Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Age of Love, Part II: Nursing the Older Man

Lately, I have been receiving a lot of messages from readers who define themselves as "older", some who have enjoyed a dedicated ANR for many years, and others who have decided the time has finally come to take that first step into the beautiful world of nursing, and fulfill their private desires. I have a lot of admiration and respect for them; some have approached me with an air of trepidation, perhaps nervous that I'll think it's odd that someone in their 60s would desire a nursing relationship, or maybe they feel that there is too much of a generation gap between us, and I won't understand. Although our lives may be very different, we have more in common than most people would believe--we share the love of adult nursing, and it is a lifestyle that can only be understood by people who recognize and appreciate the exquisite beauty of suckling, and all that the experience has to offer two compatible adults, regardless of age. Believe me, I do understand. Sometimes, it seems that I have always understood.

We often define age unfairly, clouding the truth with broad generalizations like all and every, and there are far too many pre-conceived notions about the preferences and behavior of people based on their age. I was very young when I opened my own nursing relationship; would things have gone differently if I had been told that I was too young to know what I desired, or too young to make such an important commitment? And what would have happened if I had actually begun to own that? I would have missed my opportunity to share one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever known as a woman. It seems that older people often face the same challenges, are expected to be void of feelings and no longer attuned to their own sexuality and sensual needs.

While writing my latest book, which focuses on meeting others in the adult nursing community and forming a healthy relationship, I did a lot of research, and uncovered some fascinating data. Studies show that, when asked, 91% of single people over the age of 70 rated sex as "very important" to their relationships as compared to 40% of their younger counterparts. (Take that, society! ;))

I am married to an older man, and there have been times when S and I have faced obstacles in our relationship because of the difference in our age. They aren't our obstacles. I am very comfortable and very content with him. He is strong and determined, a passionate realist, and very much a gentleman. He treats me like a lady, opens my car door for me and brings me flowers just because he loves me. We complement one another perfectly. He is my safe haven.

And because I am married to an older man, and we happen to enjoy the uniquely exquisite practice of suckling, I also nurse an older man; it is an act that comes very naturally to me, and at night, when we are lying together, under the tranquil cover of night, I become his safe haven, my breasts are his comforting respite, a place to rest his head, a place that allows him to shed the tough exterior that society expects him to wear and be cared for in a way that only I can do.

Recently, I received a couple of  wonderful messages from a 67-year-old gentleman who once shared an intimate ANR with a lactating woman, and is actively seeking a nursing relationship once more, and because he wrote so openly about a misunderstood subject that is considered taboo by so many, I decided to share parts of his letters with you, and answer a few questions about age and nursing.

I would like to be able to develop that type of relationship again and before I stumbled across your site, I thought that maybe I was just a bit off center, and now I find there are others that see the value and pleasure in such a natural closeness and sharing. I desire that again, but at my age and in society's narrow views on some subjects, I really don't know how to go about finding a woman that is willing and enjoys it as much as I do.

How do I approach a woman respectfully with the subject? How do I find the special person that wants to share that part of them. I must be clear, I don’t want a wet nurse, but someone who wants a loving and kind relationship and feels as I do. Most of the lactating women that I know are so much younger than I am that I am afraid to even mention my desires. 

In so many ways, the ANR is very much like a more traditional relationship, one based on chemistry, compatibility, honesty, and mutual respect, and finding that perfect partner can be difficult, whether you hope to nurse or not. And I agree. Society doesn't always help the situation; it is so quick to label and set specific classification molds  that people are expected to simply fit comfortably in to. And let's be honest--adult nursers just haven't found acceptance, or been able to break free of those confining stereotypes and presumed judgments, regardless of age.

We really are out there. It just takes a bit of time to find us.

Many healthy long-term nursing relationships arise from a strong foundation relationship in which two people open lines of communication about the lifestyle, and find a comfortable middle ground that is mutually satisfying. But if you are looking for a partner who already understands and appreciates the world of ANR, shares your ideals and basic principles regarding the lifestyle, and is prepared to nurse, your best option is to visit various online communities and dating sites geared toward adult nursing where you will be free to discuss your desires in an open, honest, and direct way, with like-minded people. It is often very comforting to surround yourself with people who "get it", and will value your opinion on the adult nursing experience. Many of them are actively seeking a nursing partner, too.

When meeting a potential nursing partner, the initial encounter isn't really so much a matter of age, but, rather a question of compatibility. For years, scientists have been trying to discover the reasons for physical attraction. Is it a biological stamp imprinted on the human psyche? Do pheromones play a role in chemistry? There are no solid answers to these timeless questions; for now, attraction remains one of life's sweetest mysteries. We are simply attracted to the people we find most appealing; some people prefer an older partner, others do not. Opening any new relationship can be scary, and it takes a lot of courage to present yourself into a circumstance that exposes so much vulnerability, but you never know what might happen if you never try.

Of course, physical attraction, affection, and love are not the only boundless aspects of adult nursing. It is important to remember that lactation holds no age limitations, either. We often associate breast milk production with youth when, in reality, no matter her stage of life, very little can hinder a woman's natural ability to lactate. There are many women who enjoy the loveliness of lactation well into their 50s and 60s, choosing to induce years after the onset of menopause, and are in search of their perfect partner, too.

Remember, all love, even the adulation of nursing, is timeless, it spans generations and transcends all limitations and boundaries--and it is out there, waiting for you.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their inspiring stories with me. :) As you travel the paths of your personal journey, I wish you all the best.

Take care, and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Message from LMM: The Fifth Month

When I looked at the calendar this morning, I realized that today marks Bountiful Fruits' five-month anniversary. It's something of a special occasion for me, a day that has certainly made me smile--and wonder how it is possible that five months have already passed since I began writing about my journey into the beautiful world of ANR.

What a fabulous five months they have been!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement. To those who have supported my writing endeavors by purchasing my books and to readers who have been with me since the beginning and those who have just recently begun following my journey on Bountiful Fruits, you are amazing and deeply appreciated. And, of course, to the fabulous gentlemen who have answered my "Want Ad" and shared their stories for a future post, a huge thank you! In one way or another, you all help to make this site a success, and I look forward to the future.

In my off-time, I have been working on a new project that is set to launch very soon, and I hope to be able to share it with you early in September. Mr. S and I are fine-tuning things at the moment, but I'm very excited about it. :) I hope you'll join us  there.
I'll be back on Monday with my nursing diary updates, and the week will begin with some brand-new posts, including "Nursing the Older Man", so be sure to stop by!

Until then, I'll leave you with a link to the post that started it all...


Have a beautiful Saturday!

