What does the term “fully lactated” mean as used in “Successful Adult Nursing”? I based the answer on what I have seen and know about nursing mothers. I know that some mothers leak drops of milk when they hear a baby cry, and/or can spray streams of milk during a letdown. “Full lactation” can be defined as a level of response that produces a visible flow of milk that she can initiate without the help of her nursing partner. If she can trigger a visible letdown without his assistance, then she is fully lactated. At this level of response she has taken the lactation process about as far as it can go.
There are several stories in the files section that illustrate this. While these stories may not be true I believe much of the information presented to be correct. Stories like “Desperate at 30,000 feet”, “Dewdrops”, and “Give Me Your Milk” are all good examples, but the one I prefer is “Dinner Party Disaster”. In this story a nursing couple hosts an evening with some close friends, and the evening ends up with the hostess wetting her shirt in front of them. There is a lot of information in this story. They nurse 4 times a day on a regular schedule. When the schedule gets disrupted, she relieves herself with a breast-pump, which drains her enough to last until he is available to finish the job. The pump is slower and less effective than he is, but she uses it successfully when she has to. They often nurse together at lunch but he was supposed to leave work early, so perhaps he worked through lunch figuring they would have plenty of time to nurse, and drain her completely, before their guests arrived. When he got home late because of traffic, the stage was set for the disaster. After you read this story you will see that she is fully lactated.
Can she be fully lactated without quite such a high response? Yes. Full lactation also implies that her milk production cannot be stopped simply because her nursing partner is not available to her when she needs him. Her release of milk is no longer optional but is now a basic necessity, similar to urination. When her breasts become full, she MUST letdown. If he is not available to help her, then she must find another way to relieve herself. She must release her milk because she has no other choice. She is fully lactated… even if she cannot initiate the release of milk without help. This type of response is one of the cornerstones that makes Adult Nursing so demanding, so rewarding, and so powerful.
Does she need to be fully lactated to be successful at Adult Nursing? No. Full lactation is not required and is often undesirable. You and your partner can be successful without ever seeing a drop and skip the larger burdens that full lactation would place on you. Every couple can reach a level of partial lactation that will fit into their lifestyle without pushing the envelope so far as to be overly burdensome. The beauty is that you can decide how much is enough and how much is too much. You can also adjust your lactation response as your life together progresses and your lifestyle changes over the years. The main thing to remember is not to be in a hurry. You have plenty of time to enjoy the lactation experience together. All you have to do is stick to your schedule, pay attention, and apply the techniques.
In the early stages of inducing lactation how do you know for sure when she is producing milk? Her fluid is often at a slightly different temperature than the inside of his mouth. Be alert to temperature changes while suckling, especially when the fluid volume is small. Her nipples can also leak without producing a visible flow of milk. If her nipples are cooler, or much cooler, than the surrounding skin of the breasts, then her nipples are leaking even if they are dry to the touch. The liquid is evaporating into the air, thus cooling her nipples and enhancing the formation of butter within. This so-called “dry leak” will not leave a wet spot, but it will produce temperature changes, as compared to skin of the breasts, as butter is formed, dissolved, and re-formed in her nipples. Of course, if she releases butter or milk solids she is definitely producing milk. Learn more about how the breast produces milk and butter in Successful Nursing Techniques. Sometimes he will be able to feel the coolness of her nipples through her top when they hug or caress. It can be very stimulating when you feel it and you know what it is.
Good luck and good nursing