Saturday, December 04, 2010

Induced Lactation & Adoptive Breastfeeding

Adoptive breastfeeding/ Induced lactation has begun to receive more attention in the recent years.

But if you are like me, you probably don’t know anyone personally who has induced lactation.  If you do know someone I would love to hear about it.

It really isn’t anything remotely new.  Women have done this out of necessity for hundreds and hundreds  of years. Early American history refers to the wet nurse which was simply surrogate or adoptive breastfeeding.  Sometimes this was a woman who was already lactating, but certainly not always.
 Mass produced formula has only been around since the mid-twentieth century, and in the absence of formula this was frequently the only option.  There are various stories from other countries of grandmothers breastfeeding their grandchildren in a normal community setting.

 Lactation can be induced simply through stimulation from a suckling baby or a good quality/hospital grade breast pump.  Adding drugs and/or herbs greatly increase success. Some women lactate more easily than others and will produce more milk, many mothers will need to supplement to some extent until the baby is eating solid food.

When nursing my two homemade boys, I certainly had plenty of milk.  I joked that I could have nursed triplets without any problems.  I decided for various reasons, bonding issues being the most important, to breastfeed Alexis.

Not surprisingly, I have chosen to go the herbal route. J

I have been using my own 
More Milk Tincture– taken 4-6 times daily
 Fenugreek, Fennel & Goats Rue 

Mama’s Milk Tea- 1 quart a day
Red Raspberry Leaf
Fennel Seeds
Nettle Leaf
Fenugreek Seed
Dandelion Leaf
Blessed Thistle
Marshmallow Root

Along with some alfalfa tablets and foods with lactogenic properties.

Some of the most significant food sources are oats, barley, dried beans, green drinks &  dark leafy greens, carrots, healthy oils (butter, coconut oil and olive oil) and  Brewer’s Yeast. You can read the whole list here:

I did not have any time to prepare in advance, so we started in immediately nursing with the Lact-aid system.

The fine tube is placed right next to the nipple and inserted with the nipple into the baby’s mouth. 

As the baby suckles it stimulates milk production and is fed through the tube of the nursing unit.  As your milk supply builds the baby receives  both your milk and the supplement at the same time. 

This continues until you reach a point that you have enough milk for the baby to nurse happily without the Lact-Aid, then at the end of the feeding the baby may be offered the Lact-aid to finish feeding, if needed.

In my next post I will share our story from the beginning, Monday will mark 8 weeks of breastfeeding.  J

If you have questions, I will be happy to try to answer them.


  1. Wow. I'm so happy you have been able to do this, LeAnn. I tried breastfeeding Isaias- took some Fenugreek and drank a ton of water and did the Lact-aid, and pumped and prayed and cried and wished for it... but he would not suck enough to get my milk production up to more than a drip or two. (He was 9 months old, though, so maybe that was a factor-- he didn't want to have to "work" for it and wasn't used to it or attached to me, etc....)
    So I never even tried it with Adelia, because it was just too hard to try it and fail at something that was so important to me. There are time I wish I would have tried with her, though... since she was so tiny. But she was high risk of failure to thrive so it wasn't recommended at the time. I'd love to hear more!


  2. Oh Stacy, that had to be so difficult. A 9 month old is so different than a five day old baby. I applaud you for trying and can so understand why you didn't attempt it with Adelia. I won't lie, it is a good deal of work and if I had been through what you were with Isaias I would most likely have opted out too. In my next post, (hopefully tomorrow) I'll share more of the factors that have been goads for me to keep on going when it was tough. There is more to come :-)

  3. LeAnn, No wonder you were worn out those first weeks! Breastfeeding in general can be exhausting. I think it is so awesome how our bodies can work like this. I remember the first time I read of people doing this and I thought it was strange. But I think if I were in your shoes I would try it. I have always struggled to have enough for my babies. My last one I did great with and I personally believe that I was so worried about scheduling and all night sleeping with the first 2. With Jedrick, I learned to nurse in bed and that made it so much easier. I enjoyed it so much more this time also. I took an herbal mixture similar to yours and chlorophyll(I lost alot of blood after the birth).
    I'm so happy for you that it is going well! Best wishes! Can't wait to hear more of your story!

  4. Awesome girl! YOu rock! So I am studying this to a degree somewhat and found that women you used Anise essential oil had great results with producing milk...wondering if you heard this... love ya xo

  5. Thank you for sharing, I'm hoping to go this route with a baby we are expecting to adopt in the next few months :) I just ordered my herbs!


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