Nursing and Breastfeeding After surrogacy
It may be a surprise to learn that women can begin breastfeeding after surrogacy. There have been women who have successfully breast fed their adopted babies, strengthening the mother-child relationship as well as protecting the baby’s health, immunity and well-being.
Infertility is emotionally painful and draining, particularly if the couple has been trying for several years and had several failed cycles of treatment. Choosing to adopt or go down a surrogacy route can be a positive way forward for some couples, but even this is sometimes tinged with the pain of not being able to experience pregnancy, not being able to give birth and not enjoying the bond and closeness brought about by breastfeeding after surrogacy.
The Very First Case Of Nursing A Baby Born After Surrogacy
In March 2001, the medical journal Human Reproduction cited what they believed to be the very first case of a mother breastfeeding her baby after he was born via a surrogate host.
A 27 year old woman had been diagnosed with having no uterus, which was a congenital abnormality that had occurred before her birth. She chose surrogacy as her method for having children.
She was given a drug called metoclopramide to induce lactation which she started taking 28 weeks into the pregnancy and continued until one week before the birth. She also performed nipple stimulation by using an electric breast pump, in addition to the drug therapy.
After the baby was born, she was able to nurse him successfully. Her milk supply was not quite sufficient to maintain exclusive breastfeeding after surrogacy, so she supplemented her supply with formula, but managed to provide regular breast milk for her baby in the first three months of his life. As well as being healthier for the baby, authors of the article believed that breastfeeding had comforted the baby.
Some mothers of surrogate born children have even managed to nurse for longer than a year.
Drug Therapies For Inducing Lactation
There are different medications available which may help to induce lactation. These are:
- Metoclopramide – primarily an anti-sickness drug which has the side-effect of activating the