While the thought of producing an abundance of flowing breast milk is an intriguing thought, many couples find that encouraging lactation is a true labor of love, one that takes a great deal of time and dedicated effort. As beautiful as nursing is, it can be difficult to find time for carefully-timed routine suckling sessions. When breast milk is a true desire (or perhaps even a priority) within a committed adult nursing relationship, but a partner is not always avaiilable to provide suckling, women may opt to use alternative methods of encouraging lactation; they do this by self-inducing.
I met Julie (and her husband Mike) several months ago through Bountiful Fruits, and we have exchanged many emails over that time. When she updated me on her inducing journey, I asked her to share her story with others as a means of encouraging and inspiring, and she graciously agreed to do so. I know her story will give hope to others who dream of lactation and having the opportunity to provide their partner with the gift of milk.
Loving Milk Maid
Julie, 34, and her husband, Mike, 38, have been married for seven years. Their journey into the world of adult nursing began almost a year ago, but it did not immediately lead to lactation–that became a journey all of its own, one that began six months into the experience.
“I don’t really remember when I first learned about adult nursing, or exactly where I stumbled across the information, but it was something I wanted to pursue,” said Julie. “I suppose, like a lot of women, the idea of breastfeeding my husband began with fascination. The more I considered the idea, the more research I did online, and that’s when I found Bountiful Fruits. After spending an entire evening reading through the site’s information, I knew that an ANR was right for me.”
As comfortable as she was with the idea of nursing, Julie understood that the experience would need to feel right to her husband, too. When approached with the suggestion, Mike was immediately receptive, and in May of 2016, this couple’s journey began.
“The nursing was wonderful,” said Julie. “Because we both work in the medical field, our schedules are very erratic; we normally work 12-hour days, sometimes four days a week, on different shifts, so we weren’t able to nurse as regularly–or even as often–as we both would have liked. When we first started our ANR, we were basically just nursing when we had the chance, and found that it was a terrific way to unwind and regroup, which is a big relief for both of us.”
The couple continued to enjoy a fulfilling dry nursing relationship until mid-October, when Julie began to explore the idea of lactation.
“Breast milk was never a consideration. Mike was satisfied with dry nursing, but as our ANR continued, I began to really think about lactation. I think, like our ANR, this was something that started with curiosity, a question like, I wonder if I could really make breast milk? I decided I wanted to try. I told Mike what I’d decided, and he was very supportive of my decision.”
Because she had never experienced maternal lactation, Julie was unsure if inducing would be a possibility. After two weeks’ of research and careful preparation, her inducing journey began.
“We decided to follow the 30-day schedule we found on the site. [Bountiful Fruits]. It really helped to get us organized. Mike and I both decided that breast milk, if it happened, would just be a nice little bonus to what we were already sharing. If lactation didn’t happen, we were okay with that, too. I knew it would probably be a little harder for us than for others because we were only able to nurse one night a week.”
Julie first began self-inducing with regulated morning manual stimulation that included areola massage and nipple stimulation, using fractionated coconut oil as a base. On the nights that Mike was not available to nurse, she stimulated her breasts with a double electric pump, using their typical set suckling time to induce.
“After almost three weeks of regular inducing, my body began to respond. I wasn’t producing yet, but there was an obvious change in my breasts, so I began to use a TENS Unit throughout the day, while I was at work, and in between pumping and nursing sessions. About a week later, I’d produced a few very small drops of colostrum, and it was an amazing experience!”
As the days passed, Julie discovered that the journey into lactation is not always an easy one. She experienced set-backs, due to scheduling conflicts, and the fluctuating ups-and-downs of the milk making process, but throughout the entire self-inducing process, she stayed true to her routine, and discovered that perseverance and patience pay off in the end.
“Self-inducing can be frustrating at times,” she said. “There are times when you think you’re making progress, and then something comes up, and you take a few steps back. This made me consider giving up, but that desire to produce milk just never went away. I’m so glad I kept trying because, after four months, I am lactating. I don’t produce much, just about a tablespoon per day, but it’s still very exciting to see what I’ve been able to do–and there is enough milk for Mike to enjoy while nursing, so we’re both very happy.”
For now, Julie is continuing to induce, with the goal of increasing her milk supply over time. “I’m using the same techniques that I’ve used since last November, and Mike still does his “thing” once a week. With an upcoming change in his work schedule, we’re hoping to be able to add a second nursing session to our ANR, and that’s something to look forward to.”
Along with the prospect of that additional suckling, Julie is now considering the use of essential oils and adding a variety of massage techniques into her daily self-inducing routine. She continues to use her TENS throughout the day, too, believing that this alternative form of stimulation has been beneficial to her personal journey. Even as she works so diligently to encourage milk production and flow, she realizes that the continued effort will simply take some time.
“if there are other women out there who are considering the idea of self-inducing, I would encourage them to at least try. Lactation can be hard–and very slow! But as long as you’re realistic, the journey can be a good one. I never thought I would reach this point in my life, but here I am, making milk, and I really couldn’t be happier!”