Nursing Diary: Weeks 1-18

The First Week (3/26/16-4/3/16)

The First Three Sessions (3/26/16-3/28/16)

S and I have now experienced three dedicated nursing sessions, moving from suckling into the journey of lactation; both he and I are committed to the induction process, and understand that this will take patience and understanding, love, affection, and proper suckling on his part.  Since the night of March 26, our routine has not fluctuated nor varied, and he has nursed for 15-20 minutes at each breast during our scheduled feeding time.

This is morning number four (which will, of course, lead to our fourth feeding around 11 p.m. tonight), and I am experiencing slight emotional changes, something akin to the “nesting” urges I experienced while pregnant with my children. S has been so loving and even more attentive; extra tender and affectionate. I feel euphoric, relaxed, and am already experiencing the need to nurse.

As for physical changes, my nipples are perpetually erect, and I have begun to feel slightly prickling tingles that remind me of the familiar let-down reflex I experienced when breastfeeding my children. There is slight swelling and a bit of tenderness in the right breast. My body has always produced a lot of prolactin, and I wonder if this has caused such sudden changes? I am certainly enjoying the experience and so is S! He told me how very beautiful I looked this morning; maybe I look this way to him because of my role as his loving wife, or maybe it is because I am nurturing him so wholly and unashamedly. His love and adoration have grown ever more encompassing, and I would spend every moment of each day with him if I could.

Four More Days (3/29/16-4/3/16)

S and I have now shared six dedicated night time nursing sessions, and as of the morning of March 29, we have incorporated morning feedings as well, with the hope that it will relax S for the stressful work day ahead while helping to induce my milk supply. This seems to be working well for us, as S was able to wet nurse during our March 30 session.

I am undergoing both emotional and physical changes; the nesting urge and need for affection has increased, and S has been more than willing to accommodate me, taking his role as my loving partner even more seriously as he provides me with all of the support and encouragement I need. There is a new tenderness about him as he takes on an even more strenuous role as protector. I feel so safe and secure in our love.

I have begun to manually express when S is not available to nurse, and this has increased my need for  him. My breasts actually “feel” as if they need to be nursed from, and the mere thought of S or the scent of his pillow bring about the familiar tingling of the let-down reflex.

Physically, my breasts have begun to slightly swell, particularly at the outer edges, I am experiencing tenderness, and a very slight darkening of the areola. During manual expressions, milk is appearing, and S is able to gather it during his feedings.

Our love has grown even stronger; we both look forward to his feedings, and I am more in love with him than ever.

The Second Week (4/3/16-4/9/16)

Two weeks have passed since S and I decided to introduce lactation into our adult nursing relationship, and I have experienced several emotional AND physical changes.

On an emotional level, as a couple, my husband and I have grown closer than either of us could have dreamed possible. We are connected, attuned, and deeply and passionately in love. The fire of our long-time romance is burning with an encompassing heat, and we continue to bond on an incredibly spiritual plane. I feel whole, beautiful, and ALIVE.
S continues to be attentive to my every need, and lends support and encouragement as my lactation level increases. My emotions have reached an even keel, and I feel wonderful, both comfortable and content.
We have followed our nursing schedule without fail for the past 14 days, nursing twice a day as planned, and I have begun to produce proper milk, which is thrilling for both of us.
Physically, my breasts have increased one bra cup size, and, because I cannot express milk on my own at this point, I have come to rely on S to ease my discomfort as the NEED to nurse has increased. He is available (and more than willing) to suckle, knowing how strongly I depend on him.
I have noticed that just after our morning feeding, my breasts feel soft and lighter; as the day progresses (and normally around 1 p.m.), they begin to firm as milk supply increases, and feel fuller and heavier. Approximately an hour after that, I begin to feel the onset of the let-down reflex and manually express (although I am now seeing only drops of milk during the expression, it does seem to ease some of the slight discomfort while encouraging my breasts to produce more milk) my breasts.
By the time S is nursed during our night-time feeding session, he is able to coax enough milk from my breasts that he must swallow while nursing.
As my breasts began to produce milk, we discussed our lactation options, and decided that full lactation is the route we will pursue, although we are both extremely comfortable and content with my current level of lactation.
S reminds me that he will continue to nurse even if my  breasts do not produce milk because it is the suckling and intimacy that he loves.

I will update my nursing journal next week. I’m anxious to see if anything changes between now and then!

