Breastmilk Safety for Adults
The main cautionary points in developing an Adult Nursing Relationship (commonly referred to as ANR
- Be cautious if your milk supplier has a disease or infection that is transmitted through breastmilk. This would be relatively uncommon as well if you have a long-term relationship with your milk producing partner, but HIV and hepatitis can be found in breastmilk. Do not be afraid to request they have a STD and STI test and provide you a copy of the results. It's important to know your caregiver's health and illness history and ask doctors if there is something to be concerned about regarding their infections or diseases. Bodily fluid exchange is always a important subject.
- Cancer is not transmittable through breastmilk. You cannot catch cancer through consuming breastmilk.
- If your lactating caregiver consumes large amounts of something you are severely allergic to then it is highly possible that the proteins from that food will transfer through to breastmilk. So, if you're allergic to cows' milk and your partner is consuming it then those proteins can leech through. The allergic reaction would not be as serious as it would be if you were consuming the allergen food or drink directly though. You could, and probably should, expect reduced symptoms and severity. You should have your caregiver match your dietary needs and you would be safe from that concern.
- If your milk provider is taking medication then you would want to know if it is transferred through breastmilk. Majority of common medications, including those for mental health conditions such as depression, now have been tested and are known if they are found in breastmilk so it could be as simple as a Google search or calling up your doctor's office to ask.
- Many of the prescription medication that can be transferred and found in breastmilk do have alternatives available so it isn't as much concern as one may initially think. There may be an adjustment your caregiver. Please work with your doctor.
- If anything, it would cause more harm to the supplier in the case they were unknowingly/knowingly malnourished. Remember to not be too demanding of their supply. They should eat well, take daily vitamins (continuation of prenatal vitamins would likely be preferred), and mindfully adjust these things as necessary. They should drink a meal supplement or replacement in addition to their regular meals if they find they need more calories. They will know if they need more if their milk isn't filling their breasts as well as it really should despite long times between nursing, if they've become excessively tired for no reason, or they are losing weight quickly while lactation has been the only change in their diet, health, and routine.
- Milk suppliers who are going through some medical procedures, such as radiation therapy for cancer, may experience a reduced production of milk. They may ask their doctor if there are any medication interactions with including herbal supplements, such as fenugreek seed, to increase milk production again.
- Do not mistakenly believe that you can live off of only consuming another human's breastmilk long-term. You do still need to consume calories and nutrients elsewhere, but, depending on how much breastmilk you consume, perhaps not as much. It would be wise to not try to rely on it as a sole source of nutrients, is what I'm trying to say. At some point your body will need more, and their body will start to become too taxed from keeping another adult alive.
Indigestion, meaning heartburn, shouldn't be a concern either. Breastmilk is pH balanced if the provider has taken care of her health, and it is generally one of the easiest, if not the easiest, things for our bodies to process and digest. It's even recommended by doctors to change to breastfeeding of infants who have been medically diagnosed with acid reflux and gastrointestinal issues. Again, if you're experiencing issues with the breastmilk then seriously evaluate your supplier's diet and cut out things you are particularly sensitive to when you eat them yourself.
- If your primary concern is seriously related to the belief you may be lactose intolerant than do not consume a large quantity of human breastmilk without slowly testing yourself with it. Drink between 4 and 8 ounces and then let 24 hours go by to see if you develop any symptoms or negative responses. Evaluate the provider's diet as well and make sure they are also lactose-free since cows' milk proteins can transfer through human breastmilk. If possible, share the exact same diet with your milk supplier for at least 2 weeks (a full 14 days) prior to consuming the milk.
- Iron consumption is not outright deadly and one cannot be too sensitive to iron since it's required for our bodies to function properly and plays a crucial role in red blood cell production. It becomes difficult for an adult to overdose on iron through their regular diet unless they are taking far, far too many iron supplements. Humans absolutely require iron in their diets or it means death. There is about 0.1mg of iron in 1 cup (8 ounces) of human breastmilk. The recommended daily intake for an adult man should be 8mg of iron per day and women should have 18mg (until after menopause, in which case it lowers and matches the recommended intake for men).
The main benefits of breastmilk for infants, babies, and adults:
- Basic additional macronutrients (sugars, fat, and protein) and micronutrients (things like vitamins and minerals).
- Protects against infection in compromised, lowered, or developing immune systems.
- Reduces inflammation as based on Walker A. Breast milk as the gold standard for protectivenutrients. J Pediatr. 2010;156:S3–7.
- Breast milk contains high concentrations of nutrients (choline, sialic acid, long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) that support brain development based on Neville MC, Picciano MF. Regulation of milk lipid synthesis and composition. Ann Rev Nutrition. 1997;17:159–84.
- Promotes development of the brain, the immune system, and the gut, including supplying bifidobacteria which is the same bacteria we need to defend our bodies as adults based on Kau AL, Ahern PP, Griffin NW, Goodman AL, Gordon JI. Human nutrition, the gut microbiome and the immune system. Nature. 2011;474:327–36 and Zivkovic AM, German JB, Lebrilla CB, Mills DA. Human milk glycobiome and its impact on the infant gastrointestinal microbiota. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011;108 Suppl 1:4653–8.
- This additional bifidobacteria has been found to treat those with autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, candida overgrowth, urinary tract infection, B12 deficiency, and some forms of anemia in cases where the person has a FUT2 gene mutation that makes the healthy gut bacteria difficult to thrive in naturally.
As for not being able to breastfeed in public, it probably would not be socially acceptable in most cultures; however, there are good affordable breastpumps that can be bought from even Amazon for around $100-$150 USD
. It would allow your caregiver to pump their milk out and store it in bottles for later use when you're out and would want some. Alternatively, you could hide away in your personal vehicle with window shades in the back seat for feedings or hang out in the private family restroom for a quick nursing session. This would be, of course, if you lean towards being more "dependent" on it.
Answering questions like: Do adult pacifiers alter your teeth? Am I really a little? How can I be a little? What is my little age? How do I tell someone about being a little? How do I make a little smile every day?