Father’s Milk

These days it is not unrealistic for the father to care for the children as well as the mother.  Single parent homes are becoming more common, and the father may be obligated to care for the children himself.  The only thing that is not expected of men is to nurse the infants by breast feeding after birth.  For awhile this reason was merely because society did not believe that men were capable to lactate.  In the article “Father’s Milk” in which I am referencing the author talks about why they believe human males are capable and why they may not be.

The article explains how there are only one or two mammals where the males lactate naturally one of these are the Dayak Fruit Bat. Now there are technologies such as hormone injections that have been shown to cause lactation in males and virgin cows. The steers have been injected with estrogen and progesterone and began to produce milk. Cancer patients that were treated with estrogen supplements started to secret milk as well as individual injected with Prolactin.

The only concern the author had with men beginning to lactate and care for young was the lack of experience that they actually have.  Women have been taking care for their young for so long that they have become natural nurtures.  It would be difficult for both parents to be tied down unless it could be done equally.  In most cases with other species the male gathers food while the mother nurses the young if the male had to nurse the young as well it may delay hunting or going to a job in humans.

Here is the link to the article

http://discovermagazine.com/1995/feb/fathersmilk468

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One Response to Father’s Milk

  1. The whole point of all those chapters out of Hrdy was to get rid of this idea that women are natural nurturers. Women aren’t inherently emotionally attached to their babies at birth anymore than they are programed to care for them. We do see this kind of behavior in mice and other less complex mammals, but among primates social and natural environments play a much greater role in determining our behaviors. Women have to learn how to care for children, just like men have to learn how to care for children. That’s why we see such a great diversity of different child care techniques in the many cultures around the world — people learn how to do it differently. It doesn’t make sense to say that men lack experience in nursing when a woman who has never had a child has no experience in nursing either!

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