The Fourth Week (4/17/16-4/24/16)
Another week has come and gone. We have completed Day #28 in our lactation journey, and everything is going very well. It’s hard to believe that four weeks have passed since the Mister and I re-opened our ANR! The days have flown by, and because of the beautiful connection we’re sharing, both he and I are positive that this was the right decision for us! What was wonderful before almost seems perfect now, almost surreal in some ways, and we are more in love than ever before, something that I never believed could be possible.
We have remained dedicated to our nursing schedule, and have missed only one morning feeding; as time has gone by and my lactation level has increased, with fuller milk supply, we have added a few off-schedule sessions to our routine (as time allows) when I’ve felt that it was necessary to ease fullness and mild discomfort.
It’s been very interesting to watch the transformation in my breasts take place, and S and I have enjoyed the changes as they’ve occurred. There is even greater fullness in the areola, and over the weekend I realized that (another) new bra will be a necessary purchase, as I have increased another cup size. Hopefully, this will be the final increase, as my boobs are getting to be much, much more than a handful–and expensive! 😉 Finding bras in my size is a challenge, sometimes a frustrating one, and I have had much better luck ordering them through catalogs than buying them in stores.
During nursing sessions, the let-down reflex is happening at a much faster rate than it was last week. It is now taking fewer “pacifier sucks” before S falls into that slow, soft, swallow-suck rhythm that tells me he is being nourished as well as nurtured. It’s so exciting! He is swallowing at a much greater rate now, too; frequently and fairly regularly, bordering on constantly. He continues to nurse for 20 minutes at each breast, and remains latched for an additional five minutes per side to help with the “empty and replenish process”. Since this set time has worked so beautifully for us, we’ve decided not to change it in any way.
I have only experienced leakage three times, so at this time, I don’t feel the need to begin using nursing pads, as it hasn’t posed a big problem, although I do seem to let-down at somewhat odd times throughout the day–and during intimate moments, even though I am not fully lactating at this point.
I haven’t suffered from engorgement; my milk supply seems to be fairly evenly distributed and flowing well. Twice, as my supply has increased, the right breast (which was the one that began lactating first, now, and even during my pregnancies) has been a bit stubborn with the initial release. When this has happened, S moved to my left breast, nursed for the set amount of time, and then returned to the right side and was able to feed without any problems. When I asked him, he said that he is getting the same amount of milk from each breast.
Recently, I was asked a very interesting question regarding my menstrual cycle; the question was: will this affect your cycle? I had to answer very honestly. I just don’t know yet. Although some women’s periods stop while they’re breastfeeding, mine never did. This time may be a bit different; I am two days late–and can definitely rule out pregnancy–so it might be possible that the nursing has altered my cycle slightly.
Physically, all is well and wonderful, but emotionally? Well…for the most part, things have been fantastic–as far as my pleasure at being able to nurse my love goes, that is. Unfortunately, we’ve had a few (thankfully minor) things to consider as a nursing couple that have put something of a strain on me. But I know we’ll work through these tiny incidentals as a couple and come to a resolution that’s perfect for us! 🙂

All in all, it’s been a wonderful week, the fourth in many more to come!

The Fifth Week (4/24/16-5/1/16)
I must admit, the fifth week in our beautiful ANR and lactation journey has been quite different from the previous four weeks, but life in itself is a learning experience, so I am embracing the challenges as a very real part of the beautiful nursing journey, and I am finding that I am able to appreciate such realities (even if I don’t truly like them).
The entire week was a bit stressful and overwhelming as I prepared myself for S’ departure. The emotional pull made it incredibly difficult to think of being away from him when the only thing I truly want is for his presence, his strong body within the circle of my arms, and his face nestled against my breast. A whirlwind of activity ensued, and along with breastpump shopping and planning to enjoy a family get-together on Sunday afternoon, S and I had a difficult time preparing our little lady for her father’s going away; she is too little to remember the times when he was away from home for long, difficult periods of time, and because she is quite attached to her daddy, it was hard for her to accept that he would be gone for seven whole days, but he made her feel better by promising to Skype and FaceTime with her. I told her honestly that I would miss Daddy, too, a lot, but she and I would be strong together.
Until Sunday, S and I were able to remain faithful to our nursing schedule, and the feeding sessions became even more meaningful to us; it seemed that we were both attempting to memorize every pull upon my breasts, every kiss we exchanged, and one another’s scents, as if every time would be the final time. I was able to nurse him on Sunday morning at 6:00, as we have done every morning for nearly a month, but I was forced to pump during our 11 p.m. feeding.
I feel that on a very technical and mechanical plane, the pump worked well; I was able to let-down and provide proper breast stimulation to encourage my milk supply to remain at its current level, but to ensure this, I have decided that in S’ absence, I will incorporate at least one extra pumping session throughout the day, and I’ll be tracking my progress to see if the additional pumping sessions have proven beneficial.
On an emotional level, the pump is a hollow substitute for my love’s suckling mouth. Obviously, I am not pumping for pleasure; this experience has shown me all over again that nursing truly is an emotional experience, completely about intimacy and not at all about milk. I have grown so fond of my milk that I dread losing all that I have gained over the past five weeks, but if forced to choose, I would relinquish every drop of milk for suckling. I miss it terribly–and I miss my S, too.
 I was able to talk to S last night, and we decided that, even though distance has separated us, we will be together during my night-time pumping session via telephone. Even if we choose not to FaceTime, which is an option, we will be able to hear one another’s voices, and I think this will be very intimate, loving, and helpful! I am actually looking very forward to tonight’s 11 p.m. pumping!

