Flat White

I made a go of 'chest feeding'

27 June 2022

11:00 AM

27 June 2022

11:00 AM

My wife and I had our first child recently, and I feared not pulling my weight in helping provide nourishment for our son. With the news of the change of terminology from ‘breast’ to ‘chest’, I decided to try my hand at ‘chest pumping’ after the hospital lent us a chest pumping machine.

Early one morning, coffee in tow, I hooked up all the tubes and screwed in all the right things, removed my shirt, got comfortable, taped those horn-shaped sucking cones to my manly chest with two strips of crisscrossing masking tape, and went to town. I used the factory-recommended settings for the factory-recommended duration to ensure I didn’t overdo it on the first session.

I wouldn’t say it was comfortable, but it wasn’t uncomfortable either. At the end of the expression session, I looked for the fruit of my labour. Nothing. Not one drop of expressed chest milk.

The lack of expressed milk did not deter me. I resolved to work harder, believe in myself, and have heart. Men can be women too. I was determined to become a champion chest pumper, producing untold amounts of chest milk.


This is when I learned of lactation cookies from the ‘yummy mummy’ blogs. The cookies promised greater production of ‘breast’ milk (the blogs hadn’t heard that ‘breast’ is no longer the preferred nomenclature). The bag I bought recommended consuming two cookies per day. I made sure to have two cookies with every meal.

The cookies weren’t what I’d call good; they tasted like a combination of sand mixed with tree bark and cat litter, and dunking them in a latte did nothing to moisten these overpriced hockey pucks of hopelessness. I didn’t let that stop me. I needed to prove that biology doesn’t matter and gender is a construct, just like the activists tell us. I too could chest pump. I had to produce.

Daily I expressed, but even after the lactation cookie regimen, the results were always the same: nothing.

I poked, prodded, and pleaded with my chest. I told my man boobs it was for baby. I told the knockers that biology is nonessential. I changed venues to try and get these milk duds flowing: at the cafés parents clutched their children close at the sight of a hunched-over, shirtless, bearded, man dunking lactation cookies in his latte and reading the newspaper with two suction trumpets sucking away at his chest. When I was kicked out of the ‘mothers only’ milk expressing room at the hospital, I explained that the word ‘mother’ is only a placeholder word and the child’s parents, not the hospital, decides who the mother is. The nurses wouldn’t budge.

In the end, I learned that no matter how hard I expressed my chest or changed my terms or venue, I could not get even a microliter of milk. If my child depended on my honkers, we would be in trouble. I did my best. In the name of science, I gave it my all. Personally, I blame the cookies. I had been completely misled.

[Calm down, it’s satire.]

Paul Catalanotto has been draining Swamps Since 1718…

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