we've been asked quite a lot from people is
"is it possible to naturally induce
lactation?" The basic answer is almost
always yes, although it is a major undertaking.
The notes below are intended to provide some
general guidance. We'd be very interested to
hear from any couples who have had experience of
this with other notes and information.
does induced lactation work?
The two hormones that are responsible
for milk production are prolactin and oxytocin,
Both prolactin, the milk-making hormone, and
oxytocin, the milk-releasing hormone, are
produced in response to nipple stimulation.
While there are now several regimens which use
hormone therapy to assist in bringing in milk,
many women have induced lactation with only
mechanical stimulation. This consists of breast
massage, nipple manipulation, and sucking -
either by a baby, a partner or a hospital grade
electric breast pump.
that we've done suggests that mechanical
simulation methods, particularly if combined
with herbs, are the most effective. These can
also work well if you want to boost milk supply.
You'll need to adopt a nursing schedule and be
willing to keep to it. As a guide an absolute
minimum schedule would be half an hour three
times a day. If you wish to induce sooner then
longer sessions may help but the strength of
suckling probably won't make any difference and
may actually hurt. These sessions can be very
enjoyable and can create quite a bond between
men and woman on their own.
A pumping schedule
tends to work a little differently since
you want to build up the process more gradually
but may need to use longer sessions. As a guide
for a 6 week process
Using a hospital grade pump with a double
pumping kit. Pump 6 times daily for 10 minutes.
Pump 6 times a day for 20 minutes per pumping.
Pump 6-8 times daily for 20 minutes.
10 times daily at least one pumping at night.
Certain herbs can be used to help increase milk
production. Easily the most well known and
popular is Fenugreek which woman have been using
(450-600mg capsules) (Trigonella-foenum-graceum)
Capsules 3 caps 3x daily or 3 ml
tincture 3-4x daily.
Contains estrogenic precursors and has lots of
vitamins and minerals in absorbable form.
Start with 1 capsule 4 times a day and work up
to 8 capsules a day. If stools get too loose
stop and only use 1 dose less. You should end up
taking 2 tablets 4 times daily.
oil. 2, 1000 mg caps
daily. Or 1 pt. Of borage leaf tea daily. This
is high in Gamma Lenolenic Acid and Gamma
Or use 2 1000mg caps of Evening Primrose oil.
Does essentially the same thing. Both of these
will increase the richness of mothers milk.
You'll need to plan to buy some new cloths since
as her breasts grow many clothes that used to
fit her before will now be to tight and may put
pressure on the breasts. This in turn can make
it harder to induce since the brain begins to
get mixed signals. It may also be a good idea to
get a nursing bra and other maternity wear. For
a few places to start looking have a look here.
It's a good
idea to check daily that the bra is still
fitting correctly. Fairly obviously if the
breasts are tight in the cup its time to go up
another size - its fine if they fill the cups
completely. Generally it's a good idea to get a
new bra each time the cup size increases by one
You need to make sure that you are getting
plenty of calcium since if you don't there is a
possibility that your body may start to use
calcium from your bones which can lead to
osteoporosis. You will probably also need to
drink more water as milk production uses quite
high levels of water and may otherwise cause
dehydration. Your appetite will probably
increase since you alveoli will be using around
500 calories per day. By the same token the milk
you produce is very high in calories - your
partner will be getting around 500 additional
calories a day and may need to change his diet
At first you will see only a few drops
each nursing session. This will increase with
each nursing session until you decide you have
enough, or until your full milk supply comes in.
Once the milk comes in you can have less
frequent nursing sessions, but keep in mind that
the milk will continue to fill up in the breasts
which can create pressure and be uncomfortable.
A mechanical pump may be useful in an emergency
situation to relieve the pressure.
It may be easiest to get to the point
of full supply then decrease the amount of
nursing activity until you reach a level that
you and your partner are both happy with - milk
production will be controlled by the amount used
and other factors that are mentioned elsewhere
in the article such as pressure on the breasts
so decreasing a bra size may also help reduce
production though may be uncomfortable.
Medical Help To Induce
that is quite common is to simulate the hormonal
changes that happen during pregnancy. It is
often used to induce lactation in expectation of
adopting a baby. This treatment begins by using
supplemental estrogen to simulate the
high-estrogen state of pregnancy. Then the
estrogen is abruptly withdrawn which mimics the
rapid hormonal changes after delivery.
Thereafter a prolactin-enhancing drug such as
metacolpromide (Reglan) is then instituted at
which point you should also start using a breast
pump to help induce.
Only ever get
products from a doctor.
advice and information we strongly recommend http://www.laleche.org.uk/
As we've said
at the top of the article this is not an easy
undertaking, but the bond of love that can form
between a man and a woman is quite an
extraordinary thing and we think it is well
worth the effort.
of Milk and Honey © 2007
All rights reserved.