Breastfeeding: A Universal Language of Love

March 5, 2014. Posted in: Blog Posts,Trivia

© 2014, Image © 2014,


Have you ever wondered how to say “breastfeeding” in another language? Thanks to my wonderful Facebook fans, I have compiled a list of breastfeeding words from around the world:

  • ?language?: Chati da dudh (“breast milk”)
  • Afrikaans (South Africa): Borsvoeding, Borsvoed
  • American Sign Language (ASL): Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
  • American Sign Language (ASL): Describing the sign- Using a flat hand, touch the top of your chest above each breast, then use both hands in a folded “flat” hand in front of the breast, thrusting them forward. (The sign for breast + nourish).
  • American Sign Language (ASL): Take right hand put fingers together like a beak and tap left breast
  • Anishinabe/Ojibway: Doodooshaaboo
  • Arabic:                                                                الرضاعة … Arabic
  • Arabic:                                                                  الرضاعة الطبيعية… Arabic
  • Arabic: “RaTHaA”, Erdaa’, Halib, Rida’a                   رضاعة … Arabic
  • Basque: Edoskitze
  • Belarusian: грудное выкормліванне
  • Bemba (Zambia): Ukonsha namabele
  • Bengali: Mayer duddh
  • Bisaya (Borneo): Nagpatotoy
  • Bosnian: Dojenje, Sisat
  • Bulgarian: Kyrmene, Кърмене (“breastfeeding”), Кърма (“breastmilk”)
  • Burmese/Myanmar: No Cho Tite Kyawe
  • Català/Catalan: Alletar
  • Chamorro (Guam): Susu
  • Chinese, Mandarin/Putonghua:  哺乳 (pooroo) and the written word for breast milk is 母乳 (mooroo) which is the same as in Japanese!
  • Chinese, Traditional: Muru weiyang 母乳喂养 or just Muru Muru, 母乳哺育
  • Chinese: Although the proper term in Chinese is 母乳  most people refer it as 人奶 which literally means “human milk.”
  • Chitumbuka (Malawi): Kubaba
  • Croatian: Dojenje
  • Czech: Kojit (“to breastfeed”), kojení (“breastfeeding”)
  • Danish: Amme, Amning
  • Dutch: Borstvoeding (“breast feeding”)
  • Estonian: Imetamine
  • Farsi: Sheer dehei                                                         دهى شىر = Farsi
  • Finnish: Imetys
  • French: Allaiter for the momma (“to milk,” lait = “milk”), téter for the baby (“to nurse/suckle”). Those are the verbs. The noun is l’allaitement.
  • French: Nourrir au sein (“nourish at the breast”), L’allaitement maternel
  • French: In Congo, most mothers will say “Donner la tétée”–which also literally means “give tit,” but it’s not considered vulgar–in Africa, at least.
  • German: Das Stillen, Ein Kind stillen (“to breastfeed a baby”), Stillen (literally: “to still, calm, or quiet a baby”)
  • Greek: Thelasmos, θηλασμός the word comes from “thele” that means nipple. The mammals are also called thelastica in greek, because they are of course breastfeeding
  • Greek: Thilasis, Thilasmou
  • Haitian: Bay tete (“to give breasts”)
  • Hawaiian Pidgin: Chichi grinds or chichi mop sesh
  • Hawaiian: Keiki ‘ai Waiu (“suckling baby”)
  • Hebrew: Hanaka (“to suck”), le haneek (“to breastfeed”). Also the same root as mammals (yonkim) and  baby (tinok).
  • Hebrew:                                                            להניק        הנקה=Hebrew
  • Hindi: Sthanpaan (“Drinking from breast”)
  • Hokkien Dialect: Nen nen [means mummy's (.) (.) ]
  • Hmong: Noj mig nam (“eat mother’s milk”)
  • Hungarian: Szoptatas, Szoptatni (to breasfeed)
  • Icelandic: Brjóstagjöf
  • Ilongo (Philippine dialect): Titi?
  • Indonesian: Menyusui (“breastfeeding”), Air Susu Ibu (aka ASI, “mothers milk/breastmilk”)
  • Inuktitut: Ammamak (literally means “to suck”)
  • Irish (Gaelic): Beathú cíche, ag beathú cíche
  • Italian: L’allattamento materno, Allattamento, L’allattamento al seno, Allattare al seno
  • Japanese: Bonyu;  母乳 (when you write it, it means “mother’s milk”)
  • Javanese: Nyusoni
  • Kapampangan (Philippine Dialect): Magpasusu
  • Katchi: Dhawan
  • Khmer: Mém-dâh
  • Korean: 모유수유 (moyoo sooyoo) (moyoo= “mother’s milk” , sooyoo= “feeding”)
  • Latin: Nutricare (“to nurse/suckle;” the noun, nutrix, means “nurse”)
  • Latvian: Zīdīšana
