Some may find this alarming, others may find this enlightening. But the biological facts are that men have mammary glands.
It’s Why Men Have Nipples!
If you happen to be a mammal, it means you have the biological toolkit within your body to make milk. There are even recorded instances in history of men lactating. It also happens within the animal kingdom.
Obviously, it is quite rare for a man to produce milk. And if you were ever wondering why men have nipples, know you know why.
It is possible that once upon a time, men contributed to nursing their offspring. However, evolution may have gradually realized that it was more realistic for the parent who gave birth to feed the offspring with their milk.
The Evolution Of Breastfeeding
The evolution of milk making animals began before the entry of mammals into the evolutionary scene. There is even evidence of the rudimentary idea of an animal feeding it’s young from its own body, in amphibians called the caecilians.
The caecilians look like a cross between a snake and a worm, and range in size between those too. To feed their young, many sub-species of caecilians will create a nutritious layer of skin that their babies bite off, and eat from their mother.
The mother replaces this skin daily. Just as mammal mothers replace the milk in their breasts as and when their offspring require nutrition.
How We Make Milk
Inside both male and female mammals are mammary glands. These contain alveoli which are filled with milk-secreting cells. When they are not triggered by the hormone prolactin, they lay dormant.
Both men and women produce prolactin and both experience a reduced sex drive when they produce large quantities of the hormone. However, both can also develop heath problems when they don’t produce enough.
When larger quantities of prolactin are produced in men and women, it stimulates the milk secreting cells to create milk. Men are rarely in a situation where they produce a lot of prolactin.
When women are in late pregnancy, they start to produce more prolactin, and after the birth, they hit peak production of it. The hormone oxytocin is required to release the milk from the breast and into the milk ducts.
Immediately after birth oxytocin levels are very high, and when the baby suckles immediately, milk production can begin in earnest. It begins with a super nutritious early “milk” called colostrum. Many will women produce it even before they give birth.
Male Lactation: Equal Opportunity!
Clearly, this shows that the opportunity for men to produce milk is extremely rare. But with devoted stimulation and the correct hormones, it can and does happen occasionally.
One of the misconceptions about nipples is that they are only for transferring milk. But they are also crucial for pacifying a baby. The production of oxytocin in mother and baby while nursing relaxes them both.
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