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Planning to adopt a child. How to induce lactation?

Mar 2013
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I am planning on adopting a baby and I would like to be able to nurse but I really am not happy about taking drugs, what can I take to induce lactation?
Posted Fri, 8 Mar 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 5 hours later
Thanks for your health query.
With considerable dedication and preparation, breast-feeding without pregnancy (induced lactation) might be possible. However, without use of drugs/hormones, it is next to impossible. Morevoer, increased difficulty is likely to be experienced at your age ( 45 ) , as you already might be experiencing peri menopausal changes, and consequent hormonal imbalances.

Normally, the natural production of breast milk (lactation) is triggered by a complex interaction between three hormones — estrogen, progesterone and prolactin — during the final months of pregnancy. At delivery, levels of estrogen and progesterone fall dramatically, but the level of prolactin remains high. The result is lactation.

Induced lactation depends on the successful replication of this biological process, and as you can see, it requires intensive administration and interplay of hormonal medications.

If you have a number of months to prepare, your health care provider might prescribe hormone therapy — such as supplemental estrogen or progesterone — to mimic the effects of pregnancy. Hormone therapy can last six months or more.

About two months before you expect to start breast-feeding, you'll likely stop hormone therapy and begin pumping your breasts with a hospital-grade electric breast pump. Also, galactogogues ( drugs that stimulate prolactin release or mimic its action ), would be given. This stimulation encourages the production and release of prolactin. These include - metoclopramide, domperidone, oxytocin etc.

If you have only a short time to prepare, hormone therapy might not be an option. In this case, your health care provider might recommend other medications to help induce lactation. Pumping remains important for whatever time you have available. Also, drug therapy is an inevitable part of this

To encourage continued nipple stimulation, you might choose to use a supplemental feeding aide that delivers donated breast milk or formula through a device that attaches to your breast. Supplemental feedings can also be given with a bottle. To protect your milk supply, be sure to pump each time your baby receives a bottle feeding.

To learn more about induced lactation and how to increase your chances of establishing breast-feeding, contact a lactation consultant at a local hospital or clinic.

Herbal teas, herbal supplements, coconut milk etc - all have been tried in various cultures as methods to induce lactation, however none are scientifically proven or 100 % reliable in accomplishing this.

Take care, and feel free to ask for further clarifications.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Planning to adopt a child. How to induce lactation? 5 days later
I would like to thank you for your thoughtful review and answer to my question. I do have some time before the adoption but apparently using formula is my only option. Thank you again, God Bless
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 36 minutes later
I appreciate your feedback, and wish you all the best always, XXXXXXX
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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