I was introduced to a new term today — motherfeeding. It’s breastfeeding your child when you don’t have breasts, and the term was coined by New Zealander Jaynie Cummings as she continues to feed her son breast milk after a double masectomy.

Jaynie Cummings, April 2012
A trained midwife, Jaynie combines humour and honesty when talking about cancer, surgery, mothering and the healthcare system in New Zealand.

I couldn’t help but feel in awe of Jaynie when I met her in Kerikeri today. She is bright, bubbly and flat-chested but still determined to breastfeed her son. Donors have provided Jaynie and Bastian (now 21 months) with breast milk and although he drinks it from a bottle, only Jaynie feeds him.

No one else is permitted to hold the bottle. Bastian seeks Jaynie out whenever he wants some milk (and motherly affection).

Jaynie Cummings and Bastian, April 2012
Motherfeeding continues to build the bond between Jaynie and her son despite the fact that he's not literally sucking milk from her nipples. Jaynie's been motherfeeding Bastian for almost a year.

Jaynie’s story is so far from my own reality that I feel like I can contribute nothing to the conversation. She writes honestly about her journey on Breastfeeding with Cancer. (Grab a box of tissues before you start reading.) Kiwi breast milk donors connect with her via the Boob 2 Babe Facebook page.

Motherfeeding. It’s a great term, and more encompassing than breastfeeding, because it connotes that special bonding time that mothers have when they feed their children — however it happens.

Motherfeeding. To honour Jaynie and all she’s gone through, I’m going to start using this term. She’s an inspiration to motherfeeders everywhere!