  • Lithuanian: Maitinimas krutimi, Žindymas, zindymas krutimi
  • Macedonian: Doenje
  • Malay/Bahasa Malaysia: Menyusu, Penyusuan, Penyusuan ibu, Susu ibu, Susu badan (“body milk”)
  • Maltese: Tredda
  • Māori (New Zealand): Whāngote, U kaipo (u= breast, kai= food, po= night; “food of the night”); the deeper cultural meaning is source of sustenance, place of origin, standing place, our identity, our mother.
  • Mayan: Chuchu
  • Montenegrin: Dojenje
  • Nahualt: Chichitilli
  • Norwegian: Amming
  • Nuxalkmc: Sasa
  • Papiamento: Lechi di pecho, duna pechu
  • Persian: Shir-e madar dadan                                      شير مادر دادن =Persian
  • Pidgin (Papua New Guinea): Susu
  • Pig Latin: Estbray Eedingfay or Ursingnay
  • Polish: Karmienie piersią (“feeding with breast”)
  • Portugues/Português: Aleitamento materno, Amamentar (verb), amamentação (noun), dar o peito, dar de mamar
  • Portuguese (Brazilian): Mamando (slang)
  • Punjabi: Maa Ka Dudh (“mother’s milk”)
  • Romanian: Alăptare, Alăptarea
  • Russian/Русский:  Грудное вскармливание,  Грудное кормление,  кормить грудью,  Кормления грудью
  • Samoan: Faasusu
  • Serbian: Dojenje
  • Siswati (Swaziland): Kuncelisa
  • Slovak: Kojenie, Kojit, Dojčenie
  • Slovenian: Dojenje (just like in Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian)
  • Soninke (West Africa): Sugundi
  • Spanish (Argentinian): Amamantar
  • Spanish (El Salvador): Amamantar, dar pecho, lactar
  • Spanish (Honduras): Dar chiche (give breast) dar de mamar (give to breast)
  • Spanish (Puerto Rico): Lactar
  • Spanish (Venezuela): Dando pechó (“giving your breast”), Amamantando (has the root word “amar” ["to love"] and “mama” in it)
  • Spanish:  Alimentar (“to feed”)
  • Spanish:  Amamantar (“nurse”)
  • Spanish: Dar teta (slang) literally means “give tit”
  • Spanish: Dar pecho/ceno (“to give the breast”), Pecho, Dar el ceno/seno (“to give the breast”)
  • Spanish:  Lactancia, la lactancia materna
  • Spanish: Lactar (“lactate”), dar de lactar
  • Spanish: Leche materna (“breastmilk”)
  • Spanish: Le lait mama (said to babies)
  • Spanish: Usually I say Bibi, but properly said it’s Amamantar or Dar pecho
  • Swahili/KiSwahili: Kunyonyesha, Nyonya, Maziwa wa mama (breastmilk), Kunyona maziwa, Maziwa ya mama (mama’s milk)
  • Swedish: Amma/amning, but I say to my son, “Tutta?” (It means “do you want to boob?”)
  • Tagalog /Filipino: Gatas ng ina (“mother’s milk”), Pagpapasuso (“to breastfeed,” from suso ["breast"]), Magpadidi, Nagpapadodo, Nagpapasuso
  • Taisanese (Chinese dialect): Yhet gheen nye (“eat human milk”)
  • Tamil: Thai paal, Thaipaal oottal (“to feed mother’s milk”)
  • Thai: นมแม่ pronounced ‘nom mae’ (“mother’s milk”)
  • Tiếng Việt/Vietnamese: Bú mẹ, Căn Bản về Cho Con Bú Vú,  Sữa mẹ
  • Turkish: Anne Sut, Emzirme, Emzirmek (“to make [the baby] suck”)
  • Ukrainian: грудне вигодовування
  • Urdu: Ma ka dudh pilana, Maa ka doodh
  • Uzbek: Sut bermoq (to give milk)
  • Visayan (Philippines): Magpatotoy
  • Vlaški (Serbian-Romanian dialect): Sudje or Soo-je (it’s only a spoken language in most parts)
  • Welsh: Bwydo ar y fron (“feeding on the breast”), Llaeth Mam (“mothers milk”)

If you have more words to add, or can correct or add to any of the information above, please let me know in the comments.



charlotte codron March 8, 2014 at 4:27 am

Turkish : Anne Sütü (mother milk)

rs March 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I love this! Is it available as a poster I could order?

kellymom March 13, 2014 at 2:46 pm

We’re working on that!

Jadeite March 30, 2014 at 5:48 am

母乳哺育 is actually pronounced muru buyu. But we commonly just say 喂人奶 (wei ren nai) which means feed human milk.

Barbs April 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Okwonka in the Bantu tribes of Uganda

Iv April 9, 2014 at 8:08 am

Macedonian: Доење = Doenje

Leilani April 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Vietnamese is bú

Leilani April 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

or you can say bú mẹ (nurse mama)