How To Induce Lactation: Guide to Breastfeeding Your Surrogate Born Baby

October 6, 2022

Many people imagine the various ways they plan on bonding with their baby via surrogacy once they arrive. For some intended mothers, one of these ways can be through breastfeeding. Yes, that's right, intended mothers can choose to breastfeed their children without carrying them through gestation. The method in which this is possible is induced lactation or relactation.

Let's note that this option works for many people, but not all, and if you are considering inducing lactation, you should consult with your healthcare provider. This is a complex process and in some cases involves hormone-mimicking drugs for several months in order to start producing. In this article, we cover induced lactation, relactation, what they are, why some people choose to do it, and how to get started on this journey as an intended mother.

Induced Lactation & Relactation Explained

You may be wondering more about what it means to induce lactation or relactation. These are methods by which a mother can stimulate breast milk production without being pregnant. Let's start by saying not every mother can breastfeed, for those who can and choose to, ultimately the choice is theirs. This article will help equip intended mothers with information to make a choice, whether or not inducing lactation is right for them.

What is Induced Lactation?

Inducing lactation means you're creating a milk supply without being pregnant. By inducing lactation, an intended mother may be able to freeze and store breastmilk prior to the baby's arrival as well as nurse the baby after birth if she so chooses. This practice is increasing in popularity and so is research around the subject.

What is Relactation?

Relactation is the process by which a parent reestablishes lactation after having stopped for some time. For example, a mother may have been breastfeeding another child or had induced lactation and needed to stop. Relactation is the process of lactating after one has been lactating, whether it be for a few weeks or months.

What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?

Nutritional Benefits

It's no secret that breast milk offers an array of nutritional benefits for babies, in fact, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. As the baby grows, the milk will change to meet the child's nutritional needs.

Breast Milk Shares Antibodies

Antibodies from breast milk can be exchanged from mother to baby. These antibodies help protect the baby from illness and develop a strong immune system.

The Flexibility of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be done almost anytime and anywhere. A lot of women opt to breastfeed due to its convenience. In addition to the flexibility, the baby can also find a source of comfort in the practice, making this option easier for some women on the go.

Why Do Intended Mothers Choose to Induce Lactation?

Creating a Bond With Your Baby

Breastfeeding is not just for biological families and inducing lactation is not the only way to nurture bonding with your baby, though it may be the perfect option for some. In some cases, an intended mother wishes she could have carried her child during gestation. The choice to leverage the support of a gestational carrier is not an easy one, and sometimes it's the only choice for an intended mother to build the family of her dreams. By choosing to induce lactation, an intended mother can build a physical maternal bond with her child during infancy. 

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

An intended mother may be interested in reaping the benefits associated with breastfeeding that we listed earlier. Whether she is interested in nutritional value, exchanging antibodies, or flexibility, breastfeeding offers several benefits that may be ideal for intended moms.

The Experience

Every journey is different, so this may only apply to some. When an intended mother cannot carry her child and wished to do so, she may be longing for a connection to the experience of pregnancy in her body. Inducing lactation may be just the option for that mother to be closer to the experience of pregnancy.

How to Breastfeed Without Giving Birth

Revisiting a note we mentioned earlier, inducing lactation can be complicated and works for many people, but not all. If you are considering inducing lactation, you should consult with your healthcare provider.

Work With a Lactation Professional

It may be worth it to find a lactation professional to assist you on your lactation journey. This could be your doctor or midwife, and there even is such a thing as a lactation consultant - these professionals specialize in breastfeeding. You can start working with a lactation consultant during pregnancy or after birth, whenever you are ready. For some women, their doctor may discuss taking hormones to support inducing lactation. This support may offer you recommendations that cater to your situation, so the sooner you are armed with information, the more time you will have to determine if this path is right for you.

Stimulation and Expression

If anticipating a baby's arrival and time permits, about two months before the baby is due it is ideal to introduce stimulus and expression regularly to your breasts. By introducing a routine, you can help begin milk production. This should be performed multiple times a day, creating a 'demand and supply' response.

Specialty-Feeding Devices

In the most ideal situations, intended parents have time to work with a set plan, but family-building has proven over time to operate to the beat of its own drum in many cases. If the timing doesn't quite work out with inducing lactation upon the baby's arrival, specialty-feeding devices may be a great alternative. Specialty products like the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) protect the option to breastfeed because it lets you supplement your baby directly at the breast. The SNS allows expressed breast milk, donor milk, or formula to be fed through a thin silicone feeding tube that is taped to the nipple, providing the baby with the sensation of feeding from the breast and sucking stimulation to help build your supply.

Tips and Tricks for Inducing Lactation

It is important to remember when inducing lactation that breast milk supply tends to increase with regular nursing or pumping. So don’t be discouraged if your breast milk supply is low at first.

With the proper preparation, expectations, and professional support for successful induced lactation, an intended mom can provide her child with the amazing benefits of breast milk and build a beautiful bond along the way. 

Making Miracles Happen Since 1991

Hatch Fertility is the leading egg donation & surrogacy agency in the United States. We are the longest established agency, founded more than 30 years ago, and we have completed over 8,000 journeys. We are also one of the most successful agencies–99.5% of intended parents who start a journey with us end with a baby.

If you are interested in more information regarding the surrogacy experience and how Hatch can help you in your journey to parenthood, please reach out to us here.

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