Warm wishes to you,

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Age of Love, Part I: Adult Nursing Spans Generations

Having the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life has been a true blessing since I first began blogging about my personal journey into the world of ANR. I have now had the privilege of speaking with people around the globe, from Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany; adult nursers from France and Sweden, and others from Australia and Japan, Egypt and Greece, and it has been an amazing experience. I honestly feel like a seasoned world traveler, thanks to my lovely readers, and while it has been incredible to find out so much about the worldwide culture of adult nursing and how it is perceived outside of the country that I know, I have also learned that the beautiful practice of suckling doesn't merely span the world; it is revered among generations of people, some who have loved--and lived--this lifestyle for many years, and continue to have a true affinity for it even as time swiftly passes by, and others who have begun their own personal journeys later in their lives.

And I absolutely love that!

This post can be found by visiting THE LOVING MILK MAID'S NEW BLOG.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Secret Joy of Adult Nursing

"My husband and I recently began an ANR, and we are so happy that we want to shout it from the rooftops, but, as you know, we can't, so we refrain. I'm writing to you because I know you'll understand."

And I do.

It's difficult to hold a secret like ANR because the lifestyle is so beautiful, so magical, and has helped to deepen the love that Mr. S and I have for one another as it strengthens our marriage. I would love to tell everyone about this, but, like so many others, I just can't. The world just isn't ready to accept adult nursing yet. And, even though I realize this, hiding it seems so wrong. Hiding implies shame, and I'm certainly not ashamed of any aspect of my life, including the part that allows me to bring the man I love to my lactating breasts, so instead of speaking, I write.

This article has been moved to the Bountiful Fruits site.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lactation Side Effects: Hunger and Thirst

Every woman who has lactated, either maternally or through the process of inducing,, is familiar with the common side effects: a heavy fullness or pain in the body of the breasts, tenderness in the underarms , emotional ups and downs, and the urge to nest, but many women do not realize that there are two other common, but less discussed, side effects of the milk producing process: hunger and thirst.

This post can be found on the LOVING MILK MAID'S NEW BLOG

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Crystal Anniversary Get-Away: Part II

On August 11, Mr. S and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, and after we returned from a completely unexpected--and beautiful-- mini get-away, I blogged about our romantic adventure, beginning this two-part post last Monday with PART I.  Here is the conclusion. :)

Before we headed out for the evening, Mr. S insisted that I open my gifts. The card he chose was so pretty.

And one of my gifts was a beautiful gold and diamond floating heart necklace.

Mr. S had made reservations for us at a fabulous fondue restaurant where we were shown to a private and intimate table for two. Imagine my surprise when I found the table top scattered with rose petals and saw the long-stemmed red rose lying at my place.

I felt so loved--and very much like a lady.

Dinner was fabulous; we shared cheese and chocolate fondue, complete with platters of artisan accompaniments and bowls of fresh fruits (and a virgin Love Martini for me).

And while the ambience was beautiful, the most perfect part of dinner was the quiet conversation we shared. We talked about everything, including our courtship and wedding day, and spent those long, leisurely moments strolling down the curving paths of memory lane. To be told that my husband still feels honored that I am his wife after so many years have passed was magical. We agreed to meet at the same place and at the same time fifteen years from that moment, and I immediately found myself anticipating that far-off moment.

Dark had fallen when we stepped out of the restaurant, and the plaza was beautifully lit with twinkling golden lights, so we took our time walking back to our car, and listened to our favorite songs as we drove back to the Welsh Hills.

Once we were settled into our beautiful suite, Mr. S lit some candles and turned on the soft, soulful strains of Billy Paul and Otis Redding. (Oh, he knows me too well, and knows what happens every time I hear "Me and Mrs. Jones" and "These Arms of Mine"! ;))

I took a relaxing bubble bath in the amazing Italian soak tub...

And Mr. S washed my back.

We spent the final moments of our Crystal Anniversary here:

Our life together is very much like a collection of eclectic short stories, part romantic fairytale and part gripping history. It is filled with passionate love stories and action-packed tales of adventure, and it is the greatest book that I have ever written. Each year I share with the man I love begins a new chapter in our book of life, and it seems that I can never wait to turn the page to find out what happens next.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Birth Control and Lactation: IUD

"I am on birth control (IUD). Can I induce lactation or does it have to be removed?"

When I received this fantastic question from a reader, I knew that it would make a terrific blog post, and to be sure that I was providing accurate information to others, I researched the topic, and then turned to a very valuable resource for further advice: my lovely friend Holly, (who I've mentioned in other posts) a Labor and Delivery RN with a team of lactation consultants by her side, who is always there to lend a helping hand when I need professional assistance. I love Holly for more than just the fact that she is an immense help; she knows about my blog (as well as my personal lifestyle choice), and treats it as a very normal "thing". The world definitely needs more Hollies in it! :)

The concern about birth control and lactation presents itself to many women, and it can bring a lot of anxiety with it, particularly when hoping to induce and build a great supply of breast milk. Combination contraceptives, which include a variety of birth control pills, the OrthoEvra skin patch, and the vaginal Nuvaring, contain both progesterone and estrogen, which is linked to low milk supply and a shorter duration of breastfeeding, even if started after lactation has been established, but what about the IUD?

An IUD is an Intrauterine Device implanted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Currently, there are four FDA-approved IUDs available for use in the United States: ParaGard, Liletta, Mirena, and Skyla.

These IUDs are commonly categorized as copper (ParaGard) and hormonal (Minera, Liletta, and Skyla).

Hormonal IUDs use progestin to control pregnancy, and this is very similar to the progesterone that our bodies naturally make. Unlike other forms of combination birth control methods, these contain no estrogen; the progestin remains in the uterus rather than cycling through the body as estrogen does, so this is an excellent birth control option for many breastfeeding women.

If you are using an IUD as birth control, this should not negatively affect your ability to induce lactation, build or maintain a healthy supply of breast milk, or hinder your nursing relationship in any way. You can continue to practice responsible family planning and make lots of lovely breast milk while doing so. Now, isn't that wonderful news? :)

Thank you again, Miss D., for taking the time to write. I hope this is a help to you--and others!

Take care, and have a terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The 20-Minute Suckling Rule for the Adult Nursing Couple

I recently received an very nice e-mail from a reader who asked a very good question about the "20-Minute Suckling Rule", and I thought it would make a terrific post. I know I've mentioned before how much I enjoy receiving questions and feedback from others, and I do. Often, these inquiries and comments lead to informative articles that may help to clear up nursing confusion and allow me to research a topic further to better guide others along the way. So, thank you to Ms. D for taking the tine to get in touch! :)

"Can my husband suckle for 20/25 minutes in intervals, or does he need to suckle non-stop per breast?"

When hoping to induce lactation--or build and/or maintain a growing supply of milk--it is important for the nursing partner to be on each breast for a minimum of 20 minutes, but he doesn't have to do this all at once.

Suckling can be physically taxing, especially for the new-to-nursing partner, and can lead to jaw fatigue, which is sometimes described as a tired, weak, or overworked, achy sensation in the face, and nursing for a solid 1/3 to 1/2 of an hour is very challenging--and unpleasant. The experience should never be uncomfortable or painful for either partner.

