What Is Induced Lactation?

Induced Lactation to Increase Milk Supply for Adoptive Breastfeeding

Mother and newborn baby
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Adoptive mothers who wish to provide their children with the benefits of breast milk and enjoy the bonding opportunities that come from breastfeeding should know that it may be possible to nurse their new baby. In order to breastfeed an adopted child, the mother will need to induce lactation.

Dr. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC is one of the top experts on the topic of breastfeeding. His protocols for assisting adoptive mothers with induced lactation have helped numerous woman over the years to initiate and increase their breast milk supply.

There are essentially two methods that adoptive mothers can follow: using medication and pumping or using pumping alone.

Induced Lactation with Medication and Pumping

The biggest part of the Dr. Newmans' induced lactation protocols involves taking a series of medication and then stimulating the milk glands to make more breast milk through pumping.

Know that you don't have to take medication to induce lactation. Induced lactation is a process and if you choose to take medication, please consult your doctor and inform her of what you are taking and make sure she is following your progress. After the baby is with you, again, make sure that a doctor is following your baby's growth and development as you continue to induce lactation and breastfeed your new baby.

  • Hormones - The purpose of hormones is to make your body react in the same way that a pregnant woman's body reacts - preparing for birth, which also means preparing for breastfeeding.

  • Domperidone - A drug that has a side effect of increasing the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the cells in the mother's breast to produce milk. However, it's important to know the risks of any medication and Domperidone has its risks.

  • Herbal Alternatives - Both Fenugreek Seed and Blessed Thistle herb are taken together as the Fenugreek taken alone may cause stomach upset which the Blessed Thistle herb seems to help curb.

    Induced Lactation with Pumping Alone

    It will take longer to induce lactation by only pumping, but it is possible. It's just going to take a lot of patience, several weeks to months; and probably the use of a lactation aid, but if you want to avoid pills, this is the route.

    More Tips for Induced Lactation

    • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeine.
    • Some nursing mothers have found eating oatmeal helps with increasing milk supply.

    Again, you may not be able to produce all of your baby's milk supply, but any amount of breast milk is still breast milk that you provided to your new baby. That was a goal that you set as a mother, don't sweat the amount. Remember also that a lactation aid allows your baby to receive nutrition while you also breastfeed. If needed, supplement feedings through the lactation device and enjoy time with your child.