I will update this nursing diary next week, after S returns, and I hope to have a lot to report! 🙂

The Sixth Week (5/1/16-5/8/16)
I did it! I made it through the entire week without S, and am now able to add to the timeless adage: “Absence make the heart grow fonder–and the breasts fuller!” And because I always do my best to see the bright side of any situation, I can honestly say that, although I hated every minute of our separation, the pumping that took the place of my love’s suckling did aid in increasing my milk supply and boosted my level of lactation, so that I am now truly on my way to being fully lactated, a thrilling goal that I have looked forward to achieving since S and I first discussed the idea of introducing lactation into our loving ANR.
While S was gone, I continued to simulate feedings by pumping at our normally scheduled nursing times of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., and incorporated one additional afternoon pumping session into my routine. To ensure that I would be able to properly let-down and express, I included various sensory triggers into my routine, which included relaxing on his sleeping and nursing pillows, which both carry his scent on their fabric, wearing one of his shirts, and listening to an audio recording of his voice as I visualized throughout each session. We were able to pump together during my 11 p.m. sessions, and hearing his voice softly talk me through the pumping process did wonders for my physical and emotional state!
I am so thankful for a friend of mine, who helped me through the difficult periods of the separation when I couldn’t be with S. He allowed me to express my feelings to him in an open and honest way, and showed me such an enormous amount of support and encouragement throughout the week while offering some wonderful advice. He also shared in my happiness when I reached my lactation goals. 🙂 Nursing friends (who often become true friends) are so vital, as they can provide the understanding of the sometimes complex ANR that a good non-nursing friend cannot.
S and I were able to share our night-time nursing session on Friday night, after indulging in an incredible homecoming reunion, and nursed again the following morning (5/7/16); however, because Daddy was home and there was so much to catch up on, we were not able to nurse (or pump) at 2 p.m., something that my body has now grown accustomed to, and I did experience leakage, a sign that showed me I have reached a lactation milestone.
I can no longer skip a nursing session.
Sunday (5/8/16) proved just as challenging because we spent Mother’s Day with family, and there was no way that we could possibly slip off to nurse (although the idea did cross our minds!), but I was able to close myself away in a room and discreetly hand express, which solved the issues of mild discomfort and embarrassment.
During hand expression, I am now seeing proper milk, and although it is not as plentiful as it will be when I am fully lactating, it is still a wondrous sight, and I’m very excited about my progress!
I have decided that I will continue to include my 2 p.m. pumping into my daily routine, and on the weekends, if time permits and we can arrange it, S will nurse at that time. Although I would love to incorporate other sessions into our nursing schedule, it is not a practical notion for us.

Week 7 has begun, and I am looking forward to the beautiful new changes I will soon see!

The Seventh Week (5/8/16-5/15/16)

How can it be possible that seven weeks have passed since S and I re-opened our dedicated ANR? I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun! 😉 And we have experienced so much over the past seven weeks!

Lactation and regular feedings have become so comfortably normal and commonplace again, just as they were when I was a breastfeeding mother. It is wonderful to indulge in such a safe and secure daily routine, and I feel fantastic, both physically and emotionally!

I have reached Level 8 in my lactation journey, and that is a wonderful place to be, although it doesn’t afford the flexibility of lower lactation levels because I have reached the point where nursing is imperative, and feedings cannot be skipped. I have attained approximately one new lactation level per week since we began this beautiful journey, and I am feeling so blessed. Although I would love to see a quick jump in milk production over the next three weeks to become fully lactated by mid-June, I know that Level 8 can often be a bit of a stagnant milestone and rather slow-moving on the lactation charts, so S and I have chosen to enjoy our lovely progression without worry and anxiety.

My breasts are amazing!

And I am confident that if I continue with my feeding and pumping routine, I will be pleasantly surprised by what my body will achieve over the next month. 🙂

throughout the week I remained faithful to my 2 p.m. pumping session with great success. By mid-week, I noticed that a very fine mist of breast milk had begun to coat the upper portion of my pump’s collection bottle.

On Saturday we had to travel out of town, and there was no way that I could pump or nurse S in the afternoon, and by 2:15, my breasts were protesting loudly! There was an obvious swell and fullness, and by 2:30, they had begun to ache slightly. As frustrating as it was to miss our time together, it did remind me of the realities of adult nursing, which differ greatly from nursing an infant. During an ANR, you really must remain flexible, as life frequently comes into play and seems to have a way of altering your carefully laid plans.

