Some background first. From an article about the condition at the Human Lactation Center at UC Davis: ...'Sympathetic lactation' has been reported in even rarer cases. 'Sympathetic lactation' refers to the late-stage development of the dormant male mammary glands as a response to a breastfeeding mother."
Obviously I've been around a lactating mother for the better part of six years (Jessica!). Last week on Friday I had a few tests performed at the University of Minnesota Riverside clinic. They quickly concluded that yes, I was indeed 'sympathetically lactating.' But what I was producing wasn't as rich in nutrients as normal breast milk, nonetheless it was milk. At one point there were three doctors in the room checking me out in a sort of "this is so cool and weird" sorta way. Apparently it's extremely rare.
This whole situation is understandably making Jessica a little uncomfortable. Ever since Arthur was born I've watched her breastfeed. It always seems magical to me, a chance for mother and baby to bond and feel a certain absolute closeness. The UofM doctors asked if I would be willing actually try breastfeeding. They're hoping to publish my story in a scientific journal (I'm gonna go worldwide!).
This is likely TMI but I had to have the area around my nipple shaved:
The doctors suggested first trying breastfeeding in the middle of the night when the girls were most sleepy and least likely to notice the difference. It actually hurt and didn't work at first, but eventually she latched and it worked beautifully.
It's been a week since this all started I've continued to nurse periodically, sometimes even during the day. Netta and Bailey seem less confused and, surprisingly, it's been a fascinating and wonderful thing for me. What a gift it is to be able to breastfeed and feel that closeness, that warmth and milkiness. I hope to continue breastfeeding even after Netta and Bailey are weaned, hopefully as a wet nurse to cute little orphans babies.