat, etc. then it can turn in mastitis.

Co-sleeping: In current modern usage it general refers to the practice of sleeping in the same bed with one's infant. Originally it referred to any sleeping arrangement where mom and baby slept in the same room but not necessarily in the same bed such with room-sharing, though this broader usage is rare today. (see also bed-sharing and room-sharing).

Colic: A severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen of babies caused by intestinal gas or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies. It generally includes long bouts of intense crying and according to research tends to be more common and more intense in formula-fed babies.

Colostrum: The first stage of breastmilk that appears typically during the third trimester of pregnancy and lasts for about 3-5 days following the birth. It is typically yellowish or creamy in color and is highly concentrated in terms protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins, a type of anti-body. Babies generally need very little colostrum due to it's high concentration and the glass marble sized stomach of newborns.

Comfort nursing: When a baby is latched on to the breast, not for nutritional purposes, but merely for the comfort of suckling at the breast. Babies are capable of using a different suckling technique when comfort suckling such that they don't draw milk from the breast in the way they normally would when suckling to eat. It is what a pacifier/dummy is intended to simulate, thus comfort nursing is not “using mom as a pacifier”, at least no in the sense of using mom as if her breast was a rubber or plastic nipple for a baby to suck on.

Combo-feeding: Feeding of both breastmilk and formula to a baby at the same time. This can be by offering bottles of combined breastmilk/formula at every feed, supplementing formula bottles after some or all breastfeedings, or breastfeeding/bottle feeding expressed breastmilk for some or most feeds and feeding only formula for other feeds.

Cross-nursing: A practice where one mother breastfeeds the baby of another mother, usually a sister, cousin, or close friend and generally only on a temporarily basis. Unlike wet nursing, the arrangement is generally does not involve a regular long term arrangement to nurse another's baby but rather only occasional or one time nursing under special or emergency circumstances. Cross-nursing moms may agree that they should nurse each others babies (as apposed to offering a bottle) when babysitting them or that in an emergency situations cross-nursing is acceptable.

Cup feeding: Feeding a baby via cup instead of a bottle. Cup feeding is one one way to avoid the risk of nipple confusion with infants who need to be supplemented with formula or expressed breastmilk. In significantly older babies, a sippy cup or beaker (British English) may be used instead of introducing or bottle or as a way to wean off the bottle.

Discrete breastfeeding/nursing: A term that has no single agreed upon meaning but generally describes nursing in public that does not show more of the breast or nearby skin then the user of the term feels is appropriate. To some, discrete nursing means not breastfeeding with an entire breast or nipple exposed or mostly exposed, while others define it either as not exposing any of the breast including cleavage and upper breast or even not breastfeeding in public without a cover over the baby and breast.

Don't offer, don't refuse: A toddler/preschooler weaning method where you don't ever offer to breastfeed but also don't refuse to breastfeed if your child asks for it. LLL is a proponent of the “Don't offer, don't refuse” weaning method, in cases where the parents wishes to encourage the child to wean.

Dr. Thomas Hale: A medical researcher at the Texas Tech University School of Medicine At Amarillo, who is considered one of the preeminent researchers on the subject of the safety and capability of medications while breastfeeding. He publishes the regularly updated reference book “Medications and Mother's Milk” which list many medications and tells you how safe and compatible they are to use while breastfeeding. He also operates a website infantrisk.com that provides additional information not included in the latest addition of his book. He is considered a prominent source for info and whether a medication is safe to use while breastfeeding.

Dummy: A British English term for a pacifier.

Early weaning: A vague term that that has different meanings both in the UK and the US. In the UK it refers to introducing solids to a baby's diet earlier then is generally recommended, say earlier then 4-6 months old. In the U.S. It usually refers to weaning completely from the breast earlier then when the parent had originally wanted or earlier then is generally recommended by major health organizations like the AAP. Thus depending on the context it could refer to either one of two scenarios. 1) A mother who was forced to wean (whether by medical necessity or due to lack of good breastfeeding support) or who unintentionally weaned earlier then they had originally planned. 2) A mother who weans by choice earlier then is generally recommended, say under a year, a year being the minimum recommended breastfeeding duration by the AAP. In both the British and U.S. senses of the term, “early weaning” can be controversial due to controversy over when weaning (in both senses) should occur.