Sunday, however, was beautiful because S was able to nurse during every scheduled session, including the afternoon one! He and I have both noticed the change in my let-down reflex. There doesn’t seem to be one. As soon as he latches and begins to suckle, the milk simply flows, and he is now focused on a very rhythmic suck and swallow pattern during his feedings. My milk supply is plentiful, as S is able to properly drink for 15 of every 20 minutes that he spends at each breast. When we first began nursing to aid in lactation, my breast milk fluctuated on each side; sometimes, my right breast filled more quickly and seemed to contain a greater amount of milk while during other feedings, it was the left breast that showed greater progress. Now, as the seventh week has passed, my milk supply is perfectly balanced, and S says that he receives equal sustenance from each breast.

Physically, I have noticed a change in my weight. As I produce and release a greater amount of milk, I am naturally burning extra calories, which has allowed me to lose about 2 pounds with little effort. Unfortunately, I am a bit hungrier than I was previously, so I’ve been carefully charting my caloric intake, including an extra piece of fruit and an additional serving of yogurt into my daily diet while ensuring that I remain well hydrated.  S has teasingly commented on my brand-new figure, and says that my ladies are looking larger and lovelier than ever. 🙂

Week 8 is now underway, and I am looking forward to the changes and experiences the next seven days may bring!

The Eighth Week (5/15/16-5/22/16)

Where can I possibly begin? The eighth week into our beautiful ANR and lactation journey has come and gone, bringing with it more changes than I ever believed I would see in a seven-day period of time; these changes have been both physical and emotional, and I cannot honestly say which of these I have enjoyed more!

To begin with, the week was absolutely beautiful, and the weekend was amazing. Although we had a lot to do (it seems that we stay much busier in the spring and summer), S and I were able to nurse three times on Saturday and Sunday with no skipped two p.m. sessions! It was wonderful–and very important, as my milk continues to increase by the day, and I noticed throughout the week that my lovely little manual pump, although I still love it and highly recommend it, may no longer be adequate for my needs at this particular point in my milk-making journey. I feel that once I am fully lactating and expressing large quantities of milk, it will work beautifully once more.

I noticed a much larger increase in my milk supply on Tuesday (5/17) following our 6 a.m. nursing. About four hours after, my breasts seemed to be very fuller, much fuller than normal, and when I was able to hand express around 10:45, I produced a greater amount of milk than I’ve been seeing previously. I had to fit in another hand massage/stimulation two hours later before I pumped at 2 :00, and from that point, began charting my production to the best of my ability. I’ve found that it’s a bit too challenging right now to pump more than once during the day, but if this progression continues, I will have to figure out how to make time to do so. There has been a very full heaviness, particularly in the areolae, and the milk must be released to prevent engorgement.

I have enjoyed pumping much more than I’d thought I would, and because making milk for S’ pleasure has become so important to me, I feel that the time has come to invest in a different breast pump. He and I discussed this over the weekend, and he is, of course, as supportive and encouraging as ever! (I love this man!!) I feel that a dual electric pump may be what I am in need of for efficiency and effectiveness, and we plan to purchase one soon, which I’m very excited about!

It seems to me that lactation levels 8 and 9 vary little for most women; the biggest difference appears to be the amount of milk that the nursing partner receives during feedings. S and I talked about this, and he said he is receiving “mouthful after mouthful” of milk from each breast throughout the length of each nursing session. I feel wonderful about this–so blessed and accomplished! I’ve noticed that his suck and swallow rhythm has changed; sometimes, while nursing, he has to swallow much more quickly, and in greater succession now. When the milk stops flowing, he stays on the breast for an additional 3-5 minutes, to ensure that my body’s “supply and demand” mode remains in effect! 😉 Let-down is immediate, and milk begins to flow the moment he is properly latched. I continue to move toward full lactation! We are both so excited about this!

Physically, I feel wonderful, but emotionally, I feel over-the-moon incredible! Over the past week, S and I have grown even closer; perhaps because we are working so closely together to reach our final lactation goal. I am so blissfully in love. We’ve talked a lot about our ANR over the past week, sharing our thoughts on my lactation level, discussing our feelings, and I think being even more open and communicative has aided in the strengthening of the bonding process. To look up and find the man that you have spent 16 years of your life with smiles at you as if seeing you for the first time is emotionally overwhelming. (Oh, I love his face! ;))

Although I am anxious to continue producing greater quantities of milk over the course of the upcoming week, I am even more eager to reach greater levels of emotional intimacy with my husband. It’s a beautiful experience.

I’ll update my diary next week, and share with you what I learned during the ninth week of my spectacular ANR journey!

The Ninth Week (5/22/16-5/29/16)

The ninth week in the beautiful nursing journey that I share with S has passed with as much love, wonder, and joy as the previous eight weeks have blessed us with. We are both feeling wonderful–content, rejuvenated, and excited to proceed with our ANR; S and I agree that re-opening this part of our relationship was the perfect decision for us as a married couple, and we are eagerly anticipating the next steps along this amazing path of life.