To make suckling easier, your partner can nurse in intervals or "sets".

After latching to the first side, it's a very good idea to suckle for five minutes without stopping (if possible) to properly trigger the let-down reflex. Even if you aren't yet producing, this is still a very important part of the process, as it tells your body to "release that milk". (Remember, you can't make milk if your body doesn't release it.)

After the initial five minutes, he can rest if he feels he needs to. During the rest, he can either remain on the breast, or come off of it and apply gentle massage and compressions. A lot of men find that it's helpful to rest for about five minutes before they resume suckling. It doesn't have to be five minutes, of course, but these 300-second increments can make it a little easier to keep track of suckling time.

He can also switch sides during the 20-minute period of time. After suckling from the first breast for five minutes, he can then latch to the second breast to trigger let-down, and repeat the back-and-forth process for the length of the nursing session. This switch is helpful for two reasons:

1. It allows him time to rest and regroup
2. It often encourages milk production and flow by giving each breast time to replenish and "refuel"

Rests do not count as suckling time. Regardless of how many breaks he required to ensure his comfort, your partner will need to actively suckle for at least 20 minutes per breast.

Rests aren't necessary, and they don't have to be taken every five minutes. If a partner has found a comfortable suckling rhythm and doesn't feel the need to rest, then, by all means, stay on that breast. ;) He should rest when he feels the time is right; just be sure to keep general track of his rest time to be sure that he has suckled for a total of 20 minutes.

Rhythm and routine are important, so try to keep these sets in sync, matching them as closely as you possibly can to each breast.

An example of this would be:

Trigger let-down, rest for five, suckle for five, continue.

You should repeat this on the opposite breast. No matter how you nurse, the length of the session, or how many rests are needed, just be sure to suckle for the same amount of time on each breast.

Always remember, there really isn't a perfect A-B-C, 1-2-3 method to nursing; don't be overly concerned with clock-watching and time-keeping--that takes a lot of the fun out of nursing. Use your own instinct . Relax and enjoy your time together as a couple. Very soon, this will be second nature to both of you. :)

I hope this helps! Happy Wednesday to you!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Crystal Anniversary Get-Away: Part I

I had been anticipating our 15th wedding anniversary for quite some time, but because of several recent life events, I assumed that a romantic August 11 get-away was out of the question, and made plans to spend a quiet and content evening at home.

But Mr. S had other plans.

He had arranged a fabulous anniversary surprise for me, making reservations for two at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in the secluded Welsh Hills.

We began the morning of our crystal wedding anniversary at 6 a.m. with a glorious nursing session, and then he and I enjoyed our morning coffee before sharing breakfast with the children, who had taken the time to make us beautiful anniversary cards, and then prepared to head out just before 9:00. Once the children were settled in with my parents, Mr. S and I were free to head off on our adventure for two in the rolling Welsh Hills.

We stopped off in a beautifully quaint  historic town filled with interesting and eclectic little shops, art galleries, and cafes. The cobblestone streets were lined with blooming magenta and pink impatiens and lacy ferns and little umbrella-clad bistro tables. After strolling hand-in-hand along the winding walkways and browsing in antique jewelry shops and vintage bookstores and confectionaries, we decided to have lunch at Moe's, a bluesy restaurant on Main Street.

I loved the atmosphere. Fabulous pencil art sketches of iconic musicians lined the walls, and we enjoyed eating to soft blues music, talking over the soulful strains of Otis Redding (my favorite) and Ray Charles.

Mr. S loves the Blues Brothers, so we had to take a photo of Jake and Elwood!
Mr. S loved his "deep south" meal, prepared Alabama-style:

 Note the collard greens and red beans and rice? It's hard to believe that he was born and raised in Detroit. :) But his parents had deep southern roots that somehow managed to imprint themselves on my love. ;)

After lunch we headed out once more, this time to Whitt's coffee shop where we ordered two cups of amazing coffee and hand-made vanilla custard, which we shared under the shade of a ruffled umbrella.

I felt so relaxed, so attuned to my husband, and knew that so much awaited us.

After a while, we headed back to the car, and drove toward our destination, taking the time to admire the pretty scenery and beautiful Colonial and Victorian homes along the way. After several long moments, we reached a long, curving tree-lined, sun-dappled lane, and followed it to the inn.

The inn was breathtaking, surrounded by fifteen acres of wooded beauty and lush English gardens, and owned by the most wonderful and hospitable couple who gave us a guided tour of the grounds before showing us to our luxury king suite.

Named Berllan Glyn, Welsh for orchard glen, the guest suite was filled with fabulous antiques, art work, and a gorgeous sitting area. The luxurious two-room bath housed an impressive glass and marble steam shower and was tastefully  decorated with imported pieces of art. It also included a private screened-in terrace with a spectacular view of the gardens and private access to an amazing swimming pool.

Two o'clock had come, so we spent the next hour nursing, and afterwards, we strolled the grounds and enjoyed a long, leisurely swim in the pool, which was absolutely wonderful. Around 6:00, we shared a private--and very romantic--soak in the courtyard hot tub.

I could have been very content to spend the rest of the evening walking hand-in-hand among the gardens or enjoying the bocce ball court and the swaying two-person hammocks stretched between a pair of beautiful old pine trees, but, once again, Mr. S had other plans, so I put my hand in his, allowing him to lead me back to our suite so we could get ready for a night out.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

An Adult Nursing Relationship Love Story: The 15th Year

Once upon a time, quite by chance, a girl met a boy. They fell in love at first sight, and from that very moment, they vowed never to part.

Their love continued to bloom, and before she knew it, the girl was planning her wedding. On a warm August evening, just as three generations of women in her family had done before, she  pledged her unending love to the man standing by her side, and she became his wife.

She soon learned the imperfect perfection known as marriage, and fell more deeply in love with him  as each day passed. Soon, there were bills to pay, meals to cook, laundry to wash, separations to face--and the beautiful sounds of a baby's laughter and the gentle pitter patter of tiny feet.

Time passed quickly, and over the years she sometimes found herself faced with the sacred words of her marriage vows, standing by him for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and each time life presented itself to them in a way that was not always kind, she pulled herself more tightly to his side, adjusting her sails according to the wind's direction, weathering the storm...and fell more deeply in love.

She changed over the years, from a girl into a woman--and a mother. Her body blossomed, and with each new transformation, she saw new admiration in his eyes; he continued to tell her that she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen--and that he was the luckiest man in the world to have her, referring to her as "his girl", even after so many years had gone by. He told her that every change was a symbol of her love for him, creating a timeline of the history they had shared, and that every mark upon her skin was seen as a badge of honor and courage. And she knew the meaning of unabiding love in its purest form.

