« Is It Possible To Induce Lactation? » from StarGate Libraries

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Is It Possible To Induce Lactation?

Is it really possible for a woman, who is not pregnant, to induce lactation and breast feed? The answer, without a doubt, is yes. Potentially every woman who is self-confident, in good mental health, and whose breasts are physically sound can induce lactation and breast feed. Lactation, whether induced or postpartum, is not dependent on any of the sexual organs, rather it is the result of a positive mental attitude, physical stimulation of the breasts, and brain chemistry. This is true for women who have never been pregnant, as well as women who are post-hysterectomy or post-oophorectomy. For most women, the ability to lactate and breast feed typically begins in the teen years, and extends well past the child bearing years. Even though nipple and breast stimulation often cause sexual arousal, the mammary system functions independently of the reproductive organs, making it possible to induce lactation and breast feed without having been pregnant. The quality of milk and the physical means by which a woman lactates, after having artificially induced lactation, is identical to postpartum lactation with the exception of the production of colostrum. Colostrum, which is normally produced for the first few days postpartum, is not produced during the process of induced lactation or relactation. Physical techniques of suckling, methods of increasing lactation, and care of the breasts are the same for induced lactation as it is for postpartum lactation. The only differences between induced lactation and postpartum lactation is the method by which the essential milk producing hormones are stimulated into production and the lack of colostrum.

Inducing lactation isn’t new, nor is it particularly difficult. In 1935, while studying the social structure of primitive cultures in New Guinea, American anthropologist Margaret Meade Ph.D. recorded her observations of infants, whose mothers had died in child birth or for other reasons were unable to breast feed, being put to the breast of non-lactating women. After a period of being stimulated by the infant’s suckling, the adoptive mother was able to induce lactation and produce enough breast milk to sustain the infant. Dr. Meade was one of the first western anthropologists to observe, and later write about how primitive cultures provided care for orphaned infants through induced lactation. This method of induced lactation was basic and not always successful; however, it is one of the first recorded examples of induced lactation being practiced openly within a culture. In the beginning of the process, because there was little or no milk, the nipple would be coated with mashed fruits or other soft foods, and the infant would be placed at each nipple to suckle. The sweetness of the mashed fruit would serve to encourage the child to continue suckling until the volume of milk was high enough to sustain the infant, and also to temporarily supplement the nutritional needs of the child. The low volume of milk also made it necessary to nurse the child more often. This high frequency of suckling, until the breasts were completely drained, served to rapidly increase the milk supply: because the amount of breast milk produced is in direct proportion the need, (or hunger), of the child. Until recent years, modern induced lactation techniques and hormone enhancing medications were unavailable to primitive cultures isolated in remote regions. Because of this isolation, aboriginal cultures commanded an uninhibited self-reliance with child rearing. Out of necessity and natural maternal instincts, this simple method of inducing lactation and breast feeding evolved. With these adoptive mothers, there was a complete absence of self doubt or even a single thought of being unable to induce lactation. Self-confidence is one of the key factors in successfully lactating without being pregnant.

The practices of induced lactation and relactation have succeeded for centuries without being well documented. During the 18th, 19th, and early part of the 20th century when the United States was being settled, people often turned to wet nurses for help when an infant was orphaned or the mother was unable to produce enough breast milk to feed her newborn child. A wet nurse is a woman who is able to easily induce lactation and produce enough milk to breast feed an infant, while not having been pregnant herself. At a time in American history when there were too few doctors and even fewer hospitals, complications in child birth and infant care were not uncommon, and a woman who could step in and serve as a surrogate nursing mother was a boon to small towns and rural communities. Unfortunately due to Victorian attitudes of the time, the methods used to stimulate and maintain lactation by wet nurses were rarely discussed and almost never recorded in public documents. Because of this, there are few accurate records of wet nursing from that period. Of the few early accounts of wet nursing that still exist, (mostly through family records), there are indications that at least some wet nurses maintained high levels of lactation through out their adult lives, even after their own children were grown. Because a woman does not normally maintain a full state of lactation without being suckled, it isn’t difficult to imagine that many of these women were likely in an adult nursing relationship during periods when their services as a wet nurse wasn’t needed. It is true, there has always been a few women who naturally have higher levels of milk producing hormones in their blood stream, and are able to induce lactation more easily than the average woman; however, this condition exists only in a small percentage of the female population and would not account for the number of wet nurses that existed in early America. Considering the emotional desires and needs of loving couples in the early American culture, (or for that matter, any culture), would be no different than the desires and needs of couples today, it isn’t difficult to conclude that not only has induced lactation been practiced through out history, it is equally probable that adult nursing has been practiced as well.

It wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century, with the onset of mass produced baby formulas and nursing products, that the practice of wet nursing to began to fall out of public favor. Prior to this time, breast feeding wasn’t just the most popular way to feed infants: it was the only way. With the fast pace of life today, and the wide availability of baby formulas and nursing products, many women never consider breast feeding. In many western industrialized nations, not only has breast feeding fallen out of favor in public opinion, it has almost become taboo. Because of social taboos and false stereotyping of female life styles, many women are unaware that lactation is even possible without first being pregnant, when in reality inducing lactation and breast feeding are perfectly natural elements within a woman’s individualism. With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, couples all over the world are discovering they are not alone in their desire for a more intimate relationship. This is especially true for women who are discovering their desire to be suckled by their husband or lover, not just in foreplay but in a full time adult nursing relationship, isn’t unusual or uncommon. The desire to experience the intimacy and inner peace that comes through breast feeding isn’t just limited to postpartum child rearing, it is a normal emotion shared by many woman throughout their adult life. The female mammary system is the product of countless centuries of human evolution, as is her entire physical body. The fact that a woman can induce lactation is an indication that not only has induced lactation been a common practice for countless generations, so has adult nursing. If there had been no need for the ability to lactate and breast feed outside of postpartum child rearing, the female mammary system would not have evolved with the ability to induce lactation outside of pregnancy. The ability to induce lactation or relactate is a perfectly normal part of a woman’s physiology and her desire to adult nurse is a perfectly normal part of an adult male/female relationship. More and more couples today are discovering the corporeal intimacy and spiritual inner peace that is part of adult nursing.

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