Equal Opportunity Breastfeeding?

Sunday, September 21, 2008
As I was hunting around the house this weekend for assorted baby accoutrements, I came across my dusty stash of breastfeeding supplies. The pads, the Lanolin, the ice packs--oh the glory. It reminded me of the fruits of one of my late-night-nursing Google sessions, when, during what seemed like the ninety-sixth feeding of the day I asked Google, in sheer desperation, "Can my husband take this awful horrible nursing over?" (I sometimes use Google as a sort of Magic Eight Ball--it is surprisingly well-suited for this function). So--Do you know? That, physically, men can breastfeed? Yes, that is right. Men have the same ducts and tissues women have, as well as the hormones necessary for milk production. Males of many different mammalian species have the potential to lactate, and one--the Dayak fruit bat of Southeast Asia--does so spontaneously. In 2002, Agence France-Presse reported a short piece on a 38-year-old man in Sri Lanka who nursed his two daughters through their infancy after his wife died during the birth of her second child. And, interestingly, anthropologist have observed male breastfeeding in certain Pygmie societies in Central Africa, where male and female roles are virtually interchangeable.

Here it is ladies. Here is your chance to throw the words of your well-meaning husband into his well-meaning face. Do you REALLY wish you could help out with the nursing if you could? Do you REALLY mean it when you say that, if it were possible, you would take the cracked nipples, the 2 hour feedings, the incessant pumping, the cow comparisons--that you oh so wish you could bear some of the burden? How is your from-the-village Mom going to feel when she sees her first-born son with a my Breast-friend on instead of that briefcase?!? I know plenty of Indian boys (men?) whose mothers don't like to see them washing their own dishes and doing their own laundry, thinking that such tasks are firmly in the domain of the wife--what I would pay to see these same mothers witnessing the joys and wonders of their lactating sons...
3 comments:
Ashwin Sodhi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashwin Sodhi said...

Haha! Sandeep is screwed! The baby too - I couldn't find the nipples in that Punjabi jungle...

Anonymous said...

Equal opportunity indeeed. Once again, Sri Lankan men seem to have picked up the slack for their South Asian brothers who still suffer from the oh-so-aptly described "prince syndrome" that most men of color from the subcontinent suffer from.

It reminds me of a very popular sketch on the oh-so-fabulous BBC TV series Goodness Gracious Me where two Indian immigrant mothers in London debate and quarrel incessantly over whose son has achieved the most in every facet of life from academics to sports to looks and so on.

The argument ends with one mother always ending it with "But how big is his dhanda?" Well, we do know one thing...not quite that big at all.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6161691.stm

It seems that Sri Lankan men will have to pick up the slack on this one as well. Durex and Trojan - please send your regular sizes down south to Colombo please.

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