I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. If God or Xenu or The Flying Spaghetti Monster or the causal effects of hundreds of thousands of years of species evolution had intended guys to breastfeed, He/It would’ve given us working tits. But that didn’t stop Slate writer Michael Thomson from trying. In this article, Thomson recounts his tale of transforming his moobs to boobs. His story is both fascinating and kinda horrifying. And it raises an interesting question: even if guys could successfully lactate and breastfeed (I won’t spoil the story’s ending), should they?
Now, before you say “Aw, HELL naw!” in your best Will Smith voice, the answer’s not as cut and dried as one might think. Numerous studies have shown that breast milk is better for the kiddies than formula (I don’t judge you if you fed your kiddie formula; there are plenty of moms out there – including my wife – who face numerous challenges breastfeeding and have no choice but to give their babies formula). And for the most part, that’s the only option for moms who can’t breastfeed. I say for the most part – turns out you can buy someone else’s breast milk, but that’s a dicey proposition as there’s very little Quality Control in the breast milk retail industry. (“Honey, this breast milk you bought online? It smells like a White Russian.”) And there’s the psychological factor as well – breastfeeding moms share a unique emotional bond with their babies, and as the article points out, there are cultures that attempt to replicate this, with fathers suckling their babies when Mom’s not around. So if it were possible to keep breastfeeding in the family, if Dad could step up to the plate, why not? Does a baby raised by a single dad miss out by not having a mom to nurse her?
There’s a lot of talk about the “evolution of fatherhood” in the dad-blog-o-sphere. I don’t pretend to know the answer, nor would I jump at the chance to nurse a baby if I could (because damn, getting your nipples chomped on friggin’ hurts). But our definitions of parental roles are changing in ways that would have shocked most dads even 25 years ago. Who knows? In 25 years, Star Wars-themed Hooter Hiders might be the “must-buy” gift for Father’s Day.