Exclusive pumping: When a nursing mother is not nursing here baby directly at the breast but instead only pumps expressed breast milk to be fed to her baby via a bottle. A mother may end up exclusively pumping by choice or by necessity. When it's a choice, it may be because she has psychologically issues with breastfeeding directly or because she feels it's more convenient for her or her family to exclusively pump instead. When it's not be choice, it's generally because the baby refuses to latch or can't latch or suckle due to medical issues, or because she can't be with the baby to directly nurse so she must send EBM to the baby instead. Some mothers who started out exclusively pumping for whatever reason, manage to transition the baby to nursing at the breast at some point.

Expressed-breastmilk: Breastmilk expressed via a pump or hand-expression from the breast to be fed via a bottle, cup, tube, or other method usually at a later time. A mother may choose to or need to express either because they want other such as DH to be able to do some feedings using a bottle, they need to return to work and want their babies daytime caregiver to be able to do bottle feedings of EBM rather then formula, or because the cannot currently feed the baby at the breast for some reason. Some mothers choose, solely by choice , to exclusively pump and feed BM in a bottle and never feed at the breast. (see also Breast pump, Exclusive pumping , Pumping, and Hand-expression).

Elimination diet: A special type of diet where foods a nursing baby is allergic too are removed from the mother's diet. Since foods that mother eats are passed through her to her breastmilk, if her baby is suspected of having a reaction to some food the mother is eating, the solution is to illuminate the possible food(s) from her diet, usually by removing possible culprits one by one until the reaction stops.

Engorgement: When the breast become full with breastmilk. This is common when a mother's transitional milk comes in but normally goes away on it's own in short time. Extreme engorgement can cause soreness and make nursing difficult though there are ways to relieve engorgement such manual expression or hot compresses. An extended period of engorgement can be one indication of a breastmilk oversupply.

Exclusive breastfeeding/nursing: To feed a baby only by the breast such that the baby is only getting breastmilk and not supplemental formula or solid foods. It is recommended by the AAP to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, with breastmilk and solids after that till at least one year.

Failure to thrive: Failure to thrive is a label applied to babies whose current weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other babies of similar age and sex. It's important to keep in mind that breastfed babies typically follow a different growth pattern the first year then formula-fed babies and thus a “failure to thrive” diagnosis in a breastfed baby should not be based on how they chart in growth chart and especially not how they chart on the older CDC growth charts that were based largely on formula-fed babies (use the newer WHO charts based solely on breastfed babies).

A feed: In British English, the term “a feed” is often used to refer to a feeding at the breast or via a bottle such as “I just gave my baby a feed and now he needs to be burped”.

Finger feeding: A alternative infant feeding method that involves a baby suckling on person's finger with a feeding tube attached to it, which is closer to suckling on a nipple then suckling on a baby bottle nipple. It is used to avoid nipple confusion and teach a baby how to suckle when they refuse to latch or suckling poorly.

Forced-weaning: Forcing a child to wean completely from breastfeeding before the child is ready or willing to do so on their own. Sometimes it may be by necessary due to a medical issue that makes continued breastfeeding unsafe or due to an unavoidable long separation from the mother. Sometimes though it's done simply because the mother no longer wishes to breastfeed any longer, gentle weaning is not working, and delaying complete weaning is not an option they are willing to consider.

Foremilk: The more more watery lower fat milk that comes out first from the breast during a feed, which is followed by the hindmilk, which is much higher in fat. (see also Hindmilk and Foremilk/hind-milk imbalance.