On Saturday (5/28) and Sunday (5/29), we were able to share three nursing sessions (6 a.m., 2 p.m., and 11 p.m.), so pumping was unnecessary. The greatest quantity and flow occurs during our morning nursing session, which seems to be typical of many nursing women, as our bodies work laboriously and lovingly through the long hours of night to prepare our breasts for our recipients’ willing mouths, and the let-down and amount of breast milk he receives at night, seems to be relatively comparable. I have noticed during our afternoon sessions that his nursing truly is much more effective than my pumping, but I remain very pleased with what my body is accomplishing during the afternoon, even when S isn’t available to feed.

I am now able to gauge my milk flow fairly easily, and he and I are ecstatic with my production, as I seem to be producing approximately 18 ounces of milk per day! This has increased from the 16 ounces that I was producing earlier in the week. Since the “average” (as if there is such a thing! ;)) fully lactated and largely exclusive nursing woman produces about 25-40 ounces of breast milk per day, I am extremely happy with my production number! When I exclusively nursed our children, I produced greater quantities of milk than the typical 40 ounces, so I am really hoping that, even with nursing one person on a somewhat limited basis, I will be able to produce at least 40 ounces per day. At this point, this is my new milk making goal, and I am committed (although flexible) to it. It’s actually quite exciting to set an achievement and work toward it. I’m looking forward to the attempt! For now, of course, I am simply delighted with my milk production, and could not be more grateful for those lovely 18 ounces! 🙂

S, of course, remains so supportive, assuring me that, even if I never reach my goal, he will be just as thrilled with our nursing relationship. That assurance is so wonderfully welcome, and brings me so much security as it prevents stress.

Emotionally, it seems that Week 9 has shown me so much, and offered even greater moments of self-discovery about myself and my relationship with S. I feel so joyful, so at peace, and so content. I am blissfully aware of my femininity, the overwhelming mutual attraction that my beloved and I share for one another, and I could not be more thrilled–or thankful–for such an incredibly beautiful gift!

Physically, my breasts have undergone a new change over the past seven days. Although their size remains the same (which I am actually relieved to discover, as the weight is honestly a bit cumbersome at times, particularly now that the weather is growing much warmer, and it’s expensive to replace bras, and difficult to find blouses that fit properly–just a few of the challenging realities of this journey), they are much fuller, and so beautiful to me–and him.

My husband has seen my breasts so often over the past 15 years that they should be so commonplace to him, but they aren’t. S is enamored by them, and each time they are revealed to him, it seems that he is seeing them for the very first time. They, and the milk that flows from them, are my gift to him, and he handles them with such gentle reverence. I am so privileged to be his wife, and the woman he comes to for nurturing and nourishment.

Week 10 has now begun, and I am so excited for the next seven days! 🙂 I’ll be back on June 6 with another diary update!

The Tenth Week (5/29/16-6/6/16)

71 days have passed since S and I re-opened our committed ANR, and the time has sped by in a blissful blur, bringing with it more happiness–and love–than I had ever dreamed possible. Every week offers so much hope and promise that it is difficult not to anticipate the weeks (and months) to come.

On a very personal note, my monthly cycle has begun, and I am mentioning it simply because I’ve discovered that it has changed a bit since S and I began a regulated nursing schedule. Apparently, it is now “programmed” to follow last month’s cycle, which was slightly irregular than what I was accustomed to. My biggest concern was that my milk supply would be affected, as some women have a tendency to notice a decrease in production and flow during the onset of their menstrual periods, but I’m relieved that I haven’t experienced such as of yet. Production is continuing as before! 😉 I am a very happy lady!

I am remaining steadily, and contentedly, at Level 9 in my lactation journey, and am currently producing approximately 20 ounces of breast milk per day! This means that my goal of achieving full lactation has nearly been achieved, and although I cannot even estimate how soon I’ll reach my final lactation stage, it is certainly something to anticipate. I plan to freeze any excess breast milk for the Mister’s pleasure, which he is truly looking forward to. 🙂

I had hoped to be able to journal about my new electric breast pump this week, but, unfortunately, I haven’t purchased one yet. There is so much to consider in regard to the proper pump, and I’ve received so much greatly-appreciated and helpful advice on the matter that I just haven’t been able to choose a model yet. And I really need to! I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to rely on my manual pump and hand expression for effectiveness. I am planning to make a final decision very soon, and hope to be double pumping by the beginning of next week.

On Monday (5/30), because of Memorial Day, S’ work schedule altered slightly, which meant that he was available to nurse at 2 p.m., just as he had over the weekend. That luxury spoiled me! It was really difficult to pump the following day because I’d grown so used to three days of afternoon nursings! On Tuesday, it felt as if something were missing, but the pumping went well, and by Wednesday, I was back on track, with the weekend to look forward to! On Saturday (6/4) and Sunday (6/5), we were again able to indulge in three 40-minute nursing sessions.

