An Adult Nursing Relationship (often abbreviated ANR) 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.
ANRs often start when the suckling partner takes over the suckling from a breastfeeding baby. However sometimes it starts by inducing lactation in the partner's breasts. The purpose of this article is to explain how to successfully do so.
There are basically two ways to induce lactation ANR: with or without an intake of hormones. Let's look at both as well as cover some of the common questions:
- Inducing lactation with hormones
- Inducing lactation naturally without hormones
- Is it safe for an adult to drink breast milk?
- What are the benefits of Adult Nursing Relationships (ANRs)?
- Is it ok to be in an ANR?
Inducing lactation with hormones
The basic principle of inducing lactation with hormones is to trick the body into thinking there was a pregnancy that came to term. It's the so-called Newman-Goldfarb protocols for inducing lactation. You do this by taking the three main hormones that control the development of lactation during pregnancy: progesterone, estrogen and prolactin.
We wrote an article that details the procedure. Inducing lactation ANR typically takes time and the longer the process, the more likely you are to successfully induce or force lactation. Ideally you should go for a process that takes 90 days. This can be too long and tedious for some people so we've detailed steps based on how much time you're ready to dedicate to the process:
- Process that takes 90 days or more
- Process that takes between 30 and 90 days
- Process that takes less than 30 days
The basic process is the same no matter the timeline. In a nutshell, you need to take the birth control pill (since it contains both progesterone and estrogen) together with Domperidone or Reglan (which induce prolactin hormone) during a certain length of time. At some point, when your breasts have grown enough, you need to suddenly stop taking the birth control pill and start pumping (or getting your breasts suckled) regularly. Refer to our our more detailed articles for the whole procedure.
To help create your milk supply, you can drink galactagogue teas such as Milk Boost Tea. It's packed with 13 different natural plants that each play a role in supporting lactation. These plants have literally been used for millennia to help support lactation.
For instance among its ingredients is Dong Quai, a root also known as the "female ginseng" for its wide range of health benefits for women. It also contains Sponge gourds (Loofah), famous for their ability to facilitate lactation. Yet another example is Longan, a fruit that has a great ability to nourish the Blood and relieve fatigue.
Inducing lactation naturally without hormones
Inducing lactation naturally without hormones or any medication is more complicated and less effective. We recommend you only go for this method if you've already lactated in the not too distant past as it increases the chances of it working.
If you've never lactated in the past, the chances of this method working are remote, with some but few successful cases.
We wrote an article detailing the method. Basically without hormones inducing lactation is all about pumping, suckling and stimulating your breasts. Frequency is the most important. You basically need to to pump or get your breasts suckled every 3 hours (with at least 1 pumping/suckling session at night) until you lactate.
Same as with hormones, you can help yourself during the process by drinking galactagogue teas such as Milk Boost Tea. It's only made of plants so it's a natural way to help your body prep itself for lactation.
It's crucial that while you try to induce lactation you stay away from the birth control pill. The birth control pill contains both progesterone and estrogen, 2 hormones that in effect suppress lactation. In fact make sure to stay away from any medication that contains or leads to the production of progesterone and estrogen.
Again please refer to our detailed article if you want all the steps involved in inducing lactation without hormones.
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.
What are the benefits of Adult Nursing Relationships (ANRs)?
ANRs are more common than you think. A scientific survey in the UK found that out of the 1,690 British men surveyed a third had drunk their wife's breast milk, often at the breast. Most gave a genuine emotional need as their motivation.3
For the breast milk provider the benefits and motives vary. Some women use ANRs as a way to induce lactation for their baby. They might have an adopted baby for instance. Rather than pump they let their partner suckle on their breasts to try and force lactation for the baby.
ANRs give comfort and ease to both participants. For the breast milk provider it is as if she is the thoughtful mother caring for her child. For the receiver they feel like a baby fed in their mother's arms.
It also often has an erotic purpose. Breasts, and especially nipples, are highly erogenous zones. Women who get their breasts suckled by their partner can be let to experience orgasms from the stimulation. The receiver can also be aroused from the suckling.
Another benefit can be to balance milk supply between breasts if there is an uneven supply issue. Sometimes breastfeeding babies get up to 95% of their milk from one breast only because the other produces less milk. Getting their partner to suckle on the problematic breast can help stimulate it to increase its milk flow.
Lastly, breastfeeding is a pretty effective way to lose weight as we describe in this article.
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.
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
3. Rogers, Lois (13 March 2005). "Earth dads give breast milk a try". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
Article tags: Breastfeeding and maternity