biology zoology blog Fathers milk lactation

Father’s Milk

Father’s Milk – a thing of the future?

In an encyclopaedia of 1909, I found the statement that the only mammal in which males are known to regularly supply milk to their offspring was a snowshoe rabbit in the Rocky mountains by the name of Lepus bairdii. Apparently this claim could not be substantiated later on, for the current view is that in spite of the presence of the nipples in many mammalian males, no male is known to normally lactate on a regular basis (but wait!). A combination of oestrogen treatment and nipple stimulation can, however, provoke lactation in male individuals of a wide range of animal species and spontaneous lactation, even in human males, is known. That male and female breast tissues aren’t terribly different is also borne out by the sad, but little known fact, that men, too, can suffer from breast cancer.