As my breasts continue to produce milk, they have become naturally fuller and firmer (a change that has taken place once more over the past seven days), and with this progression, I’ve noticed that nursing has become much easier. There is no longer a need for additional support, which means that our hands are free to roam elsewhere, if they so choose, and the additional touches and caresses have added greatly to the beautiful physical connection that I share with my love.

I am so excited to see what this new week will bring!

The Eleventh Week (6/6/16-6/12/16)

I am growing closer to reaching full lactation.

It has been an exciting and rewarding week. Between nursing sessions, my breasts are replenishing my milk supply much more quickly than they have been, and grow very firm during the day, as I am nearing the end of the ninth level of lactation. I am now producing 22 ounces of breast milk throughout the day, and it seems that S is receiving approximately 8 ounces per suckling session. He says he feels “full” (and obviously very content!) following each nursing. My milk supply is increasing steadily at 1-2 additional ounces per week.

My new pump arrived on Friday afternoon; because I wanted a double-side hospital-grade model for quick and effective pumping, and had heard so many good things about a particular pump, I chose a Spectra brand, but did not have time to begin using it right after it was delivered; S and I were able to nurse steadily over the weekend.

The Twelfth Week (6/13/16-6/19/16)

I am very pleased with my new electric pump! On Monday (6/13), I was able to use it for the first time during my 2 p.m. pumping session, and it is really wonderful! After using this pump, my breasts felt much more comfortable, and were effectively emptied, which I have not been able to accomplish on my own lately when using my manual pump and hand expression.

By Wednesday (6/15), I noticed an unexpected surge in my milk supply, and a new and exciting change following our regular 6 a.m. nursing session. By 10:00 that morning, I was growing very uncomfortable. The sensation is a bit difficult to describe; it wasn’t painful, but there was a heavy discomfort that pulled at my areolae, and I realized that I needed to pump. This continued over the next two days, and I found myself pumping out of necessity every morning from 10-10:30, and then again at 2 p.m. On Thursday and Friday, I had to ask S to nurse just before 8 p.m. because of fullness. The heaviness in my breasts made me feel both uncomfortable and agitated, but I felt fantastic once he had finished suckling. Three hours later, he was actually able (and willing) to nurse again–and very effectively! It was during the middle of the week that my breasts began to actively let-down on their own between nursing and pumping sessions.

The weekend was very busy. I experienced my first “juggling act” as I near the end of the ninth lactation phase. By Saturday, the desire to pump at 10 a.m. had begun to lessen as my milk supply stabilized and became naturally balanced, and the natural  let-down reflex had shifted once more. Unfortunately, S was not able to nurse at 2:00; he had taken the children out for the afternoon so I could relax and begin getting ready for our weekly date night. I was unable to pump until 2:30, and by that time, it was extremely necessary. I was a little concerned if I would let-down or leak while we were out together during the evening, but all went very well, and during our regular night-time nursing session, there was a large increase in milk volume.

The following day was Father’s Day, and this was another challenge. Until I am able to balance my new milk supply, an afternoon pumping or nursing session is vital. Because of this, S nursed at 2:00, so we could comfortably spend the rest of the afternoon out with the children. There was no let-down, but my breasts did begin to experience another bout of heaviness and mild discomfort.

During hand expression, I was unable to produce milk manually, but S experienced no difficulty while nursing, and received a fantastic amount of milk!

We are very close to achieving our goal of full lactation–and we are ecstatic!

The Thirteenth Week (6/20/16-6/26/16)

My journey into lactation has come full circle. I am now a fully lactating nursing wife.

The week was a difficult one, but together, S and I weathered the storm, and emerged more in love than ever.

On Monday, I wasn’t feeling well. My breasts were very uncomfortable and warm, and although nursing sessions were providing plenty of milk, pumping was used to ease discomfort rather than to produce expression results. Both breasts were very stubborn during hand expression, too, and by Tuesday, I was suffering from my first bout of engorgement in my right breast. Fortunately, it was very mild; there was a tight discomfort in my nipple and a warm, swollen, painful place at the bae of my areola that traveled to the underside of my breast. Nursing was a bit unpleasant, but S had no problem with his latch, and once he was properly suckling, I was immensely relieved. Unfortunately, he was unable to effectively empty the right breast, but he took very good care of me by helping with massage and bringing me cool gel packs. It was wonderful to know that I was blessed to have such a loving and supportive partner! I never could have gotten through the physical and emotional roller coater without him!

By Thursday, all was well once more, and during hand expression and pumping, I was able to express a significant amount of milk on my own!   The flow was rapidly rolling, as we have noticed during nursing sessions, and it was so exciting! During our 11 p.m. session, S received a flood of breast milk.

It was during our Friday morning nursing session that we received the amazing gift of full lactation. It was beautifully unexpected! As he was nursing, my flow suddenly changed. Rather than rolling from my breasts, the milk began to spray. As over-the-moon thrilled as we were both were, he and I were stunned by the realization that after nearly three months of working together to produce this milk, we had achieved our goal. I felt so closely connected to him at that moment. I never wanted to let him go.

