The ground-breaking hormone kit involves a man taking a mix of medications throughout his spouse’s pregnancy so he grows milk ducts in time to breastfeed upon the baby’s arrival.
And according to its inventor, 24-year-old Marie-Claire Springham, it could be available in the next five years.
The ‘chestfeeding’ kit, which was Ms. Springham’s final year university project, was adjudged winner of first Meaning-Centered Design Awards; and although it is yet to be tested, it is estimated that men who use this invention would most likely grow breasts up to a B cup and produce breast milk.
With the men required to take the hormone progestin once a day as soon as it is discovered that their spouses are pregnant, milk-producing glands start developing thanks to the progesterone hormone.
At the last six weeks of the woman’s pregnancy, another drug- domperidone- would be administered four times a day to stimulate the production of prolactin, the hormone that tells a woman’s body to start producing breast milk.
The male would then continue taking this hormone-drug cocktail for as long as he wants to breastfeed.
Ms. Springham detailed that ‘many women struggle to breastfeed. This is an empathy tool so a male partner could help in a really useful and supportive way.’
At this stage, he would be capable of releasing milk if he held a baby due to the release of the hormone oxytocin.’
According to her, because a man’s nipples largely need more stimulation than a woman’s, the kit consequently comes with a pump to help release milk – one which is often also used by women who struggle to breastfeed.
Katherine Fisher, a lactation consultant welcomed this ‘chestfeeding’ idea saying ‘male lactation is clinically possible, and provokes interesting questions about what parenthood means in the 21st century.’
‘Lactation can be induced in certain circumstances via a course of hormone therapy. All attempts to better understand what gender means in parenting should be welcomed.’
Ms. Springham further explained that a man’s breasts may swell up to a B cup in order for them to hold breast milk, before adding that the kit contained a compression vest that acts like a breastfeeding bra.
She also stated that ‘the kit has the power to take what we thought we knew about parenting and turn it on its head, breaking down the strict gender and societal roles we have created for new parents.
‘I hope the discussions raised by this project are taken further and inspire even more innovation and progress.
‘This could be available within the next five-to-10 years.’