Friday, July 29, 2016

Sensual or Sexual? Finding a Middle Ground in your Adult Nursing Relationship

Every adult nursing relationship is different. While some may be very similar, and all involve a lovely pair of breasts, none are identical, nor should they be, as these exquisite relationships belong solely to the couples who share them, and are as unique as the individuals involved, and since no two are ever truly alike, and I feel the urge to wax poetic, I'll coin this the "snowflake effect".

I find it fascinating that this snowflake effect can actually be applied to the individuals involved in the dedicated adult nursing relationship. As devoted as they are to one another, a  couple may enter into a committed nursing relationship for very different reasons. Neither partner has to nurse for the same reason to fully enjoy the experience, because, although the relationship is very much a partnership that aids in creating a firmer, more intimate foundation relationship,  the truth remains: personal gratification is jut as important within the successful ANR.

The truth really isn't as one-sided or selfish as it may seem. Every successful relationship, even the most traditional ones, are comprised of two content people who may find pleasure differently. (As a matter of fact, this isn't much different from the fact that Mr. S actually finds it relaxing to spend an entire afternoon on the green, hitting a little white ball in the general direction of an impossibly small hole, whereas I, on the other hand, would be a veritable basket case from the mere attempt! I'll stick to flower gardening and blogging, thank you.) We nurse for different reasons, too, but even in doing so, we are able to fully satisfy the other's needs while tending to our own desires.

The only time differing views seem to pose a problem is when the couple is unable to find a middle ground upon which to stand, and after talking with four married couples, and reading one very moving email, I have found that tensions seem to arise when one partner views ANR as being purely sexual while the other sees it as entirely sensual. The inability to find that perfect meeting of the minds has brought about strong feelings that have caused the respective partner to feel "lonely", "alone", "lost", "misunderstood and unhappy".

A devoted ANR should never cause discord within a relationship. Nursing should be a joyful and rejuvenating experience that brings two people closely together while creating newfound respect and building faithfulness, dedication, and an abundance of love. All of this can be achieved with open and truthful communication--and the willingness to truly listen to your partner's concerns and desires. Relationships flourish when tended with complete honesty, and while some people have difficulty talking to their partners about deep feelings and emotional matters, this really is a very large part of the adult nursing relationship.

Because the opening of many ANRs stem from the desire for personal gratification and mutual fulfillment, there is absolutely no right or wrong way to conduct a healthy long-term ANR, and the experience isn't about creating an either/or situation. At its core, the nursing relationship is about making a connection--and maintaining it after it has been established.

I decided to create this post after carefully reading this email (used with permission), which openly and concisely explains a common nursing relationship dilemma:

"My husband and I just recently started nursing, and we both really enjoy it. We nurse about twice a week. The problem I'm having is that he thinks it has to be about sex. Even when we don't do more, he expects me to touch while he is nursing. It feels nice, but that isn't what I want from this. I've tried explaining to him that I want it to be more sensual, but he doesn't seem to get it. We are currently dry nursing. Do you think he'll understand what I want if I make milk? Mostly, I feel really alone in this. How do you keep your ANR sensual? Is it sexual at all?"

First of all, I don't believe that lactation will make any difference in the way this woman's husband views ANR. There is no supporting evidence connecting the production and consumption of breast milk to the successful adult nursing relationship. As a matter of fact, there is no concrete proof to substantiate any aspect of the experience, as statistics and accurate data simply do not exist. Most of what is known of ANRs comes from interpersonal relationships, experience, trial and error, as you determine what works best for you, and, yes, personal preference. In this case, because she has attempted to open lines of communication with her husband, it honestly becomes time for him to do his part by being more responsive to his wife's needs, which he can easily do by listening. From there, it is all about compromise and finding that mutually fulfilling middle ground.

Mr. S and I have nursed almost as long as we have been married, and very early into our personal adult nursing relationship, we chose to create a sensual practice shared for the purpose of developing intimacy and fulfilling his desire to bond with me on a highly emotional level. To this day, our journey as a married couple remains as it began nearly 15 years ago, and because we find this aspect of our marriage so emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, we make a continued and conscious effort to keep sexuality out of nursing, instead finding many other forms of gratification to sustain us physically. It is important to note that we are human, still very much in love, ridiculously attracted to one another after all these years, and sexually drawn together in ways that complete us as a couple--and as individuals. It would be completely self-serving (and futile, as the evidence of our marital joining has produced three pieces of evidence that their father teasingly refers to as love trophies) to deny the fact that I welcome my own sexuality as a woman. Mr. S and I nurse every night, and on some of these nights, we embrace the sexual side of our marriage, too, and while one aspect may inevitably lead to another, the two are very separate--and emotionally diverse--experiences. Over the years, we have tended to our ANR with as much care and compassion as we have used to ensure a long-lasting marriage. As unconventional as they may be, ANRs are very real relationships that take time to grow. Mr. S and I have found that  intimacy can be a beautiful substitute for the traditional physical connection, and have learned to balance the two.

We have found our middle ground.

And it isn't difficult to do as long as both partners are willing to try.

