Wedding Woes


Swedish Man Wants to Breastfeed His ChildrenModern parents try—at least in theory—to share parenting duties equally. Ragnar Bengtsson, 26, takes that principle so seriously that he wants to extend it to the ability to breastfeed his future children. As of Tuesday, the Stockholm man will begin pumping his breasts every three hours every day until December in an attempt to make them produce milk. The effort won't simply be a private one, either; Swedish TV8 is going to document Bengtsson's attempt to make himself lactate in several installments on the evening news program Aschberg. Bengtsson himself is going to keep a blog on the station's site titled "The Milkman—One Drop At a Time." In everyday life, some of the pumping will be very public because of the strict regimen. Bengtsson is a full-time student in economics at Stockholm University, so he foresees sometimes needing to pull out the pump in the middle of a lecture. "But really it doesn't bother me if it makes people uncomfortable," he says. "If they have issues with it that's their problem." Why is Bengtsson going through all this? As of right now, he has only one two-year-old son who isn't going to be part of the experiment whether the milk starts flowing or not. But Bengtsson might want to be able to breast feed future children, and he thinks that it might benefit other fathers as well: " [I]f it works it could prove very important for men's ability to get much closer to their children at an early stage," he told a Swedish website. Medical experts are skeptical about his chances of success.  Sigbritt Werner, a professor of endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet said that after three or four months of steady pumping, it might be possible to produce one or two drops of milk. "If he works on it regularly he'll likely notice a layer of tissue forming beneath the areola and it should be possible to produce enough of the hormone prolacting to cause lactation," she said. However, she does think that there's some emotional value in men learning to use their breasts to soothe their child. The breast not only functions as a food source, but as way to comfort and bond with the child, according to Werner. "Men don't need to strive to produce milk, but they should take the opportunity to get closer to their child by offering them their breasts in the same way as women," she says.

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