In lactation circles, what we say in clinical settings, to a group of other lactation people, or to any person or group we think of as “safe” - it’s not. Lactation is personal. Every person, whether they have lactated or fed from their body or given birth or not, has a personal and visceral connection to this topic. Birth talk is like this, too.
What we say is interpreted through a lens. Right now, you are reading the same words as many other people, but you are each interpreting it through your own life experiences and knowledge. What I say in an educational or professional capacity may strike you in a personal way, potentially negating my professional impact.
For example, if I am talking to the nurse who is assigned to the patient I just saw, demonizing or minimizing her choices in my conversation with the nurse is not only unethical, it may trigger the nurse to feel that she is also being judged since she made similar or identical choices as the patient when she herself was breastfeeding.
The point is - we don’t know what we don’t know. We need to do our best to avoid making assumptions. Every single person we talk to about breastfeeding, human milk, the science of lactation, and everything about it - that person has their own story, and if we want to be a positive part of it, we need to demonstrate that we are supportive, compassionate, and invested with our choices of words and our style of serving others. How we talk about breastfeeding and about others' experiences with it reflects our opinions and biases if we are not careful.