A growing number of adoptive mothers are exploring the option of breastfeeding their adopted child. The body of an adoptive mother does not have the benefit of nine months of pregnancy hormones to prepare the breasts for breastfeeding. There are several different methods adoptive mothers can use to help them induce lactation and begin breast milk production. All of these methods will include at least one form of nipple stimulation. Working closely with a lactation consultant statistically increases the success rate of adoptive mother breastfeeding.
The most natural way to induce lactation as an adoptive mother is through following a healthy breastfeeding diet. A galactagogue is breastfeeding terminology for anything a mother ingests to increases breast milk production. Some galactagogues are foods and some galactagogues are herbal supplements or tea. For starters it is recommended to attempt to induce lactation through diet.
If following a healthy breastfeeding diet fails to induce lactation in an adoptive mother the second line of defense is to try herbal remedies. There are plenty of herbal medications used to increase breast milk production by mothers in the United States and other countries.
A few prescription medications, originally prescribed for other reasons have been found to stimulate breast milk production. Other nutritional supplements as suggested by your pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Metoclopramide and other such medications must be prescribed by your doctor and do have side effects. Talk with your lactation consultant about medication choices to make sure there will be no adverse affects.
Any medication must be accompanied by regular nipple stimulation every two or three hours. You can use breast self massage or a breast pump as either will offer the same effect. Once your new child arrives you should encourage them to feed at your breast as this will begin building the feeding behavior and habit in your baby.
There is no way to predict how your body and breast milk supply will respond when inducing lactation for your adopted child. Realistically it is unlikely that you will supply enough breast milk to meet the full nutritional needs of your adopted child. You may want to consider donor breast milk.
Most off all don’t give up on breastfeeding your adopted baby. Inducing lactation will be hard work. Most adoptive mothers that breastfeed look back fondly on all of the effort and time they spend bonding with their new baby.