Induced Lactation: You Can Breastfeed Your Child Even Though You Didn’t Give Birth
People are often surprised to learn that Intended Mothers can produce milk for their child after their child is born through surrogacy and egg donation. Induced lactation is also suitable for Adoptive Mothers who have adopted a baby.
The ability to breastfeed a baby that you did not give birth to is indeed possible. This process is called ‘Induced Lactation’. Women who become parents through surrogacy and egg donation or adopt a baby may induce lactation in order to have a breastfeeding relationship with their infant.
Leanne shares more …
One does not have to go through an actual pregnancy in order to produce breastmilk. This is because the 2 hormones that drive lactation, (Prolactin and Oxytocin) are produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and not the ovaries. Both of these hormones are produced in response to nipple stimulation.
So how does one go about inducing Lactation? First, I recommend getting in touch with your primary healthcare provider to talk about your desire to produce breastmilk for your baby. There may be some prescription medications needed, such as Domperidone, to help build your milk supply. I would also encourage getting in touch with a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who can offer guidance and support during this process. It is recommended to use a hospital grade breast pump to stimulate your breasts to help establish your milk supply. This process can sometimes take a few weeks.
It’s important to remember that you can and you will make milk. The million dollar question is will you be able to make enough to meet baby’s nutritional needs? Most Mother’s who induce lactation find that they need to do a combination of formula feeding and breastfeeding. There is a device called a supplemental nursing system (SNS) that can be used to assist in the milk production/breastfeeding process. The mother wears a bottle of milk around her neck and a long thin tube runs from the bottle to the breast where it is taped close to the nipple. As the baby latches on to the breast, he will drink milk from the tube as well as from the breast itself. Having an actual baby ‘breastfeed’ is the best way to build the milk supply and enjoy the wonderful bonding relationship that breastfeeding creates.
It’s also important to keep an open mind and be happy with any amount of breastmilk your body can produce. The nutritional benefits of breastmilk alone are worth going through the process of induing lactation.
Leanne Rzepa RN BN IBCLC
Leanne Rzepa is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She is also an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has been working with breastfeeding families for the past 16 years. She presently works in the hospital, clinic, and home setting in Calgary, Alberta.