You never know what kind of bizarre stuff you’ll run into bumping around the net for link bait. And no matter how many times I tell myself this fact, I am always stunned when it happens; somebody out there ups the ante.
That’s exactly what happened today when I found a parentdish.com blog about Ragnar Bengtsson, a 26-year-old man in Sweden who is committed to breast-feeding his next baby. To that end, he regularly uses a breast pump to “stimulate lactation” at 3-hour intervals throughout his day. An endocrinologist cited by the blog says that the guy might be able to actually produce something. By the time I’d gotten this far reading about Ragnar, the self-described “milkman,” I did what no dude should probably ever have to do. I googled “male lactation.” It turns out that male lactation is a thing that is true.
Guys, we’ve got all the gear: nipples, mammary glands, and the necessary hormones. All it takes is medication that blocks dopamine receptors, or a little hormonal treatment to get that “boost.” Even Darwin postulated that early male humans might have nursed their children before their boobs turned into mere vestigial organs. Science!
Now, I’m totally in favor of abolishing gender stereotypes. Especially the genetically hardened ones like, “hey, you should do all the feeding and baby stuff because…well…you’ve got the milk!” But I’ll admit, this one gave me the heebie-jeebies. As a proud dad, I like to think that I can do absolutely anything my wife can do. And if that means breast-feeding babies then… Well, then… Nope, that weird feeling came back, and not just a concern about the logistics of the thing.
That’s what usually paralyzes me (let’s just say I’ve got some comfort concerns for any tyke that wants a drink for good ole dad; I’m not the least-furry of 8-bit dads). But it’s exactly that weird feeling that I try and pay attention to. It’s usually a signal to me that maybe I’m doing my wife wrong a little bit, ya know?
Now, does this mean I’m going to start taking hormone treatments so that I can nurse my new baby? Probably not. What it does mean is that I’m not going to take it for granted that my wife is going to nurse that baby. Maybe the thought of nursing gives her the heebie-jeebies too. And maybe she wouldn’t mind a break from having our newborn infant dangling off the boob. And knowing all this, I’ll probably pop up a little quicker to fetch that bottle when Mommy’s just tired, and wants to skip a feeding.