Here are a couple of suggestions:
  1. Set a dedicated nursing time: If possible, you can set aside a time during the day that is meant specifically for nursing. Both of you will need to understand that this time is meant for intimacy and sensual exploration. You can agree to enjoy a sexual encounter at a later time, using different methods of emotional and physical expression to fulfill the relationship. This can be helpful if done in the morning, as the day is beginning, responsibilities are stirring, and you really don't have time to indulge in nursing and sex. Choose to nurse; it will be a fantastic start to the day, and can build anticipation for what is to come later. If you have incorporated lactation into your ANR, this can be really helpful in encouraging milk production and flow, as breasts are in their prime early in the morning!
  2. Nurse after a sexual encounter: This is probably the most beneficial way to find that perfect middle ground, particularly since life is often chaotic as couples juggle daily responsibilities and intimacy--and especially if you are night-time nursers who are already comfortably settled in for the evening. After enjoying a sexual encounter, finish the experience with intimate skin-to-skin contact and nursing. It's really a lovely way to bond afterwards. An interesting fact for the lactating woman: orgasms are known to aid in the let-down reflex, which will make the nursing experience even more relaxing and pleasant.
Touch is so important to the human make-up; it brings comfort and reassurance while triggering deep emotional desires in both males and females, and nursing provides the opportunity for couples to share sensual touch. Focus these soft touches on the face, hair, shoulders, and back. Allow your partner to slide his hand along the curve of your hip or down the length of your thigh. If you're concerned that this may lead to "more", it is perfectly acceptable to set boundaries--even with your spouse. Be completely honest with what you want from the experience; let your partner know that sexual touch is not an option you're willing to incorporate during the nursing session, and then guide him into the experience of the sensual touch. It feels amazing. It builds intimacy. And it can be a wonderful learning experience for both of you.

As highly emotional as it may be, there is simply no denying the fact that nursing is also physical--and feels very nice. There may be times when nursing leads to sex, and this can be a wonderful part of the relationship, so be open to compromise and agree to allow its sexual nature to emerge--sometimes. Nursing involves specific latching and suckling techniques that are very different from sexual breast play. It is really simple to transition from nursing to sex simply by changing oral stimulation patterns of the breast, shifting position, and altering the rhythm of your touch. Welcome every aspect of this exquisite relationship, and take the time to find what works perfectly for both of you.

One of the most beautiful things about the dedicated adult nursing relationship is that it belongs solely to you. There are so many avenues to explore, so much self-discovery and shared expression to enjoy. Set realistic expectations and relationship goals, and then be flexible. Do your best not to label the experience as being sexual or sensual. With compassion, communication, and compromise, you can have the best of both worlds--even at the same time.

I hope you find this helpful! Enjoy one another and your beautiful nursing relationship--and have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fenugreek and the Maple Syrup Connection

"Mmm...something smells really good. Are you making pancakes?"

"No, it's just super hot in here, and I'm sweating," said every woman who has ever taken high doses of Fenugreek-- always. "But on the plus side, I've increased one bra cup size and my milk is coming in nicely."

A little over a week ago I had the chance to share a great conversation--and a much-needed laugh--with a few other nursing women regarding Fenugreek and the Maple Syrup Connection, which can also be referred to as the Pancake Effect. Because many women turn to this herb for help in boosting their breast milk supply, I turned to my friend, the amazing certified herbalist Elaine, to learn more about this "magical" plant.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a fascinating herb, and its use of encouraging breast milk production can be traced back to Biblical times. To this day, it remains the most commonly used herb for building breast milk supply in nursing women. Fenugreek contains plant chemicals known as phytoestrogens, which are very similar to estrogen, and diosgenin, a compound that encourages milk flow.

As one of the oldest plants cultivated for its medicinal properties and native to southern Europe and Asia, Fenugreek is now grown in the Mediterranean countries, Argentina, France, India, North Africa, and the United States, as a food, condiment, medicinal, dye, and forage plant. The plant is identified by its three teardrop-shaped  leaves and white flowers that appear in the early summer and develop into slim tan pods that contain brown seeds.

While Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors that increase breast milk supply, scientists still aren't clear why this happens. Some theorize that it may occur because breasts are modified sweat glands and Fenugreek is known to stimulate sweat production. It has been shown that Fenugreek can increase a nursing woman's breast milk supply within 24-72 hours, and that once an adequate lactation level has been achieved, most women can discontinue taking the herb and maintain their supply with proper breast stimulation and milk removal.

Fenugreek has long been known to be effective as a natural breast enlarger, as the herb's diosgenin are used to make synthetic estrogen that has been shown to cause growth in breast cells. The herb may also help to increase  sexual desire and improve the breasts' overall beauty and health. Fenugreek also contains choline, which may aid in the thinking process, and antioxidants that slow aging and help to prevent disease.

(And here's another interesting fact: although Fenugreek is commonly thought of as a female supplement, it isn't gender-particular. Men take it, too, often to boost libido, aid with balancing testosterone levels, and promote athletic performance.)

Along with these known benefits, Fenugreek also has the keen ability to make any woman smell like a crowded IHOP on a busy Saturday--or a Vermont sugar house in the spring.

Yes. If you take Fenugreek, you will resonate with the aroma of short-stacked pancakes--not that that's a bad thing if you happen to like maple syrup--a lot. It's a very normal and to-be-expected side effect; as a matter of fact, when you (or your partner) begin to notice this sweet, syrup-y scent (which can be detected in perspiration, other bodily fluids, and even in breast milk), you'll know that you have reached the adequate dosage of Fenugreek.

But why does it happen?

Fenugreek contains a very potent aromatic compound called solotone, which can be found in lovage (an edible plant from the parsley family), aged rums, and molasses. Solotone passes through the body, and when consumed in large quantities, can prompt the "Pancake Effect".

