How to Induce Lactation

Updated March 8, 2019

If you’re in the process of adopting a baby or you’ve recently become the proud parents of an adopted child, you may be looking at breastfeeding them rather than bottle feeding.

Inducing lactation is a method which allows a parent to feed their child their own breast milk, despite not having gone through the stages of pregnancy.

What is The Purpose of Inducing Lactation?

For mums who have recently given birth, inducing lactation is usually a standard practice. However, if you haven’t carried your child throughout pregnancy, you may be wondering if such a concept is naturally possible for you.

Health professional’s continually highlight the health benefits of breastfeeding, as opposed to offering formula milk, particularly in a baby’s early days. So, it’s little wonder that all parents want to give their baby the best conceivable start.

However, for a parent who hasn’t naturally delivered a baby, inducing lactation offers more benefits besides that of health, including:

  • The chance to develop an early bond with your baby during feeding times.
  • A way of encouraging your baby to recognize the scent of you as their mother.
  • The opportunity to play the wonderful role of your baby’s natural mother.

How Easily Can You Induce Lactation?

If you haven’t been through pregnancy, inducing lactation, unfortunately, doesn’t happen instantly. However, this doesn’t by any means make it impossible; rather an area which needs to be planned a little while beforehand.

It’s possible to try three potential methods of inducing breastmilk, including pumping, stimulation and using hormonal birth control:

  • How to Induce Lactating by Using A Breast Pump

Perhaps one of the more simplistic of ways to induce breastmilk without pregnancy is by using a breast pump. By stimulating your breasts, mimicking the suckling of a baby, you can work on developing a consistent pumping schedule.

Health experts recommend pumping around the 2-hour mark but stress the importance of keeping this frequency, especially during those first few weeks when the milk supply is just becoming established.

Using the breast pump method can take a couple of weeks before you begin to see any visible results. Even when you do begin to see signs of a milk supply, it may only be a small amount to start with. However, this should be considered a victory and evidence that you are indeed capable of lactating without having gone through pregnancy to achieve it!

  • Inducing Lactating by Breastfeeding

If you aren’t keen on the idea of using a breast pump to produce breastmilk, you can try breastfeeding itself, therefore encouraging your milk supply. You can attempt this as soon as you have your baby in your arms.

Though you may have to resort to other methods of feeding during this time to ensure your baby gets their feed, putting your baby straight to your breast as soon as you can is crucial here.

Several doulas widely encourage the possibility of asking a close family member or friend if they would be willing to allow you to try stimulating breastfeeding with their baby.

They claim this not only encourages your milk supply to come in but also allows you to gain first-hand experience of positioning when feeding. It also promotes the additional stimulation of hormones through such cozy cuddling sessions.

  • Using Birth Control to Induce Lactation

Health professionals may recommend taking a course of hormonal birth control pills to induce lactation without pregnancy.

This method is backed up with scientific proof as the job of these pills is to put pregnancy hormones into your body. These same pregnancy hormones, which trick your body into thinking it’s pregnant, then encourage the production of milk in the breasts.

This method works best when the pill has been taken over the duration of a couple of cycles as it gives the body a better chance to get used to thinking it’s pregnant. Then, when you do stop taking this pill, your body naturally assumes that you’ve given birth, thereby, when coupled alongside the act of breastfeeding, beginning the process of lactation.

Other Methods That Can Be Used to Aid the Lactation Inducing Process

Though these three methods of inducing breast milk are considered some of the most effective, many women like to increase the success of these techniques by using some additional form of supplement alongside them.

Such methods can not only help with the milk production process, but they also offer a sense of encouragement, giving mothers a level of support where they feel they’re are doing everything they can to get their milk supply started.

Though many women have claimed that the three primary methods of inducing milk are usually enough without having to resort to additional processes, there’s no harm in investigating the potential options available. This should ideally be discussed with a qualified health professional or a doula who specializes in this area.

There are several medications and herbs known as galactagogues that are claimed to help support and increase milk supply. Most of these can be purchased quite readily and accessed at a local store, or online, usually over the counter without the need for a prescription. Examples here include:

Inducing Lactating Requires A Strong Mental Attitude

Finally, alongside the practical and physical element of inducing lactation, the mental and emotional side is also a powerful tool and concept when it comes to success in this area.

A professional doula will be the first to tell a mother to be that our mind is a powerful tool which, when used to its full capacity, can encourage the production of milk and improve its success.

As previously stated, the process of inducing lactation won’t happen overnight. Instead, it will happen over a couple of weeks of working on any of the techniques mentioned. Being prepared for a little wait and keeping morale high, you give yourself an improved chance at the process.

By focussing on the positivity of being able to feed your baby, despite not going through any of the stages of natural pregnancy, you can work on creating a stress-free inducing process – ultimately making it entirely possible to feed your baby all by yourself.

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