School of Health and Human Sciences

Journal of Human Lactation

Paige Hall Smith, PhD, MSPH, Ethan T. Bamberger, BS

The field of lactation and breastfeeding has a very entrenched tradition of gendering parents who provide human milk for their infants. This is perhaps not altogether surprising given that the idea of femininity and masculinity forming contrast-ing parts of a greater whole is an ancient and widespread one. Taoist philosophy, based on the classic Chinese text the Tao de Ching (Tzu, 1988/n.d.) from around 500 BCE includes the concept of the Yin- Yang, opposite but comple-mentary forces of existence; one force cannot have meaning without the other. For example, that light cannot exist with-out that of darkness, masculine cannot exist without femi-nine. In this philosophy, these complementary forces, including masculine and feminine, are not dualistic: they are nondual, not either–or but opposites of one thing that lead into each other and contain each other (Galindo, 2017).