(There you have it! The Nancy Drew of the ANR world has cracked the case, solving the "Mystery of the Maple Syrup Connection". :))

As with any herb, it is always best to check with a medical professional to be sure that Fenugreek is safe for you. It can cause nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, facial swelling, nausea and vomiting. Severe allergic reactions may occur in hypersensitive people, and women who are allergic to peanuts and/or legumes should avoid taking Fenugreek. The herb has been shown to aggravate symptoms in asthmatic women and can negatively interact with some medications used to treat diabetes and blood clotting disorders.

However, if you find that Fenugreek is right for you and is an herbal option that you may incorporate into your lactation inducing routine, here are some other things you might like to know:
  1. USAGE: When first attempting to build and increase breast milk supply, Fenugreek must be taken consistently, or it can actually decrease the amount of breast milk you produce. Once you've reached your desired level of lactation, you can discontinue its use and rely on proper stimulation and milk removal techniques to maintain your supply.
  2. DOSAGE: In capsule form (580 mg-610 mg), 2-4 pills per day (or a combined total of 1200-2400 mg of Fenugreek daily). You can begin with a very light dose and increase the amount you take if you find it necessary to do so.
Fenugreek can also be taken in a less-potent tea form (3 cups per day), flavored with honey and lemon to mask the bitter taste, or the seeds can stirred into foods (like oatmeal, soup, applesauce, or yogurt), or massaged directly into the breasts.

Although Fenugreek is readily available in many retail stores, if you're interested in product quality, it's best to purchase it from an herbal shop or health food store if possible.

I'll close with a very interesting question I received regarding Fenugreek and the Maple Syrup Connection:

Will my nursing partner smell like maple syrup, too?
Maybe. But probably not.

Some breastfeeding mothers who regularly take Fenugreek do notice the distinct smell of syrup emanating from their little ones, but, generally speaking, adults have a much higher tolerance threshold for consuming and digesting herbs and other medications than infants. To some extent, all herbs pass through breast milk, but how much your partner consumes, and whether or not he will be affected, depends a lot on dosage and how well your body metabolizes the herb. It shouldn't pose too much of a problem--unless he really doesn't enjoy the aromas of a leisurely Sunday brunch. ;)

If you have decided that Fenugreek is something you'd like to try within your personal lactation journey, I wish you much luck and great success.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Sling Feed: LMM's Suggested Nursing Position for the Injured (and Buxom)

Well, if life teaches us anything, it can certainly be that every so often, we can take something positive from a not-so-nice situation. I have re-learned this over the past week as I have nursed my Mr. S along the road to recovery following a work-related injury that he suffered. Fortunately, he is strong and healthy otherwise, and his aplomb is admirable; as a matter of fact, his strength is something that I have always admired and come to rely on over the years, as he always assures me that somehow, everything is going to be okay. He and I truly are a team in every sense of the word, and I love him so. When he should have been thinking of himself, he spent the last week worrying about me as much as I've spent worrying about him.

I wish you could meet Mr. S. I think you would really like him. He is bare bones and brass tacks blunt and honest to a fault, but that's part of his undeniable charm (even if he does make me say, oh, my goodness, honey!--a lot ;)) But you certainly know where you stand with him. Here is a classic example of a typical Mr. S moment:

Following his injury, I got him home, and helped him back to our bedroom to begin the nesting process. I undressed him and eased him into bed, with the stern order that he was to stay put, that he was not to move. I got him as comfy as I possibly could with pillows and leaned over him to tuck him in under his favorite blanket. Just as I was heading to the bedroom door so I could go get him a heat pack and a glass of water, he called to me. When I turned, thinking that something was wrong, I found him watching me from our bed. And that's when he said the most unexpected thing.

"We're still going to nurse, right?"

The room fell very still. I just looked at him. He smiled. And that's when I started to laugh.

To be very honest, I had planned to pump and express (although I longed to nurse him as a means of comfort) until he had begun to mend a bit, but he was determined to suckle that night, and I was determined to make the experience a pleasant and pain-free for him as I possibly could.

(This is where that something positive arising from a not-so-nice situation thing comes in :))

Although he and I typically nurse in a very soothing reclining side-by-side position, I knew it was not going to be feasible, so that night, we nursed in the sling feed position.

Also called dangle feed and drop feed, the sling feed position is wonderful for the injured nursing recipient, as it puts absolutely no strain on the body. In this position, the nursing woman leans over her partner, allowing her breasts to fall naturally into his mouth so he can easily and comfortably nurse. Depending on the reason you choose to sling feed, the position can be adjusted to your liking and level of comfort.
  1. KNEELING: The nursing partner reclines as the woman kneels by his side, slightly lowering her upper body over him to offer the breasts.
  2. WOMAN SUPERIOR: In this variation, the nursing partner can either recline, or shift into a semi-sitting position, as the woman straddles his hips and lean forward, allowing the breasts to naturally drop.
  3. LAP CRADLE: The woman can sit, supported by pillows, and cradle her partner's head in her lap, as her breasts drop unassisted into his mouth. She can either lean forward slightly, or elevate his head with a pillow to make the feed easier.
The sling feed actually provides a lot of intimacy for the nursing couple; because the breasts require no support in this position, hands are free to wander and roam, which means that two loving people can incorporate a lot of fabulous touch into the suckling experience. It is also visually stimulating. (Remember, nursing is an experience that involves each of the five senses!) If you do choose to add breast compressions during a nursing session, the sling feed makes the process very simple by giving you--or your partner--easy and complete access to the entire body of the breast.

