Adult breastfeeding occurs within Adult Nursing Relationships (often abbreviated ANR). It is when one partner regularly suckles milk from the breasts of the other. It needs to be regular because the continued production of breast milk is driven by the constant removal of breast milk.
Adult breastfeeding results in a singularly high level of intimacy and tenderness in the couple. It is not necessarily sexual, although it often is. In any case it often has a strong stabilizing effect on the relationship.
How to start an Adult Nursing Relationship?
The most natural and easiest way to start an ANR is to do so while breastfeeding a baby. You just let your partner breastfeed on top of your baby and you eventually let them take over from the baby during weaning.
If you're not breastfeeding and therefore need to induce lactation, it's a bit more complex. There are two scenarios.
If you gave birth less than 6 months ago or stopped breastfeeding for just a few days, you can relactate without the help of hormones. To do so, just follow our guide on how to induce lactation without hormones. In a nutshell you simply need to stimulate your breasts very regularly via suckling or pumping until lactation is triggered.
If you gave birth more than 6 months previously and have breastfed for a relatively long period of time, you'll probably need the help of hormones to help you induce lactation. To do so, please follow our guide on how to induce lactation with hormones. As you'll see, hormones sounds like a big word but what's involved is just the birth control pills (which contains Progesterone and Estrogen) and another medication (Reglan or Domperidone).
No matter you use hormones to help you or not, inducing lactation will involve very regular stimulation of your breasts via pumping or suckling. Other factors that determine whether or not you'll succeed at triggering lactation include:
- The use of galactagogues, such as Milk Boost Tea. It's packed with 13 different herbs that assist your breasts with lactation.
- Your determination and motivation. It takes a lot of work, especially the pumping and stimulating of the breasts.
- A support network around you. This is very important to keep you motivated. If your goal is to lactate for your partner, their assistance and support are key to keep you going.
- A good double-sided electronic pumping machine.
- The mother's daily activities and emotions. Stress and anger for instance have a negative impact on your lactation.
- The breasts' condition.
Rarely you might struggle to get more than a small trickle of breast milk. This can sometimes be due to your milk ducts not being large enough or being blocked somehow.
If that's your case you might want to give Unblock Nursing Tea a try. It's an herbal tea made of 12 natural herbs that's designed to help fight off engorged breasts and clogged ducts. It might be just what you need to unblock your milk ducts and transform that trickle into a nice flow!
Of course, while you drink it it's critical you continue your relactation efforts unabated so as that gives your body the signal to keep sending milk to your breasts.
Is it safe for an adult to drink breast milk?
Not only is breast milk safe for adults to drink, it might even have previously unknown health benefits.
One of the main functions of breast milk is to develop a baby's immune system. To do so it is full of antibodies and white blood cells that help your little one fight off bacteria and diseases. Scientists have found instances when, if the baby is fighting a bacterial or viral attack, white blood cells numbers can increase up to 94% out of total cells in breast milk1!
This high concentration in antibodies and white blood cells is why it might be helpful to immunosuppressed individuals such as cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, the elderly or anyone fighting an infectious disease.
Some scientific studies2 also suggest that breast milk might help those suffering from ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease and other digestive issues. It makes sense, not only does breast milk build a baby's immune system, it also builds their digestive system. It therefore stands to reason it might help fix adults' digestive problems.
Of course always make sure to drink breast milk from a source you trust. Some diseases can be transmitted via breast milk such as HIV. You need to make sure the person you drink breast milk from has a clean bill of health.
Is it ok to be in an ANR?
This is not something people often talk about openly. However, there are about 100K people searching in English about ANRs in Google each month, a sign it's more common than one might think.
As soon as both partners are willing it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's not bad for health, physical or mental, on the contrary. Talk about it openly with your partner to figure out what you would like to achieve and don't let fear of societal standards stop you!
Of course, again, always make sure you drink breast milk from a source you trust. You do not want to catch some of the diseases that can also be transmitted via breast milk.
Can I breastfeed my partner during pregnancy?
You can see below a graph of the three main hormones involved to trigger lactation: progesterone, estrogen and prolactin.
Prolactin is the key hormone that triggers lactation. During pregnancy high levels of progesterone and estrogen inhibit its expression but when those two hormones disappear at birth, prolactin can express itself and that's what effectively enables lactation to kick off. Between 16 and 22 weeks into pregnancy prolactin levels are theoretically high enough to trigger lactation but the constant release of progesterone and estrogen prohibits it.
This means that while you might get a few drops of milk from your breasts while pregnant, you're very unlikely to express a sufficient amount to breastfeed. Only after giving birth, when your levels of progesterone and estrogen are way down, will you be able to lactate properly.
Erotic lactation: can breastfeeding really turn us on?
The breasts and nipples are one of the most erogenous parts of a woman's body. This means that for some women the stimulation of her breasts in an ANR can lead to orgasms.
It can also be a huge turn on to be on the receiving side. Suckling on someone's breast is one of the most intimate and comforting act one can have with their partner.
Of course it needs to be enjoyable for both sides. Before you get into an ANR, talk about it openly with your partner and decide if it's something you both want to get into.
1. Hassiotou F, Hepworth AR, Metzger P, et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl Immunology. 2013;2(4):e3. Published 2013 Apr 12. doi:10.1038/cti.2013.1
2. Eyal Klement, Regev V Cohen, Jonathan Boxman, Aviva Joseph, Shimon Reif, Breastfeeding and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review with meta-analysis, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 80, Issue 5, November 2004, Pages 1342–1352, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/80.5.1342
Article tags: Breastfeeding and maternity