Induced Lactation – Adoptive Breastfeeding
I have the wonderful privilege of breastfeeding (induced lactation) my adopted daughter Haley. We began this journey when she was 18 hours old. It is a day I will always remember looking into the eyes of this precious angel as her birth mom sat there and watched us. She later told a social worker that it helped her so much to see Haley and I bond at that moment.
When we began that day I was producing 3 or 4 ounces a day. By the time she was 6 months old I had achieved a full supply of breast milk for her. Her doctor told me that even 2 ounces a day would greatly benefit her over formula alone. She would receive my antibodies. Today she is a healthy happy walking nursing 1 year old.
I have so many who wonder about the details of adoptive breastfeeding/induced lactation I thought I would give you all a mini course in it. It has been going on for many centuries. In biblical days it was called wet nursing. In 3rd world countries women will induce lactate to care for orphans. Here we do it for adopted children. WHY? Why not! It is better for the babies. They receive antibodies, better nutrients and enzymes, bonding and much more. It is a wonderful way to bond with a newly adopted child. Many have successfully nursed an older adopted child too. I know of several who have gotten 6-9 month old’s to nurse after being adopted.
Pregnancy is not necessary for breastfeeding. Prolactin (a hormone) is. Pregnancy does change the breast tissue so helps but is not necessary. Many adoptive moms who have never been pregnant have produced 30-100% of the breast milk their child needs. Pumping, sucking, herbs and drugs all help raise the prolactin level.
I started by pumping every 3-4 hours with a Hospital grade breast pump (Medela Lactina double pump). The light weight pumps available at most stores will not do the job of Induced Lactation. The Lactina is expensive to buy so I rented it for 3 months.
I also started taking herbs: 9 Fenugreek (an Indian spice that makes your sweat smell like maple syrup), 6 Blessed Thistle (NOT Milk Thistle), 6 Marshmallow Root (make the milk thicker and higher in calorie). I also drank Mothers Milk Tea and lots of water. Eating oatmeal. pineapple, and Henry Weinhart’s Rootbeer will also help.
I got milk drops 10 days after starting the pumping/herbs routine. By 4 weeks I was getting enough to freeze an ounce a day. By the time she was born I was freezing 2-3 ounces a day.
When she was born I nursed first, 10 minutes each side, switching sides 4 times (YES 45 minutes of nursing) then I would give her 1-2 OZ of formula or donated breast milk in a Lact-aid supplementer. The Lactaid allows the formula to go thru a tiny tube at my breast so she got my milk and formula at the same time. This also stimulated me to produce more milk. I chose to nurse first without the supplementer because I wanted her to nurse both with and without the supplementer. She was always willing to nurse 45 minutes without the supplementer so I would often times offer the extra 1-2 OZ in a bottle.
There are two drugs available that many choose to help with milk supply. DOMPERIDONE is one. It is not available in the USA. It is available in Mexico $102 a month, Canada $50 a month and New Zealand $25 a month. It is used for stomach/digestion problems with a side effect of my milk production. You need to take it the whole time you nurse or your supply will probably drop.
RAGLAN is the other drug. It is available very inexpensively from your local doctor. It is also used for stomach issues. You take it for only 4 weeks. I chose not to take either drug since I had nursed 3 bio children before (even if 12 years earlier).
I hope this answers your questions and you can tell a friend about the wonders of adoptive breastfeeding! Spread the word! I would also be happy to talk with others interested in adoption and adoptive breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding an adopted child is a great way to give them better nutrition and antibodies but it is an even better way to bond with them. I know I have a special connection with my nursing angel Haley. She loves her mama’s milk.
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Kay Green is a Christian homeschool mom to Melissa 22, Jordan 19, Allison 17, Haley 4. Her and her husband of 25 years live in rural Oregon with their children. Kay owns My Precious Kid, http://www.mypreciouskid.com Kay Green All rights reserved.