And, speaking of support, as mentioned above, the sling feed is a fantastic position choice for the more buxom nursing lady. Nursing can be a bit challenging at times for the amply endowed, and this position allows the nursing partner to perfectly employ the proper latch and take in as much of the breast as he possibly can without hindrance, which ensures an amazing suckling experience while correctly aiding in the lactation process.

Because milk removal is so important when building a terrific supply, the sling feed is a wonderful option for nursing couples who are working to induce lactation or re-lactation. In this position, the downward pull on the breasts encourages milk flow, making it quite easy for the nursing partner to fully empty those lovely receptacles. (Don't forget: empty breasts send signals to a woman's body and brain, reminding her that she needs to make more milk more quickly, so always be sure to fully nurse, and get that beautiful breast milk outta there! ;)) The sling feed is also helpful to those women suffering from engorgement or blocked milk ducts, which are most often caused by overfull breasts due to improper milk removal.

We have gained so much from this experience. Mr. S has been able to continue to find comfort in my breasts as he draws sustenance from them, and I have been able to soothe and nurture and care for him, which is very pleasing to my heart. We have agreed that, even when he is fully back in commission, we will indulge in this nursing position more often, and I am looking very forward to nursing him in the lap cradle variation.

The sling feed has definitely received the "LMM and Mr. S Adult Nursing Position Seal of Approval"! ;)

I hope this post can be of help to others. Wishing you all health and much happiness!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Return of LMM

Happy Monday, everyone!

Before I begin this post with an explanation as to where I've been over the last week, I want to take a minute to say thank you to everyone who has sent messages of concern, asking about my well-being. The fact that you took time to think of me, and to ask after me and my family was absolutely emotionally overwhelming, and made me realize that there are truly wonderful people out there. I can't tell you how much I needed those messages, or how they lightened my heart. I'll personally respond to everyone just as soon as I can.

It was an eventful week in the M household. Unfortunately, Mr. S got injured at work last week, so I have been nursing (in many respects) the infirm, and because he and our three rambunctious bundles of  joy are my top priority, I stepped away from my computer to tend to the needs of my love. I went through a couple of other rough patches, too, that reminded me that life simply happens sometimes, but as you can see from the photos below, I am okay--and back with a vengeance. ;)

Of course, nothing is all  bad. There is good everywhere. I did manage to finish this:

So, how can I not continue to feel truly blessed--especially when I have people like you out there, cheering me on?
I'll be doing my best to post more this week, and because I am waaaayyyy behind on my podcast schedule, I'll do my all to have that uploaded too. Thank you all for your patience and continued support.

May you have a wonderful week!

Hugs and many blessings to you from me,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Green Monkey Lactation Smoothie

I have recently begun to add a daily lactation smoothie to my diet in an attempt to safely and naturally boost my breast milk supply, and now, after six days of indulging in these nutritious additions, I am seeing noticeable results!

This particular smoothie contains six key ingredients to boost the breasts. It's delicious, filling, and promotes energy and heart-health, too!

Green Monkey Smoothie
1 cup milk (cow, almond, or coconut)
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
2 cups spinach, washed and shredded
1 banana, sliced
1 cup old-fashioned, slow-cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon flax seed (or flax meal)
1/2 teaspoon brewer's yeast
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
1 tablespoon almonds, finely chopped

In a blender, add the oats and almonds, and grind into a coarse meal. Add spinach. Puree until it is very fine, and then add the remaining ingredients. You may find that it is helpful to incorporate ingredients slowly, blending in between additions, as this is a very thick smoothie, and mixing takes a bit of time.

This made 2 8-ounce lactation smoothies. I stored the left-over drink in the fridge, and it was just as delicious the next day.

When preparing this recipe, I used almond milk and chose to omit the honey. This smoothie has a very mellow banana flavor. I drink my booby-booster in the morning. ;)

If you make one for yourself, I hope you enjoy it, and see some amazing results!

The Nursing Diary: Week 15

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! :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Momsicles: LMM's Frozen Breast Milk Pops

The other afternoon, as I was organizing one of my kitchen cupboards, I came across my popsicle molds, which are normally used a lot in the summer so I can make healthy juice pops for the children. I tossed them into the sink to wash, and as I did, my eyes fell on the bottle of freshly-pumped breast milk I had set aside to store, and that's when inspiration struck.

(I'll bet you already know where I'm going with this, don't you? ;))

Breast milk freezes well in a bag. Why wouldn't it freeze well in a popsicle mold?

Because breast milk is a precious commodity, and I have plans for mine, and each mold cavity holds two ounces of liquid, I only filled two of them with liquid gold, and set them in the freezer to see what would happen.

Breastfed children are funny. When my children were little, Mr. S used to laugh every time their faces became smeared with that blissfully bleary milk-drunk expression; you know, the one that causes little mouths to slow their rhythm and little eyes to flutter and roll, and when they got older and began to talk, knowing that children are breast milk connoisseurs, he never failed to ask them the same questions in regard to their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The conversation always went something like this:

Dad: "Is that good stuff?"

Child 1, 2, or 3: Nods

Dad: "Is it? What does it taste like?"

To which each child would reply with their own opinion. The oldest always said "red popsicles", the middle one (who is the ornery one of the bunch, and has always found himself extremely amusing, even as a toddler) would invariably say, "dill pickles", and the baby, our only little lady, would chirp the word "marshmallows!" with exuberance and joy, followed by the proclamation that it was "deee-wicious!"

(Disclaimer: My breast milk has never tasted like dill pickles. The middle kid, aside from being a clown, loved dill pickles, so I think it was a compliment.)

