- 3 years ago
There is a lot of false information going on here so let's try to clear that up since I produce milk and it's been important to me to breastfeed my partners. ANR (Adult Nursing Relationship) has been knowingly around for awhile so this is not unheard of in the medical community.
So, it's literally less than 1% (estimated a <0.5%) that an infant, generally the more sensitive and vulnerable of our species, is allergic to human breastmilk and even less likely for an adult, generally with a fully developed immune system and other dietary intake, to be allergic to human breastmilk. This is almost common sense.
Ask yourself this: How else did we keep newborns alive before formula was created? Did infants just pull in a mouthful of their mother's milk and immediately go through a severe allergic reaction and die? If it was ongoing allergy then how was that allergy relieved enough that they continued to survive? Why would our species as a whole develop such a serious sensitivity to our own provided nourishment of life? There would be no benefit in developing such a sensitivity since it would be detrimental to our entire species, right?
If the idea is actually "lactose intolerance" then it's more likely you experience gastrointestinal issues after consuming dairy because of a cows' milk protein allergy. A lot of people confuse these two, but you should know that the cows' milk protein allergy is much more common, and much more likely, than actual lactose intolerance. Both share the same symptoms and both apply to consumption of products made from dairy cows so it can be difficult to know if you're actually lactose intolerant versus allergic to the proteins without a hydrogen breath test (most accurate) or bloodwork. (Both of those tests take a minimum of 2 hours to administer so you would be well-aware if you've been actually tested.)
I'm not sure what aforementioned sensitivities to iron would indicate. Humans absolutely require iron in their diets or it means death. It's in relation for red cell production. There is about 0.1mg of iron in 1 cup of breastmilk, and I would say that's hardly enough to be concerned about. 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 cautionary points in developing an ANR would more likely be:
1. Be cautious if your caregiver has a disease or infection that is transmitted through breastmilk. This would be relatively uncommon as well, but HIV can be found in breastmilk and I'm not quite sure about hepatitis or other pretty serious illnesses. 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.
2. If your caregiver consumes large amounts of something you are severely allergic to then it's possible that the proteins from that food will transfer through to breastmilk. The allergic reaction would not be as serious as it would be if you were consuming the food directly though. So, you could expect reduced symptoms/severity. You should have your caregiver match your dietary needs and you would be safe from that concern.
3. If your caregiver is taking medication then you would want to know if it is transferred through breastmilk. Majority of common medications 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 ones that are transferred and found in breastmilk do have alternatives available though so it isn't as much concern as one may initially think. There may be an adjustment your caregiver will need to make but it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, in my personal opinion.
4. If anything, it would cause more harm to the caregiver in the case they were unknowingly/knowingly malnourished. They should eat well, take daily vitamins (continuation of prenatals would likely be preferred), and mindfully adjust these things as necessary. They should drink a meal supplement/replacement in addition to their regular meals if they find they need more calories. They can easily know if they need more if their milk isn't coming as well as it really should, if they've become excessively tired, or they're dropping weight quickly while lactation has been the only change in their diet, health, and routine.
5. 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 shouldn't be a concern at all, actually. Breastmilk is certainly pH balanced if the caregiver has taken care of her health, and it's generally one of the easiest, if not the easiest, things for our bodies to process. 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 caregiver's diet and cut out things you are particularly sensitive to when you eat them yourself.
As for not being able to breastfeed in public, it probably would not be socially acceptable in most cultures; however, there are affordable breastpumps that can be bought from even Amazon for around $100. 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.