Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

How Adoptive Parents Can Induce Lactation

While it may surprise some people, lactation can be induced to breastfeed adopted babies and infants born through surrogacy. With a fair amount of effort and preparation, LGBT adoptive parents can produce milk by combining different methods without having to experience the actual pregnancy.

Effective ways usually include a combination of hormonal therapy and breast pumping plans. Inducing lactation does not always work for all individuals and is not necessarily an easy process. However, there are techniques to increase your chances of success. These techniques are explored further in this article to help you better understand breastfeeding without pregnancy, especially when considering adoption or surrogacy.

Understanding Lactation Without Pregnancy

Breastfeeding without being pregnant first requires that you replicate the process of “normal” lactation. This naturally begins during the last stages of pregnancy, when there is an interaction between the hormones of estrogen, human placental lactogen, prolactin, and progesterone. The mother’s progesterone and estrogen levels dramatically decrease while prolactin increases to start milk production in the breasts. Induced lactation can stimulate these bodily triggers.

Adoptive parents and LGBT couples should consider their specific circumstances when deciding which are the best strategies to use for breastfeeding. Time is one of the most important factors to keep in mind. How much time you have to prepare for breastfeeding will determine which options are the most practical.

Timeline and Methods for Inducing Lactation

Hormone therapy is an option if you have months to prepare. Estrogen and progesterone supplementation can be used to mimic pregnancy, and you may be prescribed these for several months. This protocol will also include domperidone to stimulate prolactin production. Hormone therapy may not be the best option if you are short on preparation time since you have to take the hormones for a specified number of months. As an alternative, your healthcare professional may recommend other types of medication.

Regardless of the amount of time you have, you will begin the critical act of breast pumping to encourage prolactin production and release. The concept of supply and demand can best be used to describe how milk production works, so pumping more will result in making more milk. Using a breast pump will be an everyday activity until the child arrives. After you start breastfeeding the baby, continued breast pumping is recommended to establish your milk supply.

After Successful Induced Lactation

Nursing and putting the child to your breast will encourage and stimulate your milk secretion while establishing a supply. However, successfully inducing lactation will not eliminate the need for supplemental feedings via formula and/or donor milk, especially in the first few weeks. It is vital to encourage constant breast and nipple stimulation during this process. Therefore, you may consider using a supplemental aid, a device you will attach to your breast to deliver the formula and/or donor milk.

As you can see, it is possible to induce lactation to breastfeed your baby without being pregnant first. As adoptive parents who are interested in breastfeeding, it is essential to consider your timeline and circumstances. Regardless of whether you choose to incorporate hormonal therapy along with your breast pumping plan, proper preparation will increase your chances of successfully inducing lactation.

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