I allowed my milk pops to freeze overnight, and unmolded one the following evening. I had to let the mold set in a bowl of cool water for a couple of minutes to release the final product, but it finally came out fairly well--and what I held in my hand was a sleek vanilla-colored creamsicle. I was so excited that I went on the search to find the Mister.

"Check this out!" I cried when I'd found him. "I made a Momsicle!"

He looked up from the newspaper with absolutely no surprise. Very little fazes him, particularly now that I am blogging about our life. "Did you say a momsicle?" he asked.

"Yes! I made it from my milk. Here," I said, holding it out to him. "Try it."

He took a bite. So did I.

And, you know what?

It was really very good.

It didn't taste like a red popsicle, and it certainly didn't taste like a dill pickle, but it did sort of taste like a marshmallow, and after a couple more bites, I realized that my little lady's estimation of breast milk is quite accurate: it honestly was deee-wicious. ;)

If you're into consuming breast milk for health purposes, have some extra milk stockpiled, and happen to  like ice cream bars, Momsicles might just be the way to go. Some women give them to their little ones to ease teething pain, too.

Because the calories in breast milk vary from woman to woman, depending on diet, and the time of day milk is expressed, (as well as the size of your popsicle molds) it is difficult to determine just how many calories a typical Momsicle will contain, but each of mine was approximately 22 calories, and you can be sure, no matter what, that your Momsicles will be loaded with lots of nutritious vitamins, nutrients, immune-boosting antibodies, and good fat!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Adult Nursing Relationships: A Socially Unaccaeptable and Amusing Lifestyle Choice

We are living in a liberated society where it seems that anything goes. Things once frowned upon or viewed objectively as amoral and lacking in values are now encouraged and defended, and it has become unlawful to behave in a politically incorrect manner toward those who choose to practice what is seen as an alternative lifestyle.

Well, at least that is what we're supposed to believe.

And, apparently, this new liberated way of thinking does not apply to you if you just happen to be in a committed and loving long-term adult nursing relationship.

I recently learned about the blanket diagnosis of erotic lactation, and what I discovered was quite unsettling. Also known as milk fetishism and lactophelia, erotic lactation is considered a paraphilia, which is a medical term that translates to mean a sexual perversion or sexual deviation in which one experiences intense sexual arousal to atypical objects. In the case of we in the adult nursing world, this "atypical object" just happens to be a pair of lactating breasts. Furthermore, we "lactopheliacs" refer to ourselves as being in an adult nursing relationship, and if we so happen to be a devoted and happily-ever-after sort of couple, who nurses, we have the unmitigated gall to refer to ourselves as a nursing couple.

How dare we?

Who do we think we are?

With such an unflattering description of our lifestyle choice, is it really any surprise that so many nursing couples shy away from who they are, have trust issues, and are leery of others while doing their best to assure others of their normalcy while holding onto their dignity? Or that non-nursing individuals think it's acceptable to shun, shame, and harass those that do choose to?

I wonder what a psychiatrist would say if I told him that I view ANR in a gentle and sensual manner that has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with reverence and intimacy and joy? What would he think if I explained that my husband and I adore one another in a way that is unfathomable to most, that for nearly 15 years, his face is the first one I see when I wake up in the morning and the last one I see before I drift off to sleep at night, and that I wouldn't have it any other way?

And what if I told him that I truly resent such an unfair and one-sided definition of ANR, and feel that it's the uneducated ignorance behind the lifestyle rather than the lifestyle itself that is the problem?

Or, that, thanks to the suggestion from a very dear friend, and with the continued support and encouragement I receive from my husband every moment of every day, that I am now planning to donate much of my perverse and atypical breast milk to a legally-run, non-profit milk bank so that little babies don't have to go hungry?

I would then like to ask him if there is a blanket diagnosis for love.

You see, I was driven to write this post when it was brought to my attention that someone had planned to target and publicly shame a very sweet acquaintance of mine over various social media outlets  simply because she practices ANR. This person attempted to lure this dear woman into her very cunningly spun web by using a friendship ploy. What was even worse? This "powerhouse" (see what I did there again with those quotation marks?) planned to utilize her time to ridicule and demean the entire ANR population--and invite others to join in on the fun.

Not today. Not on the Loving Milk Maid's watch.

It is such a pity that some people feel the need to build themselves up by breaking others down.

The devoted and committed adult nursing relationship is about love, and love is something that can never be understood by those who hate. That person is teaching others to hate. I am helping others to love. That person never needs to attempt to make an example out of me because I am setting the example.

Fortunately for that person, I am a lady, an open-minded one who truly believes that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and shall keep my broomstick parked in the closet where it belongs.

But, just so that person knows, we in the ANR community are not here for your personal amusement. We do not require your approval or acceptance. We do, however, deserve respect and common courtesy, just like any other human being.

No one can shame me or break my confidence in the person I am. I won't let them.

And no one can make me stop nursing--or writing about it.

In layman's terms, you roll your way and I'll roll mine.

Fire cannot be fought with fire. I won't even try. I don't want to anyway. Love is limitless. It knows no bounds. It cannot be humiliated or made to feel shame. And it can never be destroyed by hate.

And, now after a lot of consideration, I realize that I actually feel sorry for that person because she will never know the utter bliss or the depth of intimacy that I know.

What does any of this prove, besides the fact that mean people stink?

Nothing, I suppose, because people are still going to find this lifestyle weird and perverse, and, yes, funny. And, no matter what I write or how vehemently I protest, I am still going to be considered a lactopheliac.

