A Swedish dad who hopes he might in future be able to help out his missus in the breastfeeding department has embarked on a rigorous programme of moob-pumping to entice vital nourishment from his chest.
Ragnar Bengtsson, 26, has begun "stimulating his breasts with a pump" at three-hour intervals, and will continue to do so until December for the viewing pleasure of audiences of TV8, which is documenting the audacious experiment.
Bengtsson told The Local: "Anything that doesn't do any harm is worth trying out. And if it works it could prove very important for men's ability to get much closer to their children at an early stage."
He added: "If it works and the milk turns out to have a high nutritional value it could be a real breakthrough."
Quite what Bengtsson's fellow economics students at Stockholm University will make of it remains to be seen. He noted: "I'm going to have to pull out the pump during lectures. But really it doesn't bother me if it makes people uncomfortable. If they have issues with it that's their problem."
The milkman did, though, admit: "There have been a lot of strong reactions. Some people think it's completely sick."
Those of you who think Bengtsson is on a pump to nowhere should note the words of Sigbritt Werner, professor of endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, who confirmed three or four months of dedicated effort should yield "a drop or two".
She explained: "Women breastfeed after they've been bathing in estrogen during a nine month pregnancy, so obviously it takes some time. But 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 prolactin to cause lactation."
Werner provocatively concluded: "Men often have trouble finding things. And if the mother is out, the child is screaming and they can't find the pacifier I'm sure there are a lot of men who give their baby their breasts."
We have no doubt Reg readers will await the result of Bengtsson's child-rearing initiative with keen interest. He has a two-year-old son who, mercifully, "is in no way involved in the experiment", The Local notes. ®