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Swedish Dad Tries to Breastfeed

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San Francisco Chronicle: When mom is away, most dads offer a crying newborn a bottle of milk, a pacifier, a pinkie finger. But a Swedish dad is embarking on an experiment that he hopes will allow him to soothe a baby with his own milk-filled breasts.

Ragnar Bengtsson
Ragnar Bengtsson, a 26-year-old student at Stockholm University, is regularly breaking out a breast pump to induce lactation. Bengtsson is the father of a 2-year-old child, but he has no plans to nurse his toddler. Rather he wants to breast-feed future children and inspire other dads to offer their breasts as a way to bond with their children at earlier stages of development.

"Anything that doesn't do any harm is worth trying out. And if it works it could prove very important for men's ability to get much closer to their children at an early stage," Bengtsson told The Local, an English newspaper in Sweden.

The story was major headline news in the Nordic country, and now it's making the rounds on all the parenting blogs. The story will probably continue to escalate as Bengtsson's efforts will be documented by Swedish TV8. Also, he maintains a blog on the station's Web site.

Bengtsson plans to pump his breasts at three-hour intervals every day until the beginning of December. He's a full-time economics student, so he won't always be able to pump in private.

"I'm going to have to pull out the pump during lectures," he told The Local. "But really it doesn't bother me if it makes people uncomfortable. If they have issues with it that's their problem."

Endocrinologist Sigbritt Werner told The Local that Bengtsson might produce "a drop or two" after three or four months, but Werner says it is unlikely that he will produce enough milk to breastfeed a child without inducing lactation through the use of hormones, which Bengtsson does not intend to do.

"Women breastfeed after they've been bathing in estrogen during a nine month pregnancy, so obviously it takes some time," Werner, a professor of endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, told The Local. "But if he works on it regularly he'll likely notice a layer of tissue forming beneath the areola and it should be possible to produce enough of the hormone prolactin to cause lactation," she said.

This story brings up some questions: What if men could easily produce breast-milk? Would men welcome the responsibility of breast-feeding? And would moms even want dads to step in to help with nursing?

Read more hot stories moms are talking about.

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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Bettina September 9, 2009, 2:47 PM

The real question is, if men could breastfeed, would they put up with the discrimination and disapproval that women have been suffering under? Would they put up with being undermined or “Booby-Trapped” by well-meaning (and sometimes not so well-meaning) family members, doctors, hospitals, employers and insurance companies? I think not, not for one minute! If men could breastfeed, I think they would punch anyone who tried to convince them under false pretenses that they didn’t have enough milk squarely in the nose! Hey, that’s giving me an idea …next time an employer fires a woman for taking breaks to pump, or next time a hospital scores poorly on breastfeeding support (which most do), perhaps we should send the men to the nurse-in … I don’t think men would feel guilty for not breastfeeding, they’d get mad at the “Booby Traps”—the cultural and institutional barriers that keep moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. And then, hopefully, they’d get even.

Kat @ For the Love of Chaos September 9, 2009, 3:06 PM

I’d have to say NO. There is a reason that I am able to lactate and my husband is not. I think nature knows what it’s doing. If God intended for men to breastfeed… well, they’d have BREASTS! lol

Nope September 9, 2009, 7:28 PM


Its called genetics.

Mel September 10, 2009, 5:13 AM

Good luck Swedish dad my breasts were never the same after and being a man that usually goes shirtless at the beach you may have some sagging. Just saying.

Anonymous September 10, 2009, 5:51 AM

No, I don’t want my husband to breastfeed…that was my time and bonding with my babies. *SIGH* something is just so wrong about this.

PlumbLucky September 10, 2009, 6:59 AM

But you better believe I got a chuckle out of this and sent it to my husband, as my little bumpkin was mad hungry one day when he was tiny and proceeded to attempt to latch onto his Dad’s nipple through his shirt ;-) April 21, 2011, 8:34 AM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. Outstanding :) May 7, 2011, 10:37 AM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. Amazing :) June 2, 2011, 8:29 PM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. Outstanding :) June 3, 2011, 12:07 AM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. WTF? :) June 4, 2011, 8:49 PM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. Neat :) June 5, 2011, 12:25 AM

Swedish_dad_tries_to_breastfee.. Super :)

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