Friday was a wonderful day, very relaxing and comfortable. I was easily able to pump and collect milk. S texted me as much as he could throughout the day; neither of us could wait to be together again. Our night-time nursing wa our second following full lactation, and it was an incredibly emotional experience for both of us.

On Saturday, S surprised me by planning a romantic date for me. We went to a beautiful botanical garden where we had our first date 16 years ago, and as we strolled those cobblestone paths, surrounded by the beauty of trees and exotic flowers, I realized that, somehow, we had fallen in love again.

Our journey into lactation has come to an end, but our adventure as a nursing couple has just begun!

The Fourteenth Week (6/26/16-7/3/16)

So, 14 weeks have passed since we re-opened our longstanding ANR, making the conscious decision to incorporate lactation into our relationship. The days have seemed to slip quickly into one another, with the grace and beauty of a butterfly, spring metamorphosed into summer, and I find it hard to believe that it is July–and that I have now been a fully lactated woman for a week.

I have not produced so much breast milk in five years, since my little lady came off the breast to exhibit her independence as a self-sufficient little girl, and I am reminded, all over again, how rewarding and completely fulfilling this truly is. To be a woman, to be given the opportunity (and, yes, the privilege) to produce breast milk for nurturing and nourishment is a beautifully humbling gift.

Even though it has only been a week since I reached full lactation, I have, at this point, anyway, found it much easier to balance full breasts with everyday life than I’d thought it would be. And, that is precisely what full lactation is when you are nursing your spouse rather than your child, who provides you a proper excuse and “back-up plan” when it comes to explaining why your breasts are so big, even though the rest of you is a little smaller, and why it’s so imperative that you excuse yourself to a private room (with a locked door) for a bit–a balancing act. I admit, there is something scintillating about it…to know that Mr. S and I share such an intimate secret is very exciting!

Are we more in love than we were before? It seems unfair to say that we are because there has never been a time in 16 years of togetherness that we haven’t been in love, but there is a definite and undeniable difference in our love. There isn’t more love, but deeper love, a rekindling of respect and desire. Sometimes, when my love is at the breast, it seems that he is taking in small sips of my heart along with my milk. It’s an incredible feeling.

The week was very busy. For five days (Monday through Friday), S and I were able to nurse as scheduled (6 a.m. and 11 p.m.), and I was able to effectively pump during the day. It is so exciting to have proper milk to store! While pumping provides the release I need, and offers that benefit of “milk hoarding”, it is no substitute for an intimate suckling session; as beautiful as the breast milk is, I love the closeness of nursing even more.

The weekend was even busier; the children kept their father hopping, and because there were golf balls to chip and fish to catch and a park to play in, we sacrificed our 2 p.m. nursing on Saturday and Sunday. I pumped during those times, and was able to express about 8 ounces of milk each time. That part was certainly nice, but I missed having S in my arms. We enjoyed our weekly Saturday night date without incident, but nursing was imperative by the time we got home just before 11:00. I am still learning my body’s perfect balance, which will make the blend of lactation and life even easier in the future.

I’m very excited to see what the next seven days hold for us!

The Fifteenth Week (7/4/16-7/10/16)

 It was a very hectic week beginning on Monday when holiday plans had been made, and I was expecting a house and yard full of company.  This was the first time that I had real concerns about my milk flow and being able to pump, but, fortunately, everything went well. Guests were due to arrive at 2:00, so I adjusted my schedule slightly, finishing my routine around 1:45. I have noticed that my body is responding very nicely to my cues as I now work to increase and balance my milk supply. We had a fantastic time, and, due to necessity, I was able to excuse myself once without incident. There was no time for an entire pumping session, so I hand expressed as quickly as I could, more to prevent “public let-down” and fullness than to ease true discomfort, and all went as planned. By the time S and I were able to nurse that night, I had begun to leak.

I am in the process of scheduling my body to respond to pumping at four-hour intervals, and this is working out nicely. There is a lot of flexibility to this time allowance, and it has prevented any problems that can arise for lactating women. It seems, too, that this schedule allows for a time window of approximately one hour either way, so I am very excited about this, as careful planning is important; I plan to chart this, and, if necessary, take note of what occurs if I need to adjust my routine for any reason. Lactation is a beautiful balancing act, and even with little set-backs and a few challenges thrown into the mix, it is so worthwhile and rewarding! I love making breast milk.

Because I am interested in ways to naturally boost milk supply, on Tuesday I began adding a morning lactation smoothie to my diet as something of an experiment, and after five days of drinking them, an interesting thing transpired.

On Saturday morning following our nursing session, as we were lying together in bed, S asked me what I would like to do for date night, and I told him that all I really wanted was to spend time with him–and that’s precisely what I did.

After the children had gone to my parents’, he and I took a quiet drive and picked up Japanese food, which we took home and ate in bed while we watched one of our favorite movies before we spent the rest of the evening nursing. Oh, it was wonderful. I felt amazing, so relaxed and content and free.

