Breastfeeding Fathers

This topic was mentioned in class and I was extremely intrigued.  I decided it to research it further, as I am sure I wasn’t the only one who was pretty much shocked.

Men can breastfeed.  This is possible because all men possess the essential components for lactating:  pituitary glands and mammary glands.  So why don’t men always produce milk when a baby is born into the family?  The reason is is that these glands have to be activated in some way. In women, this usually happens during pregnancy, when the brain’s pituitary gland starts releasing large amounts of a hormone called prolactin, which prepares the breasts to produce milk.  Men also produce prolactin in much smaller amounts.  It is one of the hormones that is released after orgasms possibly producing a feeling of satisfaction.  Women who adopt infants can sometimes begin to lactate and breastfeed these children.  Under the appropriate psychological circumstances, the same thing can happen with men. 

One of the cases I was able to find was about a man in Sri Lanka who’s wife had died.  The baby refused powdered milk and in desperation he offered her his nipple.  He then began to lactate and was able to feed his 18 month old. 

This is an absolutely incredible phenomenon that totally makes sense!

All this information was found at

Rebekah Pinegar

~ by rebekahcp on November 14, 2009.

2 Responses to “Breastfeeding Fathers”

  1. Wow, I had known that men can lactate but I had no idea that it was plausible that a man consider that a man breast feed a child. That is really fascinating. Danielle mentioned a culture near the arctic where the men are the predominate breast feeders. Does anyone know if this culture is still is around or if there have been any others?

    Tracy Hubertz

  2. I was also very interested in this topic when it was mentioned in class. I can’t find any specific information about the arctic society where men breast feed, but there seems to be a lot of information about there about men in our own society that do it too. It surprises me how we still hear about people complaining that men have useless nipples but yet there actually is a use for them!

    kathy phan

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