Foremilk/hind-milk imbalance: A common result of breastmilk oversupply, where the baby is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk at every feed. The problems that can result from it include excess gas, green frothy poo, slow weight gain, and more frequent then normal feeding frequency. (see also Oversupply, Foremilk, and Hind-milk )

Formula: Short for infant/baby formula.The term by itself generally refers only to modern commercial cows milk or soy based formula and excludes homemade formula recipes that where once popular.

Formula defender: A person who actively and regularly defends the feeding of babies formula. Typically, they defend the right of a mother to feed a baby infant formula by solely choice, reminds others that some mothers have no choice but to feed their baby formula, and defends formula as being an acceptable food substance for most babies to be fed. Some formula defenders argue that modern formula is good enough, close enough to, or equal to breastmilk health-wise, disputing the scientific evidence that suggest otherwise. They may argue that bottle-feeding can be superior to breastfeeding in many circumstances but generally do not argue modern formula is superior heath-wise to breastmilk, something only a minority of formula feeding advocates do. (See Formula-feeding advocate).

Formula-feeding advocate: One who does not merely defend formula-feeding but argues that either formula is superior to breastmilk health-wise in most cases, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, and/or that bottle-feeding is superior to breastfeeding in general.They actively advocate that most others moms should formula-feed/bottle-feed due to a belief that modern formula is equal to or close enough to breastmilk and that bottle-feeding formula is otherwise superior in other respects to the act of breastfeeding. A minority of them argue that modern formula is superior to breastmilk in general or that while breastmilk under ideal conditions may be superior, in practice it's more often not due to believing such myths as a fast food diet, pollution/contaminants, etc. make breastmilk in practice for most moms inferior or harmful to the baby. They should not be confused with a formula feeding defender, who merely defends formula feeding but does not actively advocate that most mothers should formula feed. (See Formula defender).

Formula fascist: A derogatory term for extreme formula advocates who are consider to be holding very extreme anti-breastfeeding views. Like the term Breastfeeding Nazi, it's use as a label for anyone is not allowed on iVillage message boards.

Formula feeding: The feeding of infant formula to a baby, typically via a baby bottle though it can through other means too such as via cup or tube feeding .

Full-term breastfeeding/nursing: A term some breastfeeding advocates and supporters have proposed as an alternative to the term “extend breastfeeding” due to concerns that latter portrays breastfeeding a toddler as beyond the norm. There is some disagreement among breastfeeding advocates as to whether “full-term breastfeeding” really is a better alternative or not. Some people object to the term because they feel it could make mothers whose child wean earlier then they desired feel bad and that it seems to imply rigid length of time for “proper breastfeeding duration”.

Galactagogue: A food or drug that promotes or increases the production of a mother's milk.

There are a number of food items, herbal substances, as well as a few prescription drugs that are known to increase a mother's milk supply. Some examples include Fenugreek (a herb also used in south Asian cooking), the drugs Reglan and Domperidone.

Galactosemia: A rare genetic metabolic disorder that affects an individual's ability to metabolize galactose, a type of sugar, properly. Babies with classic Galactosemia cannot be breastfed at all and have to be fed a lactose-free formula such as soy formula. Babies with Duarte Galactosemia often can be breastfed fully but some may only be able to be partly breastfeed.

Hale: See Dr. Thomas Hale.

Hand-expression: The expressing of breastmilk using only one's hands as opposed to using a breast pump.

Hands-free pumping: The ability to pump without having to hold the pump horns onto the breast usually by a special garment the holds the horns in place while pumping though a standard bra can be adapted for this purpose. There are models of pumps and pump accessory kits sold as hand-free pumping kits.

Hind-milk: The more fat-rich milk that comes out of the breast after the foremilk.

Human milk fortifier: A special type of premie formula, that is added to breastmilk to increase the caloric content when feeding certain premature babies. Some controversial exists within the medical community as to when it's necessarily to use it.

(Continued in next post)


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

Glossary of breastfeeding terms I-P:


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

Gklossary of breastfeeding terms R-Z


Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010

a bump for the newbies!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
bump again!