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UrbanSimplicity 07-08-2006 01:56 AM


I think my 5 mo dd is starting to catch on to the fist squeezing (ie."milking") ASL sign for "milk"....but is this the only option? I'm pretty sure it is, I double checked with my ASL interpreter sister.

This has been bothering me that we have to use such a generic sign, though it certainly reflects the English term for milk which implys cows milk. But at least in Englih we can specify "breast milk".

My sister showed me another sign that was like a suckling at the breast, but she seemed to think it had sexual conotations.

Does this bother anyone else?

trmpetplaya 07-08-2006 02:23 AM

For my dd, the squeezing sign has a double meaning... because she kneads my breast while nursing and her hand moves in the same squeezing motion while she kneads... I only don't like her to do it if she uses her fingernails, otherwise it's fine.

It really bothers a friend of mine though... and I don't remember which sign her dd uses off the top of my head, but she doesn't use the squeezing one!

love and peace.

flyingspaghettimama 07-08-2006 02:26 AM

I understand that it is indeed the sign for milk. I also dislike it. Very cow-esque. I guess you could make up your own, if you wanted, although that's pretty controversial in the ASL community. But if you think about it, most children/parents make up their own word for nursing when they're older, just for modesty's sake or because it's cute - for me, it's not so cool when my 2.5 says, "mother, may I breastfeed now?" in the grocery store. Much more discreet when they just ask for milk or num-nums or maaaaaa!


eclipse 07-08-2006 02:45 AM

I think the sign for breast milk would be the sign for breast, followed by the sign for milk. I didn't plan to use the milk sign with my oldest for the same reason that you don't like it - the cow connotation. However, like trmptplaya, I noticed that he was already sort of doing it while he nursed (either kneeding the breast or squeezing my shirt) and it seemed easier to go with something he already knew. It also has the advantage of being easy for very young babies to do - all three of my kids have picked it up very easily as their first sign.

eclipse 07-08-2006 02:47 AM

I also want to add that it actually works with our spoken vocabulary. I our house, "milk" is assumed to be human milk. Any other milk gets an identifier - like cow's milk, soy milk, etc.

UrbanSimplicity 07-08-2006 03:01 PM

thanks for the opinions--

i do feel a little better after you all pointed out that your dc, like my dd, also gently pull/squeeze at the shirt or breast. i am still considering if i will continue using it....

dawncayden 07-08-2006 04:04 PM

I take one open palm and pat my chest/breast for breastfeeding. I too was very frustrated with the cow milking sign.


sweedma 07-08-2006 04:11 PM

The baby signs book we have just says to tug on the shirt as a sign for nursing. We haven't started signing yet, but I thought I'd try that as a sign. Our 6-month old only seems to understand 2 spoken words right now -- his name and "nursie." So I think he'll learn the sign pretty quickly!

Awaken 07-08-2006 04:29 PM

Originally Posted by dawncayden
I take one open palm and pat my chest/breast for breastfeeding. I too was very frustrated with the cow milking sign.

I like that idea! I think I will start using it. I had been using the 'official' cow like sign but don't really like it.

We sort of made up signs as we went along with our older ds who used them quite a bit since he was a late talker, I didnt' see any reason why he had to know the real sign, except that it made it easier when working with different therapists to understand his signs. For ones that we made up we had to show everyone what his signs meant. But otherwise I think it's fine to just do what's intuitive if the actual sign is something you don't like or is hard to do.

elmh23 07-08-2006 05:40 PM

I made up all of my signs (well pretty much, some I got from friends.) Anyways, what we did for nursing was tap the lips with your pointer finger. My dd of course adapted it and taps her nose, but as long as it works I'm happy!

Ell-Bell 07-09-2006 11:53 AM

I sign "Mama's Milk" for now. You could use BREAST + MILK. PP are right, the sign for milk really is not conceptually accurate for human milk. Oh, and as for the "suckling on breast" sign- I am an interpreter myself and have seen it used often as a clasifier for a baby nursing.

There is also a sign for breastfeed, using the sign for feed signed in front of your breast.

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