It was during this lengthy indulgence that he and I noticed a surge in my milk.

He was very pleasantly surprised, and I was ecstatic. All of that beautiful liquid gold simply would not stop flowing.

After we experienced the same results on Sunday when we were able to nurse three times on schedule, he and I are fairly certain that this new spike in supply has a great deal to do with my change in diet. My milk continued to increase throughout the day, and it was wonderful.

The love I have for my husband continues to increase as swiftly as my breast milk.

I feel so blessed. I am a very happy lactating lady in love! 🙂

The Sixteenth Week (7/11/16-7/17/16)

Although the beginning of the week started off very well, things took a bit of a turn when S got hurt in a work-related injury.  Fortunately, there was still a lot to be thankful for, as his injuries weren’t life-threatening, although his recovery was set to be a bit slow and painful. He took the situation in stride, which is in his nature, and remained optimistic, even assuring me that he would like to attempt to nurse when I had planned to pump as he recuperated.

I thought it would be best to take things slow, so for the first few days, we nursed only at night, so he could rest during the day, and I pumped during our normal six a.m. feeding session, which went very well. We were able to connect and bond, as I chose to pump in bed so we could be together, even though he wasn’t able to physically come to the breast. Because nursing in our favorite position was not an option, we chose to sling feed, and we both really loved it! He was able to comfortably and easily suckle, and I found it emotionally gratifying to be able to care for him so intimately.

When Saturday arrived, my parents graciously took the children so I was able to focus my attention on the Mister’s needs, and although we weren’t able to enjoy a traditional date night, there was ample opportunity to connect emotionally as a couple–right from our big comfy bed. Although I couldn’t cuddle him too hard, I could kiss him and stroke his hair and spoon feed him and nurse him. Caring for him has always fulfilled my desire to nurture, and as long as we were together, I was a very, very happy lady.

The week was definitely a time for reflection, and a wonderful reminder of what marriage and true love is all about. When I spoke our marriage vows of loving him for better or for worse and through sickness and in health, I meant them with all of my heart.

The Seventeenth Week (7/18/16-7/24/16)

So, the 17th week of our journey has arrived. The past four months have definitely been full of surprises, but each one has provided a wonderful foundation on which to continue building and strengthening our relationship through nursing–and even when we’re not.

Because real life came into play and took top priority in my daily activities, I was not able to blog or connect with readers and friends as much as I would have liked, but I received so much support and encouragement that it made stepping away for a while so much easier…well, a little easier. I have missed it very much.

Over the week, Mr. S continued to recuperate, and as he felt a little better every day and began to knit, we alternated between morning nursings and pumping sessions; I continued to pump routinely through the day, and we enjoyed our intimate time together every night. We continued to use the sling feed during each nursing session, and have agreed that we will use this position along with our favorite side-by-side joining even after he is well because it feels very nice and has been really beneficial to proper milk removal and production!

S has taken a lot of comfort in my breasts during this difficult time, even when simply resting his head against them, and I feel so blessed to be able to provide him with the soothing emotional sustenance he desires even as I nourish him with my milk. Even through the depth of darkness, a bit of light will always shine, and we found ours together.

He says that together we are a team and unstoppable.

I love that.

The Eighteenth Week (7/25/16-7/31/16)

Things have continued to improve and life is becoming more centered and well-balanced once more. There is a lot to be grateful for.

Over the past week, as I have tended to my love and happily watched him continue to recuperate, I have had the occasional opportunity to focus on my writing and make plans for the future of Bountiful Fruits. I also had the pleasure of meeting some new people, which was a rewarding part of my week.

As Mr. S and I continued to enjoy our personal nursing experience, an amazing thing happened! By the middle of the week, there was a noticeable increase in my milk supply, which has steadily increased by 1.5-2 ounces per week since I reached full lactation. This change was not completely unexpected, as by the end of the prior week, I had noticed a slight swell in my breasts–and S had noticed the change in their size, too.

Because of my own physical “endowments”, proper milk removal is always a concern. I am starting to think that the forced change in suckling positions has helped to increase my supply, as the sling feed method, which requires no support or the addition of breast compressions, easily allows Mr. S to completely empty my breasts. Or, perhaps the change is attributed to my diet. I have been focusing my attention on eating a balanced combination of healthy milk-boosting “super foods”, beginning each day with a fabulous lactation smoothie, for the past month as a means of naturally increasing my supply, and the results have been incredible! Regardless of how this is happening, we are both thrilled with these new changes. S has also noticed a difference in the texture and flavor of my milk; he told me it is richer, creamier, and sweeter than it was before, so…I’m happy! 🙂 (I like to think that this vitamin-enriched liquid gold of mine is helping him to recover, too.)

 If everything continues to improve, we anticipate being “back on track” by next week. For now, we are simply taking life one precious moment at a time.



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