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Men Who Breastfeed

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Did you know that MEN can breastfeed? It's true!

breastfeeding men

The notion of men breastfeeding is bizarre at first ... but doctors say it's entirely possible. Men possess the two most vital components for lactating -- mammary glands and pituitary glands. When those mammary glands are stimulated (by a baby's sucking), they can actually produce milk.

We swear, we're not making this up.

In 2002, a Sri Lankan man named B. Wijeratne lost his wife and was left to care for their 18-month-old daughter. When the child refused powdered milk, Wijeratne tried something different. "Unable to see her cry, I offered my breast," Wijeratne told a Sri Lankan newspaper. "That's when I discovered I could breastfeed."

David Livingstone, the traveler and explorer, notes an instance in Scotland of the male breast yielding milk. In this particular circumstance (way back in 1858), a man's wife had been put to death, and in his extreme desperation, the man put his son to his breast. To his surprise, the man found that his breast produced the needed milk.

In the Aka Pygmy society, a community of approximately 20,000 people who live in Central Africa, fathers commonly suckle their babies.

Even the Bible mentions male nursing. Numbers 11:12 says: "Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?"

In a British survey, nearly one in four (or 24.5 percent of men) in England and Wales said that they would breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, provided that they were physically able to do so.

(We have the perfect thing for them to wear: the male nursing shirt, designed by Ronnie Ã-sterberg.)

This video provides further food for thought:

OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz says, "While it may be theoretically possible for a male to lactate, it is the rare instance where this could actually happen -- and rarer still that it might occur spontaneously in a man NOT on a prolactin-increasing drug (for example, Reglan -- a common acid reflux medicine -- does this, and is used to increase falling milk supplies in nursing moms), or in a man with a pituitary prolactin-secreting tumor," she says.

"I have heard of adoptive moms breast-pumping relentlessly in order to produce milk and I guess a dad could do this too, but I am not sure that either scenario could reliably result in enough milk production to be the sole nutritional source for a newborn," the doctor explains. "Best leave this to good old mom, or invite Salma Hayek over for dinner!"

"God bless that Indonesian dad, though," Dr. Gilberg-Lenz concludes. "Men and women DO share the instinct to protect their children at any cost."

Would you let your husband breastfeed your child?


next: The Littlest Thieves
100 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jenn August 13, 2009, 12:52 PM

When my son was born his nipples were leaking and I freaked. The nurse said that was due to my high hormone levels and it is common. She explained that men are able to produce breast milk and they can breast feed. I was a little shocked at that lol.

Ally August 13, 2009, 3:12 PM

I’m completely shocked at this and feel so naive and just a little grossed out - blame my bit of existing immaturity.

Incredibly bizarre news, this is.

I’m not sure if I could be open minded to let the father of my child to breastfeed him.

Liz August 13, 2009, 9:21 PM

Why am I reminded by that one paticular episode of Family Guy, when Peter breastfeeds Stewie. And why is that woman in the tub doing this interview

bb August 13, 2009, 9:57 PM

A father breastfeeding would be more “natural” than an adoptive mother attempting to lactate.

shea August 13, 2009, 10:02 PM

omg i thought of that family guy episode 2 haha

brianna August 14, 2009, 12:22 AM

i’m sorry but i can’t get past the picture. too gross for words. and wrong on so many levels.

lee August 14, 2009, 2:26 AM

Brad Pitt, since you are all about helping people, how about investing with me on selling phones with the numbers 911 highlighted so kids know what to dial in case on an emergency. Kids are visual and kinesthetic learners before the read/write can occur, and this would help save lives. Not only it would assist kids, but also the elderly, people with dementia, and for the blind we could have the numbers with rough edges. Every minute counts since the police are the first to be called, than they determine the emergency which goes to paramedics and as I said, every minute counts. We can use more than half of the sales to give to charity or use the money to rebuild New Orleans. How hard can this be? It’s my idea, you’re the face, and the money will be well spent, not to mention the lives it saves. Just today, a little boy saved his pregnant mother who had a seizure and according to most parents they don’t feel all that secure that their child would remember while in an emergency. It doesn’t have to be just Brad. Hope he is interested and they could be the face since they could advertize out product and decide if they want to keep their share. I just know I would like to share mine, since material things aren’t all that important to me. I mentioned Brad because he cares and the money could be used to help elect him to office, and build New Orleans, making it the greatest place to live, work and play. If not I hope a major company is interested and I’ll still do as I said and help elect him, if he wants, and use the funds for assist the City. It’s never been done and we could market a special phone to be designed in such as great way. He has an architect mind and could even design it himself. I don’t give out private info. Over the net, but don’t think the website would mind contacting me if any investor likes the idea as much as I do. Brad just has first pick.

Mel August 14, 2009, 7:02 PM

Really! Why is this woman interveiwing in the tub isnt it about men breastfeeding why is she trying to get her ta tas noticed.

Lily August 18, 2009, 4:22 AM

WTF!!!!!!?!?!?! That’s the most disgusting thing ever! Plus that lady didn’t need to show that O_O’ and wtf with the lady in the tub???

Callista August 18, 2009, 9:07 AM

This doesn’t surprise me. I read the book that the tub woman authored (it was am awesome book for those who breastfeed or are interested in it and give examples of some other interesting circumstances of breastfeeding.) As for why she’s doing an interview in a tub, who knows. I was shocked to see the closeup of the woman’s breast though. I mean it doesn’t bother me but usually people censor that (even though it’s JUST a breast)

My Gifted Girl August 18, 2009, 9:42 AM

Ok…weird for sure… the lady in the tub… it makes her message less effective.

Here are the real questions. Who cares if it’s not traditional.

Are the babies able to thrive well?
Is the male breast milk nutritionally balanced?
What are the later effects of male lactation? less likely to have cancer? more likely to have cancer?
Are these men able to lactate because of some hormonal imbalance or lack of fitness?

These are my questions before I could decide if it’s ok. I could accept it.

Robyns Online World August 18, 2009, 12:55 PM

bb’s comment about it being more natural for a father to nurse than an adoptive mother is way off base. There are many adoptive mom’s who successfully breastfeed. The idea of a non-birth parent breastfeeding goes back in history for ages and ages.

As far as men doing it - I guess if it is nutritionally adequate I don’t see the harm in it. I know my husband would never have done it though.

lelsBoymbob September 28, 2009, 3:54 PM

Hello! Repentant klooper for my english jer, buti danged nice re say gJ$)Kd!!!.

HaxHapDrype October 4, 2009, 6:55 PM

Hei Filthy klooper in F7*&%^! partake of of the rural area of my english jer, buti danged charming re suggest .

Jivey October 23, 2009, 8:41 PM

Wow mean breastfeeding I’m sorry, but it’s weird. what is up with men? A lot are not even present during child rearing, some are, but are emotionally checked out. Not sure I’m ready to see them breastfeed, but how about we start out just being in the picture. Yes I am venting. I have a wonderful husband, but I know to many struggling moms out there.

savannadec December 11, 2009, 10:42 AM

Fresh joke! What goes “moof”? A cow with buck teeth.
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