If nursing my husband in the name of love, and making lots of lovely breast milk in the process makes me a lactopheliac, then, all right. I'm a lactopheliac.

And if someone doesn't like that I am, I don't care.

However, if you, too, know the sheer joy of nursing, the beauty of the giving breast, and the purest form of love that just happens to be expressed in a different sort of way, then, from one unashamed lactopheliac to another, here's to you!

Take care, and have a super Saturday!

Friday, July 8, 2016

LMM's Preferred Adult Nursing Position and Mr. S' Latch

It's Feel Good Friday, and because nursing is a perfect way to start any weekend, I thought it would be fun to share my answers to a reader's two-part question regarding my personal nursing position preference and Mr. S' latch.

Before I do, though, there's something I need to explain. I just discovered that my website elected (without my permission) to behave very badly by filtering several readers' messages, and withhold them from me. I'm not certain where they've been, but, fortunately, they have returned from their little jaunt around cyberspace.  I feel very bad about this because so many people took time out of their busy schedules to write, and I haven't responded. So, on behalf of my site, I apologize for the delay in replying.

With that being said, let's move on to the good stuff! :)

Mr. S and I normally nurse in bed, no matter the time of day, because our room is a peacefully private sanctuary where we are free to indulge in intimate alone time. It's very important that you nurse in a tranquil and comfortable environment to enjoy the full experience. When we are alone, snuggled closely together in our cozy bed, without noise or distractions, he and I feel very much in tune with the other's needs and desires, and are able to completely feel our connection. He loves to listen to my heart beat while he is at the breast, and I love to listen to the relaxed rhythm of his breathing as he suckles. Nursing is an experience that involves all the senses, allowing you to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear your partner, which is why the relationship is so stimulating and emotionally overwhelming.

We nurse in a face-to-face reclining side-by-side position, which is what we find most comfortable. This position works well for us for many reasons. Because I am well-endowed and now fully lactating, which has provided a firm fullness and natural up-lift, my breasts don't require the support that they once did while nursing. This position is also wonderful because Mr. S has a tendency to fall asleep at the breast after night-time suckling sessions, so he is already in "sleep position", and I can detach him very easily. In this position, I can stroke his face or the back of his head, which we both love.

Because there is a significant (one full foot, as a matter of fact) height difference between us, I normally move up in the bed, and use my comfy reclining bed pillow to elevate my left shoulder slightly; he shifts slightly downward, and with the assistance of his now-infamous little red velvet nursing pillow, his head is well supported and my breasts can fall naturally forward and into his mouth as I pull him against me.

We have tried other nursing positions, but this is the one that work beautifully for us.

Mr. S is a fantastic nursing partner. Over the past 14 years, he has truly mastered the art of suckling. I can tell that he is properly latched by the seal of his lips againt my breast. His mouth creates a very pleasant suction against my areola, which draws my breast forward, allowing it to move freely, as he uses his tongue to hold my nipple in proper place against the roof of his mouth while his lips massage and stimulate the areola. Proper suckling feels very, very nice.

At the end of this post, you'll find a link leading to an article that discusses latching and sealing in more detail.

Thank you so much for your questions!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Adult Nursing Relationship and PTSD: Can Nursing Help with this Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is a harrowing and debilitating mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event that a person has either experienced or witnessed. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, and these may start within three months of the traumatic event, or may not appear until years later. PTSD symptoms cause significant problems in social and work situations--and in relationships.

PTSD symptoms are normally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative change in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions. The main treatments for people with PTSD include psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medications, or both. However, a great deal of information regarding the powerful hormone oxytocin is now available, and researchers are further investigating the hormone as a possible treatment for various mental health conditions, including PTSD. They believe that the hormone's ability to adjust a person's internal make-up could help to remedy the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Several oxytocin studies have now reached the stage of clinical trials, which test the effectiveness and safety of a substance before it can become an approved drug with promising findings. It is believed that oxytocin may act subtly to alter behavior, or change the way we process information.

One theory is that oxytocin dampens the activity in the brain's fear center, which then eases stress and anxiety, and because of the hormone's ability to blunt this activity, it is believed that it may help to reduce the fear that still exists in the brain, following the traumatic event. Oxytocin, combined with other forms of therapy, have now been administered to those suffering from PTSD, and it is believed that adding this biological component to basic intervention can actually speed up recovery, or even increase the number of patients who positively respond to therapies.

At this time, scientists do not know how much oxytocin travels into the brain once it is administered, as the chemical cannot be seen, which makes prescribing an accurate dosage of the chemical very difficult, but because of its positive effects on and alterations of behavior patterns, such as the elimination of flashbacks, hallucinations, and fears, it is apparent that the chemical does reach the brain to some degree, and it is possible that a natural dose of oxytocin produced by the pituitary gland through human contact simply triggers the brain to produce more.

I found it very interesting to learn that oxytocin has been shown to reduce stress when a person is exposed to it in a familiar environment, and that the hormone became even more effective when it was administered by a familiar person, and that scientists don't believe we need an artificial form of the hormone to stir its health properties; because a great deal is already known about ways to trigger the effects of oxytocin, through touch, massage, eye contact, and sex, some psychiatrists are now "prescribing" these methods as ways to ease the effects of PTSD.

Is it possible to believe that nursing could also benefit someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder?

If you consider many of the above factors, such as familiarity and skin to skin contact, as well a the fact that oxytocin is a natural anti-depressant that helps to soothe, relax, and calm, and is released in high doses through the practice of suckling, it seems highly probable, doesn't it?

