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Unhinged Health ‘Experts’ Claim Men Can Breastfeed Too

shirtless man with a baby
Image CreditYan Krukau/Pexels

With off-label drugs, men are still only able to produce a tiny amount of nutritionally inappropriate breast secretions that have unknown properties.

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Breastfeeding isn’t just for women anymore, says a British National Health Services (NHS) trust in a leaked letter reported by The Telegraph. Men who identify as women can now take off-label drugs to produce breast secretions that are “comparable to that produced [by a woman] following the birth of a baby,” according to the trust. This statement comes just months before the ninth edition of breastfeeding nonprofit La Leche League’s landmark book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, is set to release. Except this time, it’s only titled The Art of Breastfeeding. Just forget the word “womanly” was ever included.

While La Leche League is no stranger to pandering to those who would rather call it “chestfeeding” and pretend that men can breastfeed too, the NHS statement is a further confirmation that we have collectively forgotten what it means to breastfeed a child and why it has always been an integral part of early motherhood. This memory slippage began with the advent of commercial baby formulas in the early 20th century, which were marketed as doctor-recommended and a good solution for women who were “reluctant” to nurse their babies. With free formula samples given to women after birth by pediatricians who lacked the practical knowledge of lactation, nearly 70 percent of babies in the 1960s and 1970s were fed formula rather than breastmilk. Breastfeeding wasn’t even necessary anymore, isn’t that wonderful?

It was the brain-building and healthier option, companies claimed, as they pushed their product on women in Third World countries who did not have access to the clean water needed to mix formula, leading to the deaths of thousands of infants.

Formula acts as a sometimes necessary option for mothers who aren’t able to breastfeed, but it’s thankfully no longer touted as the best option. We don’t really push formula on every postpartum mom anymore, as we now have baby-friendly hospitals that encourage mothers to breastfeed and new Centers for Disease Control guidance that recommends nursing for up to age 2 (or longer!). While there are still social media wars over whether “fed is best” or “breast is best” and if it causes shame to tell women that breast milk is nutritionally superior to formula, we’ve pretty much cleared up all of this confusion about how moms feed their babies — right?

Health Risks of Male Breastfeeding

Not exactly. Enter: male breastfeeding. The NHS trust, La Leche League, and other breastfeeding organizations claim that those “assigned male at birth” can all nurse their infants using the help of lactation-inducing drugs. The main medication these trans-identifying men are using is called domperidone, which is labeled primarily as a gastrointestinal drug. Domperidone carries an FDA warning for its side effects for women who use it off-label to increase their own milk production, as it’s known to cause heart arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.

We have no concrete data on the side effects it could cause for males who use domperidone, nor do we fully understand the extent to which the drug passes through to a nursing infant. The manufacturer warns that some of the drug does pass into the milk supply of a mother using domperidone and does not recommend that breastfeeding women use the drug.

Though there are side effects of both men and women using domperidone to stimulate lactation, there is something especially heinous about a man taking a drug known to cause serious health complications merely to satisfy his selfish desire to “breastfeed.”

Male Secretion’s Ingredients

Unknown side effects of off-label drugs aren’t the only risks facing infants who are “nursed” by males. There’s also the question of what exactly these breast secretions even are. Male breast tissue contains no lobules, which are the glands that produce milk in female mammals. Men also have extremely low levels of prolactin, the hormone necessary for milk production. Male bodies just aren’t designed to breastfeed an infant like female bodies are — a fact that is obvious to all of us who took sixth-grade biology.

Trans activists often point to the few case reports done on the subject when they claim that trans-identifying men are able to nurse. These reports are extremely limited in scope, with the 2018 report giving zero nutritional analysis of the breast secretions of the male studied. It simply says that he produced eight ounces of “milk” while taking the cocktail of domperidone plus synthetic estrogen and progesterone.

The more recent study analyzed the breast secretions and found that the “milk” from the male is within reasonable ranges for calories, lactose, and protein, but had nearly double the amount of fat as true breastmilk. Increased levels of fats fed to young infants can result in obesity and diabetes in later life, making the macronutrient balance of the male breast secretions inappropriate for a newborn. Researchers didn’t even test to see if the substance produced by the male contains any of the multitude of vitamins, minerals, immunological properties, probiotics, and hormone growth factors found in breastmilk, which have far-reaching benefits beyond just calories.

In addition, both the 2018 and 2023 reports also say that the male patients could only produce eight ounces or less of milk per day, which does not meet the needs of a nursing infant even a week after delivery, let alone for his entire first year of life.

Despite this mountain of evidence, the NHS trust still tells us that there is virtually no difference between male and female breastfeeding. Men are only able to produce a tiny amount of nutritionally inappropriate breast secretions that have unknown properties due to the off-label drugs needed to stimulate lactation, but sure, they can breastfeed too.

Mother’s Bond

While we’ve come a long way from the vast majority of women believing that they don’t need to breastfeed because formula is the superior and easier choice, we’ve also lost a core element of what makes breastfeeding so beautiful: the innate bond it grows between a child and her mother. La Leche League might want to scrub this word off its books, but breastfeeding is truly a “womanly” act, at its very essence. There is nothing more womanly than an act that only a woman can perform.

Though a devoted father might harbor some jealousy when his wife is receiving all of the love and affection from their newborn as she nurses ‘round the clock, he ultimately sees the mother of his child nursing as a beautiful display of her feminine love for their child. He realizes that a mother and a child are not only meant to have this intricate attachment during the first months of life but also actively supports the burgeoning bond between mom and baby.

Today, women who want to breastfeed their babies know they can produce a living food that beats formula in countless ways, as our knowledge of the superiority of breastmilk has grown significantly since the early 20th century. Instead of having to contend with deceptive formula companies, we now have to convince people that only women — not men — can breastfeed. Thankfully, I don’t think it’s a very difficult proposition to accept.


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