Suddenly, one day, as if in the blink of an eye, the calendar changed. It was August again. And the 15th year of their marriage had arrived.

Unbeknownst to her, this man had a very special surprise waiting for his "girl", and they slipped off on a romantic get-away for two, just as they had done so many years before.

They shared a wonderful day together, and that evening, he took her out for an intimate dinner, and when they were shown to their table, she found this waiting for her:
As she lifted the fragrant flower to her nose to inhale the heady perfume of its velvet petals, she realized that their love was very much like that rose. From a delicate bud it had flourished, unfurling with every passing moment, until bursting into full bloom to display the beauty it had always held inside.

And when she opened her eyes to find him watching her with a smile playing across his face, she smiled back and reached for his hand, which was waiting for her touch, and neither of them said a word. They didn't need to. Love was had always been there. It was in their eyes. Just as it had been when they'd first met so long ago.

"What do you say?" he asked, lifting her hand to his mouth. "Same time, same place, 15 years from now?"

"Yes," she replied. "15 years from now. And I can't wait."

Why a Schedule is so Important when Inducing Lactation

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I have just returned from a relaxing (and unexpected) mini get-away that Mr. S planned for our 15th wedding anniversary, and we both agreed to set work--and technology-- aside and focus on one another for a couple of days. It was so wonderful to have those beautiful fleeting moments together, but now that I've returned to the real world, it is very nice to be writing again. I am back to my routine. And speaking of routines...

When it comes to the best way of ensuring successful lactation, you have probably read this tip many times before on various sites: choose an inducing routine, select a time to induce, and commit to it. It's valuable advice, but why is it so important?

The human body is made for routines and schedules, and performs at its best when we stay on a biological timeline--and this could not be more true than when it comes to producing breast milk. Whether a woman is making non-maternal or maternal milk, her body needs to be instructed that the time has come to make that milk; otherwise, it won't, and this is why it is much more beneficial to induce just once a day on time rather than several erratic times throughout the day.

An erratic inducing schedule will create confusion by sending mixed signals to your brain and breasts--and neither will know exactly what to do. This uncertainty will cause your body to do nothing at all--simply because it doesn't realize that the time has come to make milk.

When a mother is breastfeeding a little one, her body soon learns its new routine: each time baby is put to the breast, her body recognizes this as "milk making o'clock", and responds accordingly. In essence, during the inducing process, you are training your body to do the same thing--even without the help of a hungry little milk vampire to coax the process along. 😉 Your body isn't fussy. It will make milk for anyone--as long as it knows to do so. But before you can begin to produce milk, you will first need to establish a lactation connection.

For instance, when I chose to re-introduce lactation into the ANR I share with Mr. S, I had to carefully consider our lifestyle, and this led me to choose a once-a-day inducing routine. He and I committed to nurse every night at11:00, and my body soon adapted to this rhythm, and responded beautifully. Once we had established lactation, I chose to incorporate an additional session into our routine. My body already knew to make milk every night at11:00, but it began to learn that it needed to make more milk at 6 a.m.--and then later, again at 2 p.m. as well. I was very comfortable with these additional nursing sessions because I knew that  even if my body did not respond to them, it would continue to make milk at 11:00. This really helped to ensure that I could focus on the beautifully soothing nursing experience rather than the arduous goal of lactation.

Routine is especially important in the beginning, when you hope to establish that lactation connection, and have begun the process of training your body's response reflex. If you miss a regularly scheduled inducing session, no matter which producing technique you have chosen to use, your body will see this as a sign that you are weaning a child from the breast; when this happens, it no longer believes there is a need to make milk, and will automatically shut down production. You will lose the established connection, and will have to begin the inducing process all over again. This is discouraging--and really frustrating--and can take many additional inducing sessions just to help your body find its routine once more, so do your best not to skip even onededicated  inducing session in the first month--or until you are sure that you have established lactation. Remember, in the very beginning, you will need to nurse nine out of every 10 days to ensure successful production.

I hope you find this helpful. Wishing you a happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

To Lactate or not to Lactate? That is the Adult Nursing Relationship Question


One simple word holds so much meaning.

It certainly seems to be an important factor in many couple's personal ANRs, particularly when the decision to embark into the sweetly mysterious unknown has finally been mutually agreed upon, and the dream of producing breast milk looms on the vibrant horizon. While lactation is a beautiful part of the devoted adult nursing relationship, it is not required to enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding connection with your partner. Although dry nursing is a sensual--and often completely encompassing--experience, very few questions arise in regard to this aspect of the adult nursing relationship. Most of them pertain to wet nursing, and more specifically, the steps that lead to lactation. I am often asked to define the difference between partial lactation and full lactation. Just like every other aspect of ANR, lactation is a very personal choice, and whether you decide to produce some milk, lots of milk, or no milk at all is dependent upon your desires.

So, to lactate or not to lactate? That is the question.

I found myself facing that very age-old adult nursing relationship question nearly five months ago when Mr. S and I committed to the re-opening of our dedicated ANR. Although much of our suckling relationship had always involved lactation, due to my exclusively breastfeeding three children for many years, he and I had experienced the sublime joy of dry nursing, too, and simply bringing him to the breast was enough to sustain our desire within our ANR. But I soon found myself thinking about lactation, all of that lovely liquid gold, and I realized how much I had missed the experience of gloriously full breasts, and allowing my husband to draw my milk from them. There was a fleeting moment of regret when I recalled how much lovely milk I had allowed to go to waste when our little one came off of the breast five years before, and the opportunity of maintenance that I hadn't thought of then. But that part of my life was over. A new chapter had begun. And I began to focus my attention on an experience that was very new--and exciting-- to me: non-maternal lactation.

I brought up the subject of lactation to S one evening, very early into our re-discovered nursing relationship, explaining what I had learned about re-lactation, and it was wonderful to openly discuss such an intimate part of our relationship; that very first conversation helped to forge this new level of our pre-existing relationship, and I saw my husband in a new light that evening. He was intrigued by the idea of lactation, particularly the sort that we would produce together, as a devoted couple, but more important than his support and encouragement was his understanding. He knew how important lactation had become to me, and even as he worked alongside of me to help me achieve my goal of a full milk supply, he continued to remind me that he loved our time together, and truly desired an ANR, even if I were unable to produce a single drop of milk. His affirmation of love helped to keep me grounded--and allowed me to focus on our relationship.

Was there personal pressure to achieve what I thought of as success? Yes. And even though I knew that S would be there to provide the support I needed, and that nothing could hinder our beautiful nursing relationship, there was still that tiny worry niggling at the back of my mind. Would I really be able to make milk? What if I failed? Would I disappoint him--or myself?

Some of these fears faded as soon as I truly understood that my husband had taken an utterly realistic approach to re-lactation. I then did the same.

And, if there is one thing that every woman needs to know it is that lactation comes with realities.