From a personal standpoint, I have seen the positive effects that nursing has had on my own husband's state of mind and well-being over the past 14 years. While his chosen careers have always been high-profile and stress-inducing ones that have often shown him the harsh and horrible side of life, he has been fortunate not to have suffered the terrible effects of PTSD, which he was--and still is--at high risk for. He feels that nursing centers and balances him, and that suckling is an outlet for potential stress. As we consider many factors in our life as a nursing couple, we now feel that nursing has possibly helped to prevent the symptoms of PTSD.

It is all so fascinating, and wonderful to know that as research continues, a greater amount of evidence is being built to support the medical use of oxytocin. Because the administering of oxytocin produced no negative side effects in subjects during clinical testing, it certainly seems that nursing would be a safe option for couples to incorporate into a current PTSD treatment plan. For those who prefer to take a more natural path to healing and well-being, nursing may be quite beneficial, as oxytocin is biologically produced by the human body, and is readily available for release.

While there is no guarantee that oxytocin therapies will work for every person, it is nice to know that options have been made available to us--and that enjoying a healthy adult nursing relationship might just be one of them.

Note: Most of the research conducted focused on male response , and men were predominantly used as subjects during clinical testing.

Monday, July 4, 2016

An Adult Nursing Relationship Love Story: Sunset from a Car

If you share a committed and dedicated long-term adult nursing relationship as I do with Mr. S, then you will understand that the act of nursing plays a very large part in the experience, but it seems a bit unjust and one-sided not to mention the R factor nestled within every loving and successful ANR. In many ways, as two people work so closely together to build an unbreakable intimate bond to last a lifetime, the relationship becomes key, and the practice of suckling emerges as a beautiful incidental.

That is what adult nursing is like for Mr. S and me.

Every time he comes to the breast, we create a new chapter in our personal love story.

On Saturday, my aunt kept the children so we could enjoy a few blissful hours of quality adult time. We really had no particular plans, and because my aunt assured us that we should not hurry back, we eventually decided to take a long and leisurely twilight drive along some winding, unchartered country roads.

The evening was beautiful, and the weather was perfect. We rolled down our windows and let the soft summer breeze waft through the car as we cruised along, listening to our favorite songs, sometimes talking, other times, being very still as we enjoyed the quiet contentment of the other's company. S would reach for my hand, taking it in his own, and it was wonderful to feel his strength and presence as the trill of nesting birds and the chirping of crickets provided the music of evening.

So caught up in the moment, I lost track of time, not realizing how late it had grown. The scenery rolled slowly by, and endless fields stretched far beyond us on either side of the curving road.

That was when I noticed the sky.

It was magnificent. The setting sun cast a golden glow against a backdrop of periwinkle, fuchsia, and rose, transforming the trees into perfect silhouettes. It was breathtaking, and I asked S to pull the car over to the side of the road so I could admire the consummate perfection.

I took these photos, doing my best to capture sunset from a car, but they just don't display the true beauty of Saturday's sky, or the wonderful evening I shared with my husband.

Nursing is a bit like that beautiful sunset. It is glorious, but until you have the opportunity to experience it for yourself, you'll never truly realize the beauty and magic it can bring.

The Nursing Diary: Week 14

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 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 a 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!

You can read the first 13 weeks of my nursing diary by clicking HERE

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lactiful: Breast Milk Boosting Supplement

Until recently, I had never heard of Lactiful Supply Max, a breast milk boosting herbal supplement manufactured by Lactiful LLC, that "guarantees results in 14 days or your money back". I personally do not use herbal supplements to increase my own milk supply, but I find the subject very interesting, and I am always curious to learn more about it.

Because many women do choose to incorporate breast milk boosters into their daily lactation inducing routines, I thought I would share a bit of information on Lactiful, but before I do, I think it's important to remind you that herbal supplements don't take the place of nursing, or other inducing techniques; to see results, the supplement should be used along with suckling, manual expression, and pumping.  Although organically certified, herbal supplements are not FDA-approved, and carry side effects that can be dangerous to women who are pregnant, or suffer from allergies and other medical conditions. They also pass through breast milk, which means that your partner may be taking them, too. ;) Finally, results will vary among women. With that being said, let's talk Lactiful! :)

I visited the Lactiful website, and although it read a bit like a television infomercial, it was very informative, and provided detailed information to potential customers, while providing a lot of in-depth answers to the company's most frequently asked questions. Along with this information, the company states that its product, although crafted in a FDA registered facility, has not been approved by the FDA, and claim no responsibility for a woman's individual lactation results after taking the supplement. The product is made in the USA, and after I did a bit more research, I found an online report written by the company's manager, stating that the product had been released from Ferndale, Washington, on February 25, 2010.

Lactiful Supply Max claims to be a "miracle worker" that will have you "making more milk right away". It contains a very strong blend of 12 ingredients that work together to increase breast milk supply.

