Male breastfeeding: everything you need to know

It may seem strange, but male breastfeeding is possible and documented. This confirms that, unlike other mammals, it is a learned practice although there is a biological and instinctive condition. Therefore, education, awareness and learning the correct technique are very important.

Now, although breastfeeding is a natural behavior of women, this has been affected in its constitution by modern life. The exact moment at which it ceased to be intrinsic to the species to be marked by the choice between breastfeeding or formula use is indeterminable.

Role changes or the increasingly active taking up by women of activities that seemed to be reserved only for men influenced this decision. In the context of these profound transformations and unforeseen turns, the theme of Male lactation surprisingly emerges as a possibility to address the feeding of children.

Mammary glands in women and men

Male breastfeeding: everything you need to know
The male body has breasts just like the female body and hence could suck.

The presence of mammary glands is characteristic of mammals. Only in mice ducts and nipples are not formed. In the rest, the lactiferous ducts and nipples appear, which develop differently depending on the sex, when puberty is reached.

Changes in the breasts occur before birth, during puberty, and in the childbearing years. Also, during menstruation or with the onset of menopause. It’s worth knowing in the fetus there is a thickening in the chest area known as the “mammary chain” or “nursing line”.

At birth, the main milk ducts are formed without alveoli, while the mammary gland remains dormant until puberty. What is interesting is that both cases have the same development and structure for both sexes.

How to provoke male lactation?

Taking female hormones or drugs that affect the mammary glands can activate male lactation. However, as is the case with mothers, it is the frequent and heavy sucking of an infant that can naturally cause milk to be secreted.

The pituitary gland, in both men and women, stores prolactin and oxytocin, substances responsible for milk production. In case of need, due to the mother’s absence or impossibility to provide infant formula, medical historiography documents unusual and curious cases of male lactation.

It is presumable that, by administering a treatment similar to that of foster mothers, it will be possible to stimulate male lactation to some extent. This would include breast stimulation, taking hormones, medications to stimulate milk production, and a male hormone blocker.

How to stimulate the mammary glands?

Tandem breastfeeding: everything you need to know
Some researchers argue that breastfeeding could become a shared task.

One way to stimulate the male mammary glands is by consuming progesteroneA hormone released by a woman during pregnancy. On the other hand, in particular circumstances, the pituitary gland of men can generate prolactin, which would fill their rudimentary alveoli with milk, since their The breasts contain, like those of women, these small hollow sacs or cavities.

Prolactin and consequently milk production can occur from pathological causes not associated with lactation. For example, as a side effect of taking some antipsychotic and antihistamine drugs. Including due to the presence of a benign tumor in the pituitary gland.

A disorder associated with the male breast is gyno, which has to do with the increase or enlargement of the tissues. This occurs quite often during puberty and resolves on its own.

It can also be triggered by exposure to estrogen and androgen. The enlargement and increase of prolactin by stimulation would produce milk, although not in the amount a nursing mother would produce. Another anomaly occurs in the case of galactorrhea or milk secretion, which is associated with prolactin spikes, but not lactation.

Male lactation, more than a myth

The moment in which it was assumed that breastfeeding was exclusively maternal dates back to an unknown past. The truth is the male breasts are evidence that they once shared the feeding of the young. So much so that, given the right stimulus, they would allow them to breastfeed.

Returning to the subject is accompanied by the need to enhance the fact of breastfeeding as a way to correct the course of survival of the species which could be threatened by the rhythms and roles assumed to face modernity. According to UN experts, not breastfeeding counts as an aggression against humanity similar to that of world wars and environmental degradation.

Finally, in the debate on parenting after a period of blind patriarchalism The importance of men in housework and childcare increased. And on that frontier of intimacy, male lactation, which atavisms reduce exclusively to the maternal sphere, is reconfigured in a significant change of era.

The post Male Lactation: Everything You Need to Know first appeared in research-school.



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