Of Milk and Men

Did you know that human men are capable of lactation?


Don’t ask how this conversation got started, because even if I could quite remember, you probably wouldn’t want to know. One way or another, John and I stumbled across this exciting piece of information last weekend. I see the implications of this discovery as hugely beneficial in the somewhat unlikely event that we ever decide to have our own children. Three a.m. feedings that can be equally shared without depriving the kid of the benefits of breastmilk? I’d go for that.


Apparently, if a man uses a breast-pump or suckles an infant with some regularity, he’ll start producing milk. After a few weeks, most men can produce a pretty full supply. Male milk also tends to be richer in protein. We didn’t get much of a take on how the hairy chest thing figures in for some guys, but that’s why they invented wax, right?


John is not quite so excited as I am. Thoroughly weirded out might be a better way of putting it, in truth. His worries were all quite legitimate—wet spots on his t-shirt, chafed nipples, the strange impact on gender identity…I can’t say that I blame him. Those sorts of worries for myself are solidly on the list of things that incline me to lean away from having our own kids instead of adopting.


John and I have a running joke of our pros and cons list for deciding whether we’ll have kids or not some day. At the moment, the cons list is substantially longer than the pros. At the top of my mental list of worries is not wanting to completely lose my sense of who I am in order to be a good caregiver. It’s one of those funny equations though—the less scary the shared burden of care is to me, the more scary it’s bound to be to John.


I can tell you one thing, for sure: our conversations about whether we want to be parents or not deeply increase my appreciation for our parents. You guys are incredible. Possibly slightly crazy to have braved the frightening waters of parenthood, but mostly incredible.


As for John and I, nothing is certain, but we’re currently leaning towards adopting a couple of college students when we’re in our late forties.

2 thoughts on “Of Milk and Men

  1. Babies??
    With John’s descriptive synonym that ‘holding a baby is like having a bomb strapped to your chest’ still prominent in my memory, I can only imagine what the conversation about lactating men did for/to him:)
    Thank-you for the appreciation about parents….You know we weren’t crazy before we had you….just naive…..NOW, we are crazy:)
    Love you both


  2. Milk
    Is this business of men breast feeding a deep hidden secret by men? How did you ever come up with such a crazy subject. I think you ought to advertise it more and free up women. Grammy


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