Lactiful contains 8 herbal ingredients that include:
  • Fenugreek
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Alfalfa
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Nettle Leaf
  • Anise Seed
  • Fennel Seed
  • Goat's Rue
and 4 Bioavailability Enhancing Ingredients. These work alongside the herbs to keep them in the woman's system longer, or by making them easier to digest, and they include:
  • Dicalcium Phosphate
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Micro Crystalline Cellulose
  • Croscarmellose Sodium
The company offered the following precautions to potential customers:
  • Do not take if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the package
  • Do not use if you are pregnant
  • Consult your doctor if you have asthma
  • Consult your doctor if you have diabetes
  • Consult your doctor if you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Consult your doctor if you have low blood pressure
  • Consult your doctor if you take blood thinning agents
  • Consult your doctor if you have any auto-immune disorders
  • Consult your doctor if you have epilepsy
  • Use caution if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family
  • Use caution if you are allergic to peanuts or chickpeas
Common side effects that have been reported include:
  • Minor gastrointestinal discomfort (upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and gas), sore nipples, a maple syrup body odor, and odd sensations in the breasts
  • Major discomfort that caused the women to stop taking the supplement due to vomiting, diarrhea, and rash
  • 15 tablets per day
When ordering Lactiful, you receive a 1-month supply of 300 tablets (along with some eBooks and the "Lactiful Guarantee").  The company offers free shipping and return, as well as discounts to returning customers.
  • First-time customers pay $97.00 for 1 bottle of Lactiful
  • Returning customers pay $82.00 for 1 bottle, $145.00 for 2 bottles, and $194.00 for 3 bottles
I found it very interesting that the company provided the following information to its potential customers at the end of the ordering page:
  • "Lactiful Supply Max is not a miracle in a bottle for every mom."
  • "There is currently no cure for low milk supply. No herbal product, pharmaceutical drug, or rigorous pumping schedule works as a universal cure for every mom with hypolactation."
  • "Moms who commit to increasing milk demands see much more success than moms who don't."
Although opinions vary, there are a lot of positive reviews from satisfied customers posted on various sites and forums online, and Lactiful has typically received an overall rating of 4.2/5.

I had the opportunity to speak with three terrific nursing women, each who asked to remain anonymous in this post, who are currently enjoying dedicated ANRs and are taking Lactiful, and I want to thank them for graciously agreeing to share their personal results with me--and you. Each woman is taking the recommended daily dosage of 15 tablets, using the supplement in addition to nursing, manual expression, and pumping. At the time I spoke with them, none reported any adverse side effects.

Woman #1, who is re-lactating and began taking Lactiful to encourage breast milk production within her ANR, said she had an "overwhelming response to Lactiful within 72 hours; increased 1.5 [bra] cup sizes. I am only getting drops, but I am also not forcing my body to do this within days. I take 5 pills, 3 times a day. It's a little pricey, but worth it."

Woman #2, who began taking Lactiful once she had established a low lactation phase with her husband, said: "I started taking Lactiful because we wanted more breast milk. I've been taking it three times a day for two weeks, and I have a little more milk. I don't know if that is from the pills, or because my husband nurses more often now than he used to. I'm going to finish taking my month's supply, but don't know yet if I'll buy more because it's expensive."

Woman #3, who has never previously lactated, chose to take Lactiful to jump-start the milk-making process, and said, "I've used it for almost a month now, and am following the directions, but there hasn't been any change for me, which is pretty disappointing. I won't be re-ordering because it's too expensive, and I didn't get the results I wanted."

Lactiful can be purchased on the company's official site and, where the price is listed at $99.00.

To read a lot more about Lactiful Supply Max and determine if this product is right for you, please VISIT LACTIFUL.COM.

As always, if you have taken this supplement, I'd really love to hear from you, because I'd be very interested to learn about your experience.

Oh, and Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Breast Compressions: Encourage Milk Flow While Nursing

Breast compressions are a wonderful way to encourage milk flow, and are very helpful during the suckling experience to ensure that your partner is consuming every drop of breast milk and properly emptying your breasts during each nursing session, which helps greatly in the lactation process by telling your body that more milk is needed. Although they do very little to assist in the process of making milk,  these compressions cam help with flow. They are effective during suckling, and while they can be used during any level of lactation, they are particularly useful during the first phase when milk supply is low, and it is sometimes difficult to tell precisely how much milk you're releasing during each nursing session. Breast compressions can also be helpful if your milk flow has slowed, or your partner isn't suckling effectively.

Here' how to put the squeeze on lactation. ;)

Once you and your partner have settled into a comfortable nursing position and he is properly latched to the breast, allow him to suckle for approximately five minutes to encourage the let-down reflex. You can then incorporate your first set of breast compressions.

To provide proper compressions, curve your hand into a C-shape, allowing the side of your breast to rest comfortably in the cupped palm of your hand with your fingers supporting the underside of the breast and resting against the wall of the chest. Your thumb will lie flat along the top of the areola, and help to provide pressure during this technique. Your thumb should not press into the areola, as this can inhibit milk flow; when performing compressions, be sure not to disturb your partner's latch. If he does come off the breast, help him re-latch, and then re-position your hand. Firmly squeeze your breast. Your fingers will push upward while your thumb presses down, and the breast will flatten slightly. Hold the position for five minutes as your partner suckles, then release. The release allows your hand and breast to rest.  Your partner should continue to nurse during this rest. After five minute have gone by, apply a second five-minute set of breast compressions if you wish, and repeat the process (compress-rest) for the length of the entire nursing session. You can compress either one or both breasts. Compressions are a technique that don't require a great deal of consistency, so you don't need to use them during every nursing session, as skipping compressions will not adversely affect breast milk production in any way.

I have used breast compressions many times during nursing sessions, and have always found them to be very helpful! There are times when S isn't sure that he has completely emptied my breasts, so he or  I simply perform a set of compressions, and we can be sure that we're encouraging a fabulous supply of milk!
I hope you find this useful as you and your partner work together to make lots of lovely milk! :)