Induced Lactation and Adoptive Breastfeeding

July 31, 2012

Adoptive BreastfeedingThe list of breastfeeding benefits is always growing, so it’s no wonder moms are passionate about providing breast milk to their babies. For some moms, it may even be possible induce lactation if you’ve adopted a baby or stopped breastfeeding for a period of time. If you’d like to breastfeed your adopted baby or just want to give breastfeeding another shot, pair these tips with some patience and dedication and soon you could be on your way to breastfeeding successfully.

Talk to professionals. Lactation Consultants provide great support for moms who wish to breastfeed. One-on-one sessions can be set up to walk you through the basics of breastfeeding and show you tips for stimulating milk production. They also offer great support and encouragement through the challenges of relactating. Also, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your wishes to induce lactation. They’ll be able to provide tips and may even prescribe hormonal therapy to mimic the changes that occur during pregnancy. Typically, a mom will stop hormonal therapy shortly before she’d like to begin breastfeeding. At that point, your healthcare provider or lactation consultant will work with you to stimulate milk production through breast and nipple stimulation.

Pump or breastfeed often. Inducing lactation requires frequent breast and nipple stimulation through breastfeeding, pumping or hand expression. If your baby will latch and you have some milk flow, breastfeeding can be very effective in increasing supply. For many moms, the emotional connection of breastfeeding can help stimulate letdown and an increase in supply. If you’re just starting to induce lactation, renting a hospital-grade breast pump will most likely yield the best results. Otherwise, using a personal-use breast pump or hand expression can also help. In either case, try to breastfeed or pump at least every 2 to 3 hours.

Consider a specialty-feeding device. Even if your baby won’t latch, you can still experience some of the benefits of breastfeeding by using a specialty-feeding device. Medela offers a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) that allows a baby to feed at breast through a silicone tube, taped along your nipple. This allows a baby to stimulate the nipple while feeding, ultimately supporting your goal of breastfeeding.

Practice tips for increasing supply. Most tips to increase breast milk supply can help with induced lactation. Some moms take herbal supplements like fenugreek to increase supply, while others find that breastfeeding or pumping often, staying healthy and practicing relaxation techniques help immensely. Don’t forget to make time for cuddling with your little one. Sometimes spending a whole day relaxing with your baby at breast can make a big difference in your supply.

Within as little as a week, some moms are thrilled to notice they’ve begun producing milk. By continuing the process, they are able to build their supply and move toward successful breastfeeding.

Did you induce lactation? How long did it take to successfully provide breast milk for your baby? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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