Weird but true: Men can actually lactate and produce milk

Mind blown! Men can lactate and in rare cases, breastfeed.

Imagine being able to take it in turns with the hubby to get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby. Think of all the arguments that could be saved. But can this really happen?

According to an article in Discover Magazine in 1995, it was found that all mammals have mammary glands (males included). However, “the glands are generally less well developed and nonfunctional in males, the degree of underdevelopment varies among species.”

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Some men have been known to breastfeed throughout history

However, the likelihood of a man being able to feed a baby is highly unlikely, but not impossible.

In rare cases, some men have been known to produce enough prolactin, leading to lactation, and produce enough milk to feed a baby.

Throughout history there have been tales of men miraculously breastfeeding. In 1896, a South American man was observed by naturalist Alexander von Humboldt of nursing their child after his wife fell ill.

In 2002, it was reported that a 38-year-old Sri Lankan man breastfed his two daughters after his wife died.

Male lactation has also been seen in men during recovery from starvation. This may be because they produce high hormone levels.

Dad with newborn baby

Do men have the equipment to nurse their offspring?

In theory, men are born with the basic equipment to breastfeed. They have the basic breast tissue needed to produce milk. They have pituitary glands, milk ducts (not as many as a female), and nipples.

But they don’t have the natural hormonal changes that occurs naturally during puberty and pregnancy to be able to lactate. 


Out of all the male species, the only animal that spontaneously produces milk is an Indonesian fruit bat.

Maybe one day men will be able to join in with nursing their offspring. But for now, they can just help bottle feed their little ones while mum has a bath!

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