Breastfeeding is a hot and heavy subject. Every mom seems to have an opinion. Some see breastfeeding as the only option; others see formula as an alternative to breast milk. What if we could take the mom out of the equation? What if it wasn’t only up to the mom to breastfeed?
Let’s talk lactating men and breastfeeding. No not men and their thoughts on breastfeeding, but men that can produce milk and their role as the breastfeeder. I mean, what if a man could breastfeed?
Well, Michael Thomsen is a 33-year old writer who lives in New York. He describes himself as a cross between Carrie Bradshaw and George Constanza, and says if there’s such a thing as a male biological clock, his has started ticking. You see, after Michael learned that some men are able to indeed lactate, he decided to set out on a quest to lactate. He goes to Buy Buy Baby and purchases a breast pump and pumps his man boobs regularly:
It was strange to apply a breast pump for the first time. My nipples aren’t accustomed to regular stimulation, and though I felt like I was defying the natural order, pumping was surprisingly pleasant. Nipples are filled with nerve endings, after all, and the gentle upward tug of the pump was both comforting and erotic.
As the days went on, the comfort turned into monotony. The happy surprise of those first few upward pulls became predictable, a mechanical intrusion into my workday. I couldn’t afford the electric pumps, which can cost up to $300, and had to settle for a manual one. It was impossible to do anything useful while holding the pump’s suction cup to my chest with one hand and operating the handle with the other. I struggled with the routine, and the loss of at least two or three productive hours each day.
After weighing the possibility of introducing drugs like Reglan (metoclopramide) and Motilium (domperidone), which are often prescribed to women who have difficulty producing milk or have adopted a newborn and want to breast-feed — the side effects and the ease of obtaining the drugs — Michael went the natural route. He settled on the organic lactation booster route by taking triple the normal dose of More Milk Plus, liquid fenugreek and also drinking lactation tea a few times a day.
So after the pumping and addition of natural lactation stimulants. is Michael Thomsen able to lactate? I’ll let you find out for yourself.
Michael aside, there are types of liver diseases that actually cause male lactation. There is a condition called male galactorrhea, connected with a small number of older boys and men in which a milky fluid from their nipples, in a condition. The fluid seems to be broadly similar to the milk produced by women. And of the mammal species, 10% of males are able to lactate: lions, wolves, gibbons, and according to Discover, humans.
So yeah, as awkward as a male naturally producing breast milk sounds, it CAN happen. That said, the question remains: would many men do it?