What is a mother in her period of breastfeeding called in English?

Based on my guess I looked for "breast-feeder" on Google and indeed I found a documentation of this word in Wiktionary but then I checked it in Cambridge dictionary and is missing there. That's why I'm afraid that there is another word for that term. (I'm not talking about the slang Wiktionary mention there: "boobfeeding" but one that I can be written for example in a presentation or a academical book etc.)

N.b. In my native dictionary I found a "wet nurse", but according to wikipedia it is "a wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds and cares for another's child.". It means that this term is not for the typical woman who breastfeeds her baby.


1 Answer 1


Such a mother can be called a "lactating" mother or, less clinically, a "nursing" mother.

Note NGram distribution for three terms, including yours:

enter image description here

As you can see, "breast feeder" flatlines, the arc of "lactating mother" suggests a restricted, perhaps technical usage, while "nursing mother" has been much more widely used and for much longer.

  • Thank you. Please, put in your answer some links to some dictionaries as follows: 1) nursing mother in Collins 2) Nursing in Cambridge 3) Nursing mother at Dictionary.com. Based on google research It seems that "lactating mother" is mainly used in academical works or books in the field of female medicine as a professional jargon. Isn't it? Apr 23, 2018 at 0:39
  • 3
    @Archimedean_Point Nope. Both terms (lactating and nursing) are pretty widely understood. The room for pumping while at work in my office is called the "lactation facility".
    – Catija
    Apr 23, 2018 at 1:04
  • 4
    @subtle_sibling I agree. A "nursing mother" is a fairly common term that hardly needs supporting reference.
    – Andrew
    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:59
  • 1
    Note that if you want to use the term "breastfeed", you can say "breastfeeding mother" which is slightly more common in print than "lactating mother".
    – 1006a
    Apr 23, 2018 at 15:14
  • 2
    No, it's just kind of strange-sounding—bordering on awkward.
    – Robusto
    Apr 23, 2018 at 19:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .