Fathers who breastfeed!? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 243 Old 12-13-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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I'm curious about the evidence for this. I've seen lots of anecdotal info, but no hard facts saying men have BF.

Ali, mama to my amazing Arabella 1/14/06
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#62 of 243 Old 12-13-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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Ok I can totally accept that you may not want your male partner to breastfeed, (I wouldn't particularly want mine to either), but I'm still hearing lots of "that's gross/wrong/unnatural/shouldn't be done ever"s without any whys.

Oh yeah, and it's not reverse sexism, it's just plain old sexism - male oppression of women - that I'm talking about. Don't you find this idea so refreshingly/frighteningly challenging to your beliefs of gender roles? Honestly, these disgusted gut reactions are intriguing to me. don't you ask yourself "why?"
Where did anybody say it's gross? You're the second person to say that in this post and I have read through twice and haven't seen anybody saying it's gross or as another poster put it "pervy".


All I have to say is... you can't make me change my mind. na na na na na na.

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#63 of 243 Old 12-13-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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The OP has a few good places to start looking for research (maybe contact some of the people who were looking for men to do the studies?)

But like I said earlier, I seriously doubt there will be any good studies on this for several reasons.
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#64 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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I am totally intrigued with the idea and in fact, even before I saw this thread, was telling DH, I wish you could BF.

Personally, for me, it would be a huge help to have four boobs going instead of two. (I mean, yeah, he'd have to get waxed like that scene in the 40 year old virgin, but still, four boobs--what baby wouldn't love that?)

But I'd like to see studies on male milk composition etc... does it adapt to the baby like mom's does and what not. I would think since men do have some physiological differences that the milk they produce may not be a one to one swap out.

I too question whether or not a guy could think himself into lactating. If only wishes were real...

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#65 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 12:14 AM
 
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But if a man lactates without the use of drugs, surely that's nature too?
I don't buy that men can lactate with just 'positive thinking.' Like, whose male partner around here just randomly produces breast milk, with no hormonal problems? We should have a poll. I bet nobody's.

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I guess I don't understand why people feel so threatened by the idea. As far as I am concerned, anything that contributes to equal parenting is a good thing.
Because it's unnatural, very obviously and indisputably IMO.
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#66 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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Uggh, we did NOT all start out as females. From the moment the sperm hits the egg, our genetic code has written on it whether we are XX or XY (or something else in rare cases). Just because our sex organs' development doesn't start to differ until a certain point and happen to resemble female genitals more than male genitals does NOT mean we were all female.

There's nothing "natural" about male breastfeeding. If men were meant to breastfeed, their breasts would fill with milk after birth (and yes, someone women don't experience that, but it's exceedingly rare). It would also be common in other mammalian species (it occurs occasionally but it's most certainly not common). I'm not saying people can't think it's cool, but not use whether or not it's natural as a stepping stone to make your opinion more valid or open-minded than someone else's.

There's nothing sexist about noting biological differences between males and females. I personally don't like male breastfeeding because I happen to think mothers are unique and fathers have their own special roles, which apparently means I hate feminism and equal rights, judging by how this conversation usually goes.



We aren't talking about socially constructed determinants. We're talking about biologically constructed determinants. Saying men can't breastfeed or be pregnant is not even on the same level as saying women can't wear pants. It IS biologically determined, whether it offends peoples' sense of equality or not. Being equal does NOT mean being the same, and I frankly don't view women as nothing but men without dicks. Men and women are, overwhelmingly, different from one another on a biological level.

That said, if you want your male partner to breastfeed your kid, fine, it's none of my business. Not wanting your dh to stick his boy tit in your kid's mouth doesn't make you a bad person.
Exactly - I was just about to post the same thoughts. Well said!
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#67 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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It is obviously a survival mechanism. I have read about this before
actually. And i am not understanding the negative reactions to it.
I would love to know why, honestly
.
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#68 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 03:54 AM
 
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I'm curious about the evidence for this. I've seen lots of anecdotal info, but no hard facts saying men have BF.
I saw a news article about 4 years ago on this subject. A guy in India who's wife died had to take over child rearing duties, because no one else was there to care for the kids-incluing one infant. Apparently at first he just put the child to his breast because it helped quiet her, but after awhile, he actually did begin to produce milk and raised a healthy happy little girl. I sure wish I could find it!
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#69 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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I am quite aware that we have genetic encoding determining biological sex. My point was simply that we start out very similar in the ways that the average person regards sex assignment, eg ovaries/testes up in a similar place and then descending downwards during birth (occasionally afterwards), similar breast tissue composition, etc. Though we certainly have profound differences, we are far more alike than we are different. Many dislike to consider this fact, for whatever reason.

My take is that is a failsafe, something to fall back on in case something traumatic happens. The cases that I have heard of have primarily been that. I don't think that "positive thinking" can induce lactation, if that were the case *I* wouldn't have had so many problems. I have heard of one very progressive guy who chose to bf, with his woman's support, because he wanted the experience. I think there was a journal or somesuch of his online somewhere.

Another thing to consider is the effect physiologically upon a man doing this. He drastically alters his hormonal makeup and stretches out the breast tissue. The man is basically left with a set of breasts afterwards and the personal/social ramifications thereof. Not something to be entered into lightly.

On the other hand, how many babies could be saved during natural disasters if men knew they could possibly feed them? I don't know any fathers that wouldn't choose to at least try if it was that or their babies just dying.
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#70 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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Though we certainly have profound differences, we are far more alike than we are different. Many dislike to consider this fact, for whatever reason.
Exactly. This is my central curiosity...there are several of us here asking this in different ways. It seems some folks think that some other people are trying to change their minds about male BFing, and I really don't think that's the point. I think we're just really curious how your minds work Honestly--I don't feel at all judgmental about this, I just wish I could understand!

I've never understood the way people who firmly see themselves as women (or men) and have clear understandings of that gender role and strong emotional reactions to things that violate that understanding think.** So, when a subject like this comes up where there are some clear differences in how people respond I just get so darn curious!

But, maybe my inability to understand how it feels to know yourself a woman and see yourself has having a unique place in the world as a woman feels corresponds to others' inability to understand my willingness to mix and match: if men can BF and want to--no problem with me. Perhaps that inability to even begin to understand each other's thinking is the problem? I mean, I hear a lot of people saying "why?" and a lot of people answering...but the answers really don't answer the question, maybe because we're just operating in such different mindsets? Am I making sense?

Ellen

**I see this conversation as primarily gender role, not biology. Biology impacts all discussion of gender role because our hormonal/physical differences impact emotions, strength, desires, etc. If women birth children, but men are physically able to BF them, then the conversation reacting to it is about gender role. Sure, there are some biological areas to consider: body changes, milk composition, realistic effort. But this conversation is not dominated by inquiry into these, it's dominated by emotional reaction. And, imnsho, that's our automatic gender roles coming to the fore. If it were really about biology this would be a very scientific and unemotional conversation.
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#71 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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I'm a little puzzled. Question for the moms that are skeeved...
Would you rather your baby have formula if you died? Then get nursed by dad? I've formula fed one child, then breastfed the next. If I have another baby and can't breastfeed for some reason....I'd sell my body on the corner to pay for donor milk or convince dh to breastfeed before I put another baby of mine through formula feeding (hundreds of dollars a month in prescription formula and still had a baby in agonizing pain )

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#72 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:17 PM
 
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Oh, now here's a question...what if a male to female trans. adopted a baby and wanted to breastfeed? Really not much difference right? Why not encourage it? Still many times better than formula.

Please, I'm not against moms who use formula.....just against formula when there are other nutritionally better choices available. I understand that some babies have to have formula...but it doesn't make me feel any less sad for them, or for their Mommies if they wanted to BF.

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#73 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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I'm a little puzzled. Question for the moms that are skeeved...
Would you rather your baby have formula if you died? Then get nursed by dad? I've formula fed one child, then breastfed the next. If I have another baby and can't breastfeed for some reason....I'd sell my body on the corner to pay for donor milk or convince dh to breastfeed before I put another baby of mine through formula feeding (hundreds of dollars a month in prescription formula and still had a baby in agonizing pain )
Yes, I would rather put my child on formula than have a man nurse them. My DH would not nurse our child, I asked him what he thought about it and got a big fat NO. I would pay for donor milk but I have no problem with my child being on formula if I died. My youngest was on formula and we've had no problems. Not advocating for formula, but if those are my two choices, man nursing or formula I'd choose formula.

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Oh, now here's a question...what if a male to female trans. adopted a baby and wanted to breastfeed? Really not much difference right? Why not encourage it? Still many times better than formula.

Please, I'm not against moms who use formula.....just against formula when there are other nutritionally better choices available. I understand that some babies have to have formula...but it doesn't make me feel any less sad for them, or for their Mommies if they wanted to BF.
How do we even know that male "breastmilk" is nutritionally sound?

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#74 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Purple nurples.


At any rate, I think it's been explained quite clearly and politely why some of us aren't into male breastfeeding, I'm not sure why people keep asking the same question.
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#75 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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At any rate, I think it's been explained quite clearly and politely why some of us aren't into male breastfeeding, I'm not sure why people keep asking the same question.

THANK YOU. My thoughts exactly.

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#76 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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Oh yeah, and it's not reverse sexism, it's just plain old sexism - male oppression of women - that I'm talking about. Don't you find this idea so refreshingly/frighteningly challenging to your beliefs of gender roles? Honestly, these disgusted gut reactions are intriguing to me. don't you ask yourself "why?"
Ah yes, the old "breastfeeding oppresses women!" argument. I am not oppressed by my body. I do not need to be liberated from my children. And I don't need men to breastfeed to make me feel okay about myself and my body.

It has nothing to do with gender roles. People keep wanting to talk gender when I'm talking sex.

I find it interesting that you assume any woman who doesn't agree with you is doing so because they've never challenged their beliefs on gender roles, though. Seems pretty sexist to me Rest assured, I have. I'm a sociology major.

I'd also like to see the evidence that male "breastmilk" is nutritionally equivalent to female breastmilk. Considering the huge role that hormones play in milk production, and the fact that men and women have very different hormone levels (sorry if that offends anyone), I would think there would be a good possibility of significant differences.
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#77 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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Ah yes, the old "breastfeeding oppresses women!" argument. I am not oppressed by my body. I do not need to be liberated from my children. And I don't need men to breastfeed to make me feel okay about myself and my body.

It has nothing to do with gender roles. People keep wanting to talk gender when I'm talking sex.

I find it interesting that you assume any woman who doesn't agree with you is doing so because they've never challenged their beliefs on gender roles, though. Seems pretty sexist to me Rest assured, I have. I'm a sociology major.

I'd also like to see the evidence that male "breastmilk" is nutritionally equivalent to female breastmilk. Considering the huge role that hormones play in milk production, and the fact that men and women have very different hormone levels (sorry if that offends anyone), I would think there would be a good possibility of significant differences.
So, if one if these ... lactating men was tested, and the milk was found nutritionally equivalent to female breastmilk, then would father's milk be preferable to formula?
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#78 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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It is obviously a survival mechanism. I have read about this before
actually. And i am not understanding the negative reactions to it.
I would love to know why, honestly
.
How is it a survival mechanism that men can *maybe, sorta* make a quantity of breastmilk (not enough to sustain an infant's nutritional needs alone), probably with lots of drug therapy?

A survival mechanism is that there are other lactating women to whom baby can go if milk is needed. Not trying to squeak out a few drops of something resembling breastmilk from the men.
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I'm not sure I have an opinion or need to as I see it Very few men would do this. The popular culture we live in would rather formula feed then male breastfeed if it were possiable in my own opinion. I say this because often it is MEN without children who are uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public at least what I have experianced.
So those very few men that did and could well how's it effecting me exactlly

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#80 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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So, if one if these ... lactating men was tested, and the milk was found nutritionally equivalent to female breastmilk, then would father's milk be preferable to formula?
I very much doubt that's the case, but, hypothetically, if it were indistinguishable from female breastmilk, I'd probably be okay with giving my babies expressed male milk. But I wouldn't let a man (or another woman, as stated previously) put my baby to their breast (unless I adopted the baby out, in which case, I'd have no problem with her mother nursing her at the breast). If I'm living I'd rather use an SNS and put my baby to my breast, and if I'm dead, I'd rather my baby be bottle-nursed with donor milk.
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#81 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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A survival mechanism is that there are other lactating women to whom baby can go if milk is needed. Not trying to squeak out a few drops of something resembling breastmilk from the men.
Yeah. To clarify, if there was an issue of immediate survival, I'd gladly put another baby to my breast or let another woman nurse my own. But it's not something be comfortable with under normal circumstances, for myriad reasons.
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#82 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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I very much doubt that's the case, but, hypothetically, if it were indistinguishable from female breastmilk, I'd probably be okay with giving my babies expressed male milk. But I wouldn't let a man (or another woman, as stated previously) put my baby to their breast (unless I adopted the baby out, in which case, I'd have no problem with her mother nursing her at the breast). If I'm living I'd rather use an SNS and put my baby to my breast, and if I'm dead, I'd rather my baby be bottle-nursed with donor milk.
Am I understanding this right? If you were dead, you would not want your baby to be nursed by either a man or a woman? Why is that?
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#83 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:08 PM
 
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I came across that article when researching childbirth too. And my gut reaction was 'no way, not natural, God did NOT design that and it's a perversion of his creation'

And then I thought about it for a while and it doesn't bother me at all, and I'd imagine God thought of it when he designed us (yeah, I'm believe that God created the earth~ flame away~). I will often demand (jokingly!) that DH lactate when the baby is teething and insists on nursing all night long So far he hasn't appeased me.

I find it far fetched to think that all men could will themselves to breastfeed. But I don't doubt that it's sometimes possible, especially in an emergency situation. The human body can do all sorts of seemingly impossible things in emergency situations.

This was linked at the end of the Shanley's article
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click...31781&set_id=1

It doesn't really bother me if people would rather use formula than have their husbands breastfeed, that's up to them. Personally I'd rather have me, my husband, a lactating friend, milk bank milk, formula - in that order, but it's an emotionally tied decision that I don't feel I'm able to judge anyone else on.

Somewhat on this topic, I used to type reports for an oncology doctor, and we had a few instances of male breast cancer every year.

We're not even that crunchy, so that isn't really influencing my thoughts.

JMO
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#84 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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I guess I don't understand why people feel so threatened by the idea.
Really? When you consider the way they usurped childbirth, you don't find the idea at least a little bit unsettling?

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#85 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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Really? When you consider the way they usurped childbirth, you don't find the idea at least a little bit unsettling?
To whom does "they" refer?
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#86 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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Really? When you consider the way they usurped childbirth, you don't find the idea at least a little bit unsettling?
:
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#87 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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Sorry, i just realized other people don't read minds and might not know what my pronouns refer to

It doesn't bother me on an individual basis. But i just think of the way men decided we weren't doing childbirth right and if they could just fix us and make us more like machines, it would be better. Thus, the 31% c-section rate.

It just makes me think of the wider implications of a fad of men breastfeeding (not that i think that is likely to happen)

But that is why, at least personally, i have a gut level threatened reaction.

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#88 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:50 PM
 
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hee, hee... this whole topic makes me giggle. Honestly. I'm not advocating dads start putting their babies to the breast - it's just an interesting topic to me. I really don't see why people are so adamitly opposed to it. I swear I'm readingthe same posts as everyone else, and I still can't find any reasoning stated other than that it's "unnatural" (more unnatural than artifical milk from an artifical nipple?) or yucky? (I realize no one said this specificly, or the word gross, for that matter - I was summerising what I thought was meant/implied with just one word. Perhaps I got it wrong - feel free to correct me if I'm misrepresenting your sentiments.) or because they are hairy (but then, umm, what if I had hairy nipples? does that mean I shouldn't nurse either because my child might get hairs in her mouth? what if I/he got rid of the hair - then would it be ok?)

I'm REALLY not being snarky (though, admittedly a little cheeky ) I'm just trying to talk about it and figure out the how/what/why's of what people are saying. I guess it's been spelled out real clearly and I'm just a little slow on the uptake, but I'm still confused.

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Ah yes, the old "breastfeeding oppresses women!" argument. I am not oppressed by my body. I do not need to be liberated from my children. And I don't need men to breastfeed to make me feel okay about myself and my body.
Oh my. That's not what I meant at all, and I don't feel like I said anything resembling that, but I appologize if I was unclear. I simply meant that these ideas of gender roles are so ingrained in us because of sexism, and yada yada yada....

And oh my gosh - I heart you greenfish, will you be my friend?

*side note: I said "gender rolls" earlier - hahahahahahahaha! I bake my gender rolls fresh every morning. I like my gender rolls with icing on top. lol. Imagine what they would look like!
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#89 of 243 Old 12-14-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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It doesn't bother me on an individual basis. But i just think of the way men decided we weren't doing childbirth right and if they could just fix us and make us more like machines, it would be better. Thus, the 31% c-section rate.

It just makes me think of the wider implications of a fad of men breastfeeding (not that i think that is likely to happen)
Alright, I get that, but it's really a different kind of thing, yk? It's not like men were trying to give birth themselves - quite the opposit, in fact! I don't really see how that applies here. But like you said, it's not like it's going to become a fad. (hmmm... wonder why THAT is? probably the same reason so many DHs are so opposed to the idea. but that has nothing to do with gender roles or sexism. not in the least. )
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Originally Posted by lunar forest View Post


Oh my. That's not what I meant at all, and I don't feel like I said anything resembling that, but I appologize if I was unclear. I simply meant that these ideas of gender roles are so ingrained in us because of sexism, and yada yada yada....
Ah well, you'll have to forgive me, I've heard the breastfeeding/children/family/etc oppresses women argument so many times...obviously I understand institutionalized sexism and the way gender roles and stereotyping, etc, affect us. At any rate, i don't see it as an issue of gender roles. I definitely think fathers can and are warm, loving, nurturing, etc. I just don't think it's a biological norm for them to be breastfeeding, anymore than it's a biological norm for them to menstruate. Yeah, some guys might be have liquid come out of their nips, that doesn't mean it's breastmilk anymore than a guy with blood coming out his peen is having a period.

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*side note: I said "gender rolls" earlier - hahahahahahahaha! I bake my gender rolls fresh every morning. I like my gender rolls with icing on top. lol. Imagine what they would look like!


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But i just think of the way men decided we weren't doing childbirth right and if they could just fix us and make us more like machines, it would be better.

Anyway, if people want to argue the issue from a perspective of "natural," I think a more efficient argument would be whether or not it matters if it's natural.
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