Did you know that a woman doesn’t need to give birth to a baby to be able to breastfeed? Many moms who adopt or are in a same-sex relationship where they are a non-gestational parent can successfully induce lactation, which provides them with just another beautiful way to bond with their baby and enjoy the many benefits of breastfeeding for baby and for mom. The process of relactation or induced lactation requires extra dedication, stimulation, and education – but it can be done. Inducing lactation may also be appealing to moms in a same-sex partnership, where both moms can be a part of the breastfeeding journey if they so choose.
If you’re considering inducing lactation as a non-gestational parent, you may want to consider these benefits and challenges:
- More time with baby is a plus for any parent, and having the ability to nurse and participate directly in feedings means more one-on-one (and skin-to-skin) time for the non-gestational mom.
- Shared responsibilities are important for any couple to have. It can be a big benefit for both moms to be so closely involved with baby’s care – especially in those early days and weeks when sleep is at a premium and there is so much to do and keep track of. Inducing lactation can be a very time-consuming process, so be prepared for the commitment and be gentle on yourself if things don’t work out as planned.
- More milk! When both moms are producing milk, one or both may have the ability to pump and store a surplus of milk in the fridge or freezer. This may also make it possible to donate breast milk to moms and babies in need.
- Breastfeeding is more than just breast milk, so even if the mom inducing lactation has trouble establishing her supply, she can still nurse baby for comfort.
Keep in mind that this is just one option – there are so many ways for non-gestational parents to bond with their baby. If you think co-nursing might be right for your family, you should consult with your healthcare provider or a lactation professional. They can help you create a plan and ensure that both moms are in good health and prepared to take on this unique experience.
Looking for more? Take a look at this story about Glenis and Tiffany’s family, and their experience with induced lactation and co-breastfeeding!