Isn’t it funny how an adult nurser can apply almost anything to their ANR?
Well, anyway, I do, and because I am something of a “quote collector”, I often find a great deal of relevance in the simplest message. For example, this one, which truly prompted me to think about the journey into lactation:
For many adult nursing couples, lactation is a very important part of their relationship. It certainly was for me, although I’ll admit, that when Mr. S and I chose to re-open our ANR back in March of 2016, I didn’t realize how important (or monumental) the experience would actually become–and in such a short amount of time. One evening, as he was nursing, I suddenly realized how desperately I wanted to make milk for him. It was honestly an epiphany of sorts, a notion that filled me with wonder and warmth, and stirred up an overwhelming storm of emotions inside of me: the thought of lactating for him made me very aware of my femininity and sensuality…the privilege of being a woman, and the joy I’d always found in being his wife absolutely skyrocketed! Suddenly, I was determined to make milk.
Many lovely people have followed my journey since its very beginning, and they know the ups and downs that Mr. S and I have experienced along the way. Others who have just recently discovered Bountiful Fruits have met the fully lactated woman who now writes this post, and they seem quite surprised by how much non-maternal milk I am currently producing on a daily basis. Like so many others, they have set a personal lactation goal for themselves; some women actually know in numbers how much milk they would like to produce on any given day, and while these goals may lead to some milk or lots of milk, precious tablespoons or glorious ounces, they are all equally important to the lovely lady who sets them. While I treasure every single drop of breast milk that springs from my breasts, I think it’s very important to point out that I haven’t always been where I am now. My personal progression has been a lengthy one, spanning nearly an entire year and a half of my life. It has been difficult sometimes, there has been frustration and fear; lactation is indeed a labor of love, and I feel that it would be very misleading to imply that reaching the goal of full lactation is just this easy-breezy magical experience that happens overnight.
(Oh, if it only worked that way!)
I’m often asked how I achieved my goal so quickly.
It just seems that way, thanks to the magic of the internet.
I am often asked how long it will take to reach full lactation, and while I wish I could give someone a proven time-frame, I simply cannot because every woman’s experience is different. The best I can do to help them along the way is to support them, encourage them, root for them, celebrate with them, and offer this advice:
From the very beginning, I have referred to the inducing and/or re-lactation process as a journey–and that is precisely what it is, like some big, beautiful road trip that promises excitement and adventure. Even before you set out, you have a specific destination in mind. In this case, your destination is the Land of Lactation.
Before you embark on any trip, what do you typically do? You plan a route. You know which roads you will take, and how many stops you will make along the way. Adult nursers do this, too. We plan our “routes” by carefully arranging our daily schedules, ensuring that we will be able to balance life with lactation, and choose our direction, planning exactly how we will ultimately reach our final destination.
We head out, giddy with excitement, following our carefully laid plans, and suddenly encounter a detour along the way. This, of course, removes us from our chosen direction, but it does not mean that we won’t reach our destination. Follow those detours–even if they put you a bit behind on your trip. Eventually, they’ll take you just where you need to be! (And you might even see some amazing sights along the way!)
Unlike a traditional trip, we cannot decide when–or how quickly–we will reach our final destination. This journey cannot be measured in time. It is gauged by milestones and moments. You simply reach your destination when the time is right. And this isn’t always a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it can be wonderful. After all, how often do we have the opportunity to set out on an adventure of a lifetime, free of restrictions and limitations, when we are able to enjoy long, leisurely moments with our partner, pausing to admire the incredible beauty we find along the way? This journey offers the chance to explore, to learn, to share, and to grow, all the while promising an amazing destination at its end. It is a journey of great determination and dedication, but also one of sunsets and roses, dewdrops and soft breezes, moonlight and rainbows, and it is perfection.
Your destination will come in its own perfect timing, and when it does, I hope you, too, will be able to look back on those precious moments you spent as a couple, and realize how far you’ve traveled and how many memories you’ve created…and I hope you smile.
In the end, we all find that the direction we take (and the beautiful destination we aspire to reach) is far more important than how quickly we get there.