  1. Depending on the approach you take, inducing lactation can be time-consuming.
There are a lot of opinions on the best way to induce lactation, and some of them are discouraging. The first information I found instructed me to induce around the clock; to ensure success, I would need to pump, stimulate, or nurse Mr. S every two hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until I began to see results. Because I have a very busy life outside of nursing, I knew that wasn't a practical option for me. Unfortunately, women can often find themselves caught up in the pursuit of making large quantities of breast milk--and quickly. Encouraging an adequate supply of breast milk can take a lot of time, and requires careful regulation and scheduling. Placing yourself on an around-the-clock schedule can lead to "nursing burn-out" because it takes so much joy out of the experience. Suddenly, the idea of making milk loses its fascination, and the process becomes just another chore. How do you balance every day life in two-hour increments? It just isn't feasible. A better option is to decide which method of inducing is best for you, and what time(s) are convenient for your lifestyle--and stick to them. Enjoy the nursing experience, and induce on schedule.

2. Herbs are not magic.
There are many breast milk boosting herbal supplements available to women who desire lactation, and there are a lot of success stories floating around about them. While herbs can be beneficial in aiding (and increasing) milk production, they do not take the place of more traditional, tried-and-true inducing techniques. They must be used alongside suckling, pumping, manual expression, and/or TENS Unit stimulation. Because of allergic reaction warnings and possible side effects, herbal supplements are not right for every woman, and they must be used properly to ensure their effectiveness. For instance, while Fenugreek remains the mot popular choice for its breast-boosting properties, it must be used regularly, or it can actually adversely affect milk production, and Red Raspberry Leaf, although an excellent choice for helping to increase supply, will cause a decrease in milk if used for longer than two weeks at a time.

3. Cooperation is Key.
Although you can definitely induce lactation on your own, women who have dedicated suckling partners understand that cooperation is important to successful lactation. Other methods of inducing lactation will work, of course, but suckling will always be the best choice, as it provides the deep and proper stimulation required to encourage milk production and flow. If you have chosen suckling as your only inducing method, your partner will need to be available to nurse during all scheduled sessions. If he isn't able to nurse, you'll want to have an alternative inducing method available to employ in his absence. Inducing lactation is a commitment, which is why selecting a convenient schedule is so important to the milk-making mission.

4. Emotions play a large role iin successful lactation.
Because the early stages of lactation focus largely on proper hormone placement, a woman's mental state will hold a very big part in how successful lactation is. The fear of failure, the pressure to produce, and worrying that you aren't making milk fast enough can cause your body to grow very stubborn. It may automatically shut down its natural production, impeding the process--or stopping it entirely. It's difficult to stay focused and relaxed, especially if breast milk is deeply desired, but it is important to try. Stress and anxiety are two leading causes of poor let-down--and your body must release your milk before it can be drawn from the breasts.  Encourage your body to produce, but don't attempt to force it to perform beyond its abilities. Lactation is a very natural process that presents itself to every woman in its own way...and in its own time. Relax. Enjoy your partner, and spend some time focusing on the relationship you are building as a couple.

5. Maintaining a supply of breast milk takes work.
Once you have begun to produce, you will be able to better judge just how much milk is right for you and your particular lifestyle. After that has been decided, the time will come to maintain that milk supply. Maintenance is part of lactation, and is necessary to ensure that your desired level of milk remains stable; you will need to continue suckling, hand expressing, or pumping to remind your body that more milk is needed. It can be challenging at times, but as long as you stay true to your set schedule, managing your supply should easily become a very natural part of your daily routine.

6.  You will leak.
Because there is very little difference in maternal and non-maternal milk flow, as your body isn't particular about who it is producing for, lactation presents the same concerns for the nursing woman as it does for the breastfeeding mother, and if you aren't careful about milk removal, you will leak, wetting your bra and blouse. Let-down happens, sometimes at the most inconvenient times, so be sure to empty your breasts completely to ensure that this very private part of your life remains that way.

7. Nursing maladies present themselves to adult nursers, too.
Yes, they do. Engorgement, plugged milk ducts, mastitis, and thrush can be a very real part of the adult nursing relationship.

8. Re-lactation is easier than starting from the ground up.
Sometimes...but not always. In essence, when a woman re-lactates, she is simply reminding her body of what it has done in the past, regardless of  how long it has been since it's made milk. While there is no proof positive that women who have previously been pregnant, experienced childbirth, or breastfed have greater success with non-maternal milk production than those who are inducing without the benefit of these natural aids, the process often occurs at a faster rate.

9. Life happens.
It does. A lot. A little hand may knock at a closed door. An unexpected appointment may arise. You may just not want to induce on a certain day. And that's okay. Stay realistic--and flexible. Remember, life happens.

10. Lactation is a glorious part of the adult nursing relationship.
It truly is, and none of these realities should be a deterrent to you if you and your partner have your hearts set on lactation.  If you're up to the challenge, producing milk as a couple can be a wonderfully intimate part of the nursing relationship.

But it simply isn't for everyone.

And this is when dry nursing becomes a beautiful option for many loving couples.

Suckling without lactation is an exquisite part of ANR. It is soothing, comforting, and completely carefree. There are no rigid schedules to adhere to--and certainly no pressure to produce.  Dry nursing provides the same bond, the same intimacy, and as much personal fulfillment and mutual pleasure as wet nursing offers. When opening an ANR with your partner, even as you begin to devise an eventual lactation plan, I highly recommend that you dry nurse. Be open to the experience. Watch your partner suckle. Incorporate sensual touch into every session. Focus on the emotions that arise from the experience.  You may find that lactation is not as important to your personal journey as you had believed it would be. One of the most beautiful things about the adult nursing relationship is that it allows for so much self-exploration and discovery. It provides two devoted people the opportunity to share their most secret desires with one another while offering a wonderful array of options to them.  Don't rush the experience along. You have all the time in the world to decide the path your personal journey will take. Follow your heart, and let it guide you along the way!

You can read about one couple's dry nursing experience by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Quiet Time: An Adult Nursing Relationship Interview

I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. R, 52, who works in real estate, and his 49-year-old wife of 24 years, Mrs. R, who juggles her role as a mother to their 12-year-old son with her career in the medical field, when I received a message through Bountiful Fruits' official Facebook page, and have now had the pleasure of exchanging e-mails with them on several occasions. When I first met this amazing husband and wife, I was instantly touched by their moving description of the "loving quiet time" they share as a long-time married couple. This devoted pair truly reaffirm the bond that two people can create within a dedicated ANR--even when lactation is not a factor within it. Please enjoy their story!
Quiet Time
An Interview with Mr. and Mrs. R
LMM: Before we begin, I want to thank you again for graciously agreeing to share your personal story with others. How did you first discover ANR, and what interested you most about the lifestyle?
Mrs. R: Along with our son, who was a bit of a pleasant  surprise to us, we are the parents of two daughters, ages 22 and 21, who are now living on their own. I did not nurse either girl, but when our son came along, I told Mr. R that I would like to attempt breastfeeding, which he was very supportive of, and it was during a sexual encounter when our youngest was about two months old that we shared our first experience.
Mr. R: But we didn't know that it was called ANR. We didn't know that it was a lifestyle choice.
LMM: So, like a lot of couples do, you sort of stumbled onto it, and it became something of a "happy accident"?
Mr. R: Exactly! Neither one of us would have given adult nursing any thought if we hadn't discovered it on our own. I enjoyed the first experience, and wanted to try it again, but I wasn't sure how to tell Mrs. R how I felt. Because she seemed to enjoy our quiet time together, I took the liberty of nursing again a few nights later, to see how she would react to the experience.
Mrs. R: It took me by surprise, but it was the best feeling! The experience was so gentle and loving; I'd never felt so close to him as I did when he was nursing, and I knew that this was something I wanted to continue, but I still wasn't sure how to tell him, so he just continued to nurse, and it became a normal part of our quiet time together.
LMM: Did you ever decide to openly discuss what you were sharing?
Mrs. R: After a while, we did. I remember thinking, Oh, this is silly! I need to tell him how I feel! [laughs] I was very surprised that it was so difficult for me to bring this up to him, but I realized how important it was, so when we had a private moment together, I told him how much I loved what we were sharing, and that I wanted it to continue.
Mr. R: And that was such a relief because I'd been trying to decide how to open the conversation with her, too. No matter how long you've been married, I think something like this is always going to be a little tricky to talk about. The fear of rejection is there, and you aren't sure how your spouse is going to react to the idea. But I agree--it's important to talk about it.
LMM: How did you respond when Mrs. R told you how she felt?
Mr. R: I told her how much I loved our time together, too, and that it was a part of our life that I could see sharing for a very long time. Men can have a hard time talking about their feelings, but my wife appreciated my honesty, and it brought us closer together. I learned that it was "okay" to do so, to open up, and really talk.
LMM: I think vulnerability is difficult because men are expected to fit into a certain mold based on society's standards. That is such a valid point--that it is just as important for men to have the chance to openly communicate as it is for women. And, it's also important to show others that communication can be something as simple as saying, I love this.
Mrs. R: I agree! Just telling one another how we felt, in just a few words, led to a longer conversation, and it was amazing.
Mr. R: Our relationship has actually helped to keep those lines of communication open. I think we do talk more now. If you can talk about adult nursing with your spouse, you can talk about anything. [laughs]
LMM: Yes! This is about as intimate as it gets, isn't it? Did you begin to define your experience as an ANR?
Mrs. R: Not really, but this was because neither he nor I were fully aware that adult nursing was a very real part of other people's marriages, too. It felt so right for us, so natural, but we didn't know that it had a name.
Mr. R: We learned a lot more about the lifestyle when I found your blog and shared it with Mrs. R. We spent an entire evening reading it, and I think that's when everything clicked for us. I don't know if we can technically define our experience as an ANR, but nursing continues to play a very big part in our marriage.
Mrs. R: I breastfed our son for six months, and when he was weaned, I thought nursing would be over for Mr. R, too. I didn't realize that we could share this as a couple. After I stopped breastfeeding, it was almost three years before we nursed again. I really missed our quiet time together, I missed that closeness and intimacy, so, one evening, I asked if I could nurse him. He was surprised, I think, because there was no milk, but he was willing to try, which is how we discovered that dry nursing is a very real thing.
Mr. R: And we continued to nurse off an on for about six years before recently committing to nurse two to three times a week.
LMM: Lactation is a part of the nursing experience for many couples, but I understand that you have chosen to dry nurse. What led you to make that decision? And did you ever consider re-lactation?
Mrs. R: Because breastfeeding was a new experience for me after our youngest was born, I didn't realize how difficult it could be at times. Our son had latching issues, and I found it hard to handle pumping when I was so busy with our daughters and work and the new baby. Mr. R helped with my milk supply, but after our son was no longer breastfed, I didn't feel the need to continue with lactation.
Mr. R: I enjoyed my wife's milk, and when we decided to start nursing again, I wasn't sure if she would be able to produce milk--or even if she would want to. When I found out about re-lactation, after reading your blog, I did bring up the subject, but she wasn't open to the idea.
Mrs. R: The breast milk was such a nice part of nursing in the past, but I'm not prepared to begin the process all over again at this point in my life. I don't feel that I have the time to manage lactation. He was really supportive of my decision, especially after I told him how excited I was to begin nursing again.
Mr. R: No matter how I felt, I knew that, in the end, the decision of lactation had to be my wife's, and I was fine with that. It was good to talk openly about the idea, and to know that it was an option.
LMM: It's so wonderful to hear from couples who have found their middle ground within the nursing experience. As a couple who has shared a wet nursing experience in the past, can you tell me how the experience differs from what you currently share?
Mrs. R: For me, there really is no difference. I am so happy with the decision we made to dry nurse! We are still sharing special time that means so much to both of us, and the bond is very much the same. We are both learning so much about the experience. I feel very relaxed, knowing that there is no pressure to produce milk, no pressure to maintain a supply. We can just enjoy our quiet time together and grow closer as a couple.
Mr. R: Her breasts give me everything I need. I am finding that milk isn't a necessary part of nursing. I am more than happy to continue this part of our life just the way it is.
LMM: What advice would you give to other couples who are considering opening an ANR, particularly if one partner is reluctant to try nursing?
Mr. R: Men need to get over those communication hurdles. I think they would be surprised to find out how much it will mean to their wives. Mrs. R found a new respect for me when I willingly opened up to her about nursing. I've learned a lot about myself, and about my feelings. I can accept that soft side now. [laughs] I would tell others to be willing to talk--and to try.
Mrs. R: I completely agree with this. I loved that he was so willing to talk about the experience and how it made him feel. That was a very important part of the experience for me. And it still is. Nobody should ever be ashamed of their feelings. Nursing isn't strange or scary. It's been a wonderful part of our marriage. Even without lactation, it can be completely enjoyable and rewarding. Just try it for your partner. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!
LMM: Once again, thank you both so much for talking with me, and for openly sharing this part of your life with others. I wish you many more happy years of marriage!
Mr. R: Thank you for giving us the chance to discuss our relationship, and for giving us a place to connect. We really appreciate your approach to adult nursing.
Mrs. R: Finding your site has been wonderful. Thank you so much for everything you're doing. All the best to you!

 Seven More Unique ANR Stories
ONE MAN'S OPINION: The Loving Milk Maid's very own Mr. S discusses his views on the dedicated Adult Nursing Relationship

ISO: LT ANR: Maddie discusses why she no longer searches for the casual nursing relationship

A BEAUTIFUL DISCOVERY: When Samantha and Mr. M opened a loving ANR, they found new levels of love and intimacy that neither had believed possible

MENDING METHOD: Nancy tells how ANR helped to repair a somewhat troubled marriage.

PURE SERENITY: Mr. E shows that love is limitless within the bonds of the marriage he shares with Mrs. D

LONG-DISTANCE LOVE: When her fiancée's career began to cause stressors in his life, Lily discovered the beautiful--and healthy--aspects of ANR

HAPPILY EVER AFTER: Mr. D and Mrs. A help to shed light on the truly beautiful and normal side of the loving long-term ANR

If you would like to share your story with others, please let me know! All interviews are conducted discreetly and anonymously, as a way to protect contributors' privacy.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Huge Reveal: Breast Change and the Adult Nursing Relationship

Every so often, I will get asked about my breasts, and when I do, the question always pertains to their size. It's nothing new. They have been a fascinating curiosity since they made their grand appearance many years ago. I made it through adolescence when boys have not yet grown refined, and most of them eagerly anticipated cooler weather when I was instantly transformed into the school's "Sweater Girl", and into adulthood when I have had to prove that big breasts are not always equated with wantonness--or stupidity. There are some pitfalls to having ample endowments, and they can be frustrating, but I am very comfortable with my breasts. They are very much a part of who I am as a person.

As odd as it may seem, I truly became aware of my breasts when I knew that S was going to see them for the first time. It was also the first time that my confidence in them became a bit shaky. Up to that point, they had just been there, filling out sweaters and taking up space, but as I stepped out of the bathtub in preparation of what was to come, one question continued to float through my mind: What is he going to think when he sees them? I shouldn't have worried.

My breasts underwent their first transformation eight months later, when they began to prepare to sustain the beautiful new life that was growing inside of me, and that was when I became aware of what they could do. They were capable of so much more than just catching an eye, turning a head, or eliciting the occasional not-so-nice remark--they could nurture and nourish a person. They were certainly not the same breasts that S had seen--and grown accustomed to--over the months, but because I was so in awe of them, revealing the glory of these breasts, these full, feminine, life-sustaining breasts, to him empowered me and bolstered my confidence as a woman. Did I wonder what he would think of them? Yes. But not in the same way that I had months before. We had created these breasts together. They were a symbol of our love. And they were fabulous.

Over the years we have watched as they have evolved from breasts to nursing breasts, to breasts, and, now, once more, into nursing breasts, and he and I agree that these are the best breasts of all. :)

So, a couple of days ago as I was checking messages, I came across a very polite one pertaining to my breasts, specifically their size and the change that they have undergone since I began my journey into lactation. I read it carefully; it was from a woman who had very real concerns about her own breasts, and seemed to want to "compare notes". Before I answered the inquiry, I went on the search of the one person whose opinion I value above all others', and found him resting in our bed.

"Do you think it's okay for people to ask me about my boobs?" I asked without preamble.

I think I might have mentioned in a previous post that very little surprises Mr. S, who has been my steadfast partner for the past 16 years, particularly now that I have begun to blog about our life as a nursing couple, and this unexpected question  seemed to be par for the course. Mr. S takes a quiet, thoughtful, and pragmatic approach to everything, and after a few moments of silence, he said, "You take a realistic approach to ANR, and you're so open with your writing, I think it makes people feel comfortable enough to ask questions."

"Yes," I replied. "But do you think it's okay?"

"Well," he said, "I guess that depends on how they ask."

"I think I'll write a blog post about this," I said. "I'll call it 'The Big Reveal'."

"No, no," he said with a smile. "Call it 'The Huge Reveal'."

I think it's very fair for people to have a natural curiosity about my breasts. After all, this is a nursing blog, and I have no illusions when it comes to the suckling lifestyle or breasts in general. Both remain a fascinating subject for many people, and change in regard to the female anatomy is very much a part of the beautiful nursing experience. I encourage questions, as curiosity is a very natural part of the human instinct, even those that pertain to my breasts, but whether you receive an answer depends greatly upon what you ask--and how you ask it. Here are two examples.

The right way to ask LMM about her breasts:

I have just opened an ANR with my husband, and we have decided to induce lactation. I'm a bit concerned about the changes this will bring. How much have your breasts increased in size? Has it been difficult to deal with this?

This approach will get you a very open and honest reply...and an entire blog post dedicated to the subject. :)

The wrong way to ask LMM about her breasts:

Hello, dear. Cup size?

This approach will get you:

a. Ignored
b. Blocked
c. Reported, or
d. Scolded

and an appearance in a blog post concerning nursing etiquette. ;)

When I began this blog back in March, my bra cup size was DDD, which is typical for me when I am not nursing. Since then, my lovely ladies have increased by four cup sizes. Here is an interesting story about that:

When I first began my journey into lactation, I avoided investing in new bras right away because, although I was fairly certain that my breasts would undergo a beautiful change, I wasn't sure just how much they would change. As a woman who has spent the better part of her life as a very content milk maid, I had a general idea of what I would be facing--and I welcomed it with sweet anticipation. As my breasts began their metamorphosis into nursing breasts, I continued to place them, sometimes under great protest, into the cups of my DDD bras, until they (and my brassieres) simply couldn't take the pressure any longer. By this point, I had gone up three cup sizes, and my size was holding steady. I felt very confident that the time had come to do some lingerie shopping.

I spent an entire Sunday afternoon in search of the perfect bra, finally stumbling onto a shop absolutely filled with undergarments. The sign in the window read: ANNUAL BRA SALE. BUY 3, GET 1 FREE. It was kismet. I stepped inside and began to browse, unable to believe that this store actually had four bras in my size. The cups were silky, reinforced with cross-over banding, eliminating the need for nasty underwires, the straps were an appropriate width, and there were five colors to choose from. They were perfect. I went home with four new bras (two black, two white) and a sales receipt for my $160.50 purchase, (This is true--the bigger the cup size, the bigger the price tag.) feeling only slightly guilty about how much money I had spent, and settled comfortably into my brand new lingerie.

All was going well until my breasts suddenly decided to pull a fast one on me and increase another cup size.

See what I mean about breast change being a big part of the nursing experience?

This can be daunting for many women who are curious about what to expect as they embark on their own journeys into ANR and lactation. Common concerns are in regard to size (how big will they get?) and shape, areolae coloration, if ptosis (the medical term for sagging) and stretch marks will present themselves, and what will occur if lactation is discontinued (will my breasts become deflated after nursing?)

There is just no simple answer to any of these questions, because when it comes to nursing changes, you never really know what will happen until it does. Nursing breasts come in many shapes and sizes, and every transformation that occurs is dependent upon many factors, including physical build and stature, heredity, and genetics. Every woman's body responds to lactation in its own unique way, but it is a truly beautiful part of the nursing experience. Welcome and embrace every magical metamorphosis because each one is special and belongs solely to you.

Since the nursing relationship involves a coupling, I don't feel that I can end this post without addressing one final concern regarding the upcoming breast changes that some women face with both anticipation and a bit of trepidation.

How do you think my partner will feel about them?

I think anyone who truly appreciates and understands the adult nursing relationship will welcome and revere the beautiful new breasts that he has helped to create.

Have a fabulous Friday! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thrush (Adult Nursers Can Get it, Too)

I have often been asked if nursing an adult is similar to nursing an infant, and in some respects, the experience is very similar, particularly if a couple has chosen to wet nurse, as lactation holds the same realities regardless of who your body is producing milk for.

Along with facing the same physical changes and common nursing challenges, such as unexpected leaking and the prevention of engorgement, breast health is also just as important for the nursing woman as it is for the breastfeeding mother.

In the beginning of your nursing relationship, it is normal to experience tenderness in the body of the breast that may extend into the underarm, warmth, or even little "growing pains" that shoot suddenly and briefly through the breast; tender nipples are often attributed to the new experience of suckling, and an episode described as painful nursing is normally remedied by adjusting your partner's latch or changing positions. These little maladies typically disappear quickly, as your body adapts to its role as a nurser, and rarely signify more serious issues.

It is also common to get the "nursing nipple itchies". The skin of the nipple and areola is delicate and suckling--and routine pumping-- can cause it to dry out, leading to this harmless (but irritating and uncomfortable) condition, which can easily be soothed by applying a small amount of coconut oil or lanolin to the affected area. But when is an itch more than just an itch?

When it is thrush.

Thrush is a fungal infection caused by the organism Candida albicans that can occur in the nipple(s) and breast(s). Nipple and/or breast thrush is often more common in women who have a history of yeast infections, and its cause is sometimes linked to prescription antibiotics or injury and damage to the nipple. Thrush discomfort is often described as a deep burning or stinging itch accompanied by severe stabbing, shooting, or deep nipple pain that can radiate throughout one or both breasts. The discomfort is often more apparent immediately after nursing and in between suckling sessions.

Thrush can cause the nipples to become bright pink and enflamed and the areola may redden or become dry and flaky. Sometimes, a fine, white rash will appear on the breasts. Initially, the signs of breast thrush may be undetectable before symptoms seem to suddenly appear.
Thrush is contagious, and many breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to watch their infants for signs that they may be suffering from the condition, but the disorder isn't limited to little feeders--adult nursers can get it, too.

Like breast thrush, the early stages of oral thrush contracted from the breast, may be undetectable for a significant amount of time before symptoms are noticed. Thrush is normally identified by a white coating of the tongue and inner cheeks and can extend to the gums and roof of the mouth. It may cause soreness, difficulty in swallowing, and loss of taste.

Because thrush is easily transferred between nursing partners, it will be important for both of you to be tested--and possibly treated--for the condition by a qualified medical professional.

Here's the good news: although thrush is a possibility, it is a rare occurrence.

Breast care is extremely important for the nursing woman, as some health concerns can be avoided with some much-deserved TLC. Injury to the nipples can be caused by improper suckling, forceful breast pump suction, or even an improperly fitting breast flange. Damage, such as cracks and fissures in the nipples, are often slow to heal, and are perfect entry points for infectious diseases, so take extra-good care of yourself! Be sure that your partner is properly latched and suckling correctly during nursing sessions, and pump, using the correct breast shield, at no more than your maximum level of comfort. If you notice damage to your nipples, be sure to care for them immediately to prevent further problems. You can do this by gently cleansing and thoroughly drying your breasts after each nursing session, and then applying a small amount of over-the-counter antibacterial ointment to the affected area. If you are already producing, you can apply a few drops of breast milk to your nipples and allow it to completely dry. Breast milk is chock-full of natural healing properties.  If the condition doesn't improve, it is best to consult your healthcare provider.

If you find yourself suffering from the more common nursing nipple itchies, you might want to try The Vinegar Solution, a simple home remedy to soothe and relieve nursing discomfort. It's safe, natural, economical, and effective!

Pour 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into 1 cup of warm water. Mix well. Saturate a cotton ball in the solution and place it on the affected area for 3-5 minutes. Then, lean over a sink and slowly pour the remaining mixture over your nipples and areolae. Don't rinse. Pat dry. Repeat this as needed, up to 3 times per day. isn't that better? ;)

Take care of yourself--and those beautiful breasts. And have a happy Thursday!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mr. S, Pet Projects, Life, and Stuff

Happy August, everyone!

When I looked at the calendar this morning, it seemed difficult to believe that another month passed by so swiftly, and it has been 18 weeks since I began writing about my experience as a nursing wife. So much has happened in these past four months, and so much of it has been wonderful. Having the opportunity to write has brought so much additional joy to my life that it is often pleasantly overwhelming, and I have others to thank for this.

Mr. S is doing well. We tease about him having a "hitch in his get-along", but things are progressing beautifully, and I could not be happier about this. Thank you again for the warm thoughts and well wishes. We both appreciate them so much!

My time away allowed me the chance to make some plans for the future of Bountiful Fruits even as I spent my infrequent free time completing my first book, The Art of Lactation, which has been a work in progress since late-May, and adding to my second manuscript. In between posting a few blog entries, I also managed to create my second blog, Garden of Delights, which you can visit by clicking RIGHT HERE, and find my bio, testimonials, book excerpts, and some of my writing.

I have also had the pleasure of meeting two wonderful couples--Mr. and Mrs. R and R and his lovely K--and received such terrific messages from MG, RS, K, J, and H. Thank you all. I'll be in touch soon. Oh, and L and T, I hope you're doing well! :)

I have several blog posts planned for the next two weeks, including a brand new interview, and I hope you'll find them fun and informative. I had intended to have my podcast up and running last week, but two things prevented this from happening. The first was time, and the second was a certain very small curly-haired person with green eyes and dimples who seems to view herself as a miniature version of Mother Love as she performed a "radio show" in front of a live studio audience that consisted of several dolls, a menagerie of teddy bears, and one very well-loved security blanket--and broke my microphone. But I'll be back on Soundcloud as soon as I possibly can--definitely by the 10th because I have a really fun episode planned to commemorate our wedding anniversary, which we will be celebrating the following day.

There you have it--a small glimpse into the happenings of my wild, crazy, hectic, chaotic, average, ordinary, everyday, and positively wonderful life as a nursing wife! :)

To my new readers and those who have liked my Facebook page and begun following me on Google+ and Twitter, thank you so much!

And, to my very dear friends and close acquaintances, you are in my thoughts and my heart. I miss you and will talk to you soon.

I hope your week--and month--is off to a great start. I'll be back tomorrow with the great ANR versus ABR debate!

The Nursing Diary: Weeks 16, 17, and 18

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.