Did a Man Really Breastfeed a Baby?

There are reasons to doubt it

By William M Briggs Published on February 17, 2018

A paper in the journal Transgender Health reports that a man injected with a myriad of chemicals was able to temporarily breastfeed a baby.

The press is reporting the event .. enthusiastically. For instance, The Guardian calls the event a “breakthrough.”

There are reasons to doubt the study, however, as we shall see.

Reported Details

Here are the salient details. A thirty-year-old man desirous of breastfeeding presented at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery.

The man at that time was in a “feminizing hormone regimen,” taking spironolactone, estradiol, and micronized progesterone. He was also taking occasional clonazepam for a “panic disorder” and zolpidem for insomnia.

Presumably because of the long use of hormones, and without augmentation surgery, the man’s breasts appeared well developed.

To induce lactation, the researchers:

(1) increased estradiol and progesterone dosing to mimic high levels seen during pregnancy, (2) use of a galactogogue [a lactation-inducing drug] to increase prolactin levels, (3) use of a breast pump with the speculation that it would increase prolactin and oxytocin levels, and (4) subsequent reduction in estradiol and progesterone levels, with the intention of mimicking delivery.

Potentially Dangerous Drugs

The galactogogue was domperidone, which is banned in the United States. The FDA said:

The serious risks associated with domperidone include cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and sudden death. These risks are related to the blood level of domperidone, and higher levels in the blood are associated with higher risks of these events. Concurrent use of certain commonly used drugs, such as erythromycin, could raise blood levels of domperidone and further increase the risk of serious adverse cardiac outcomes.

Domperidone is used ordinarily as a digestive aid. A listed side effect is “swelling of the breasts or discharge from the nipple in men or women.”

The man was able to secure domperidone from Canada.

How Much Milk?

After one month of treatment, the man “was able to express droplets of milk”. His drug dosages were increased. After three months of treatment “the patient was making 8 oz [one cup] of breast milk per day.”

The baby in question finally arrived weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

Here are the reported results:

The patient breastfed exclusively for 6 weeks. During that time the child’s pediatrician reported that the child’s growth, feeding, and bowel habits were developmentally appropriate. At 6 weeks, the patient began supplementing breastfeedings with 4-8 oz of Similac brand formula daily due to concerns about insufficient milk volume. At the time of this article submission, the baby is approaching 6 months old.


This is where we should suspect we haven’t learned the whole story.

This is where we should suspect we haven’t learned the whole story.

Newborn babies weighing 6-7 pounds require about 14-17 ounces of breast milk per day. This is double what the paper reports the man could produce.

Normally developing babies at six weeks need somewhere north of 24-30 ounces of milk daily. The paper reports the baby’s diet was only then supplemented by 4-8 ounces of formula. This means the man must have consistently been producing at least 20 ounces of milk per day!

No paper offers no details of the content of the man’s lactation. Was it mostly water? How much fat? How much lactose? Did it differ in any way from a new mother’s normally produced milk? This is a most curious, even glaring, omission from a medical study of a breakthrough in male lactation.

We also hear nothing about the baby except a second- or third-hand account from a pediatrician. The paper does not claim to have growth information directly from the pediatrician. Was it a self-report from the man?

No chart of the baby’s weight-gain is given. No blood work is reported. This would be considered a stunning oversight in a normal medical paper. It is not as if blood work couldn’t be done. Blood work of the man’s feminine hormones was reported through time.

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Non-puerperal (not-due-to-childbirth) induced lactation has been reported in women. Success rates to full milk production vary, but range between 31-90%. This must be less in men. Recall too that women typically produce more milk than babies need.

Males do have the rudiments of tissue in their breasts that might allow some lactation with hormone treatment. But no research to this date suggests a man can produce enough milk to feed a baby. It’s an open question whether the milk from lactating men matches on average the content (lactose and so on) of women.

Not the Last Word

There are potential dangers in male lactation. The man took “spironolactone while breastfeeding for androgen blockade.” A metabolite of spironolactone is cancrenone, which is excreted in breast milk. It “has been reported to have tumorigenic potential in rats.” The amount passed is “thought to be clinically insignificant.”

The New York Times reports on the study authors. Tamar Reisman is a physician at Mount Sinai. Zil Goldstein is a nurse practitioner and “transgender activist.”

We have not heard the last word on this research.

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  • Paul

    What responsible parent would let their kid get close to that chemically laced thing.

    • Kelly B

      NO responsible parent would do this.

  • G Hazel

    people get upset when cows are given hormones for dairy milk – why is there no similar concern for the multiple residual chemicals and hormones in this fluid given to a newborn baby?

  • Trilemma

    A miracle of modern endocrinology.

    • Jennifer Hartline

      No. A horror. A repulsive twisting of God’s design for the human person.

      • Trilemma

        You may see this as a nightmare come true and this woman may see this as a dream come true, but either way, it’s an amazing accomplishment.

        • It is not a woman. It is a man, with a mental disordering making him wish to pretend he is a woman.

          • Trilemma

            What should the medical treatment be for people with this mental disorder?

          • MichaelGC

            Congratulations! You just convinced me to invoke the block feature of Disqus.

        • D McGovern

          It is not an “accomplishment”. The man accomplished nothing. He pumped himself full of drugs – one that is illegal in the USA and for giving it to a helpless baby he should be charged with child endangerment – and excreted a dubious substance that has not been tested. That is not an accomplishment – it is insanity (as well as child abuse) and the treatment for insanity is not more insanity.

          • Trilemma

            I agree that this woman’s milk should be tested for unsafe levels of medications or hormones. What should the medical treatment be for people with this “insanity?”

          • D McGovern

            There is no “woman” involved in this situation. Get a grip.

          • Trilemma

            What should the medical treatment be for people with this “insanity?”

          • D McGovern

            Trolling is an undignified activity and asking stupid questions is just plain stupid. Go away.

          • Kelly B

            Well said – you are so right!

        • MichaelGC

          If it even happened at all. Did you read this article?

    • Ken Abbott

      Is that what they’re calling Frankensteinian manipulation these days? Science enslaved to ideology?

  • Luminous

    The publication is named Transgender Health.

    I wonder if it’s science – or propaganda?

    Take a wild guess.

    • Transgender health is a contradiction of terms. Transgenderism is a serious mental illness, and is often associated with other mental illnesses. It seems to also have an association with Leftism, but it is currently unknown if this relationship is causal or coincidental.

  • Jennifer Hartline

    This doesn’t even touch on the quality and content of the milk itself. A mother’s breastmilk changes throughout the day to perfectly suit itself to her baby’s needs. The foremilk is different in quality from the hindmilk, meaning at every feeding, there are important differences in the milk baby is getting. That’s built-in to God’s design. The milk changes as time goes on and the baby grows older as well. Her milk is made for her baby.
    This cannot be synthetically reproduced.

    This whole experiment is abhorrent.

    • Paul

      “This doesn’t even touch on the quality and content of the milk itself.”

      I wouldn’t even go so far to call that excretion ‘milk’

      • Kelly B

        Amen – it’s toxic perversion excreta.

    • Trilemma

      I’m concerned about the composition of the milk as well. Your arguments are also valid against the use of baby formula. Is this person’s milk worse or better than formula?

  • DR84

    Isn’t this an obvious case of child abuse? The man in question literally used the baby as means to “affirm” he is really a “woman”. That is very disturbing on it’s own.

    • Alice Cheshire

      No more than parents surgically turning Johnny into Jennie and that’s celebrated far and wide (as noted by the name of the journal). The solution to “I wanted a girl but got a boy” problem.

    • Kelly B

      Absolutely child abuse.

  • Jackie

    There is no end to the Pit one gets into in the mind. Where does one begin to comprehend such…
    Cannot even begin to fathom. Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick! God Help us!

  • Wesley A Chambers

    It should be obvious to anyone with sense that children are not to be used as pawns in an ideological game. Breastfeeding is first and foremost about the health of the child, but here we see the child being fed fluids from a man who has been pumped with a concoction of drugs and hormones. This is sick and disheartening.

  • Vuurklip

    Was there perhaps a Dr Mengele in this “study”?

  • Alice Cheshire

    You know, they throw fits when women drink when breastfeeding, take certain medications, etc. I think it’s time to tell your doctor you really don’t care. If pumping men full of hormones and multiple legal medications is a medical breakthrough, then what you do when breastfeeding is completely fine. If the doctor doesn’t agree, he can complain to whatever crazy did this man lactation unethical study and the journal that published it. If medical science thinks this is great, then anything goes. Overweight, smoking, you name it, it’s a-okay with medical science.

    (Plus, it does definitely show how devolved journals have become. Who would ever trust one again after this?)

    • Ken Abbott

      One needs to bring a healthy skepticism to the reading of medical journals. Much has been written in the past 30-odd years about the unreliability of many published articles and some of the frank cheating that has gone on. If any thinks scientists qua scientists are any more immune to human foibles than the rest of the population, that one needs to do some serious rethinking.

    • Maria

      Good point about research journals.

  • Josef Baal-Moloch Haddad

    ::Tamar Reisman is a physician at Mount Sinai. Zil Goldstein is a nurse practitioner and “transgender activist.”::


  • ConservativeOptimist

    According to the link in the article, Clonazepam is passed on to breast milk and could have ill-effects in a baby. Was he taking it while he was breast feeding? If so, how often?

  • MichaelGC

    When I first read this story a couple of weeks ago it appeared only in one outlet, Romper. I followed up every day or so and saw that it still only appeared in Romper. I began suspecting a hoax. After that, it started appearing in multiple outlets, among them the Washington Post and The New York Times. I figured they would not have run with this story unless they had thoroughly vetted it.

    Also, I used Google and found that an average baby at 4 to 6 weeks of age needs an average of 25 oz of breast milk a day (for some reason, they don’t give the nutrition needs of a one to four week old baby). At any rate, that had to have been one hungry baby, since it was only getting about 1/3 of the milk it needed.

    Maybe my first hunch was right, that this is a hoax. I was hoping it was, and will be relieved if it is, as the idea of a needy tranny putting his own validation ahead of a newborn infant makes me sick. When a baby is born to a couple, everything is geared towards protecting and nurturing the fragile, helpless new life. Even birds exert themselves and do without so that they can feed their hatchlings.

    So if it is a hoax I will be relieved, and I will laugh my head off at the WP and the NYT for being fooled. Not so easy to forget is them gushing effusively over this. It’s bad enough that their ethics and standards have collapsed, but this story, hoax or not, is an attack on the institution of parenthood.

  • MichaelGC

    Excellent work, Dr. Briggs!

  • Kelly B

    Typical of LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ parents whose own desires and whims easily trump the the well-being and safety of children. When I nursed my son I hesitated to even ingest advil for a headache lest it hurt him – allowing a baby to ingest artificial hormone and poison laden “milk” is criminal – I pray that this story is a hoax. I’d rather look foolish over allowing a fake story upset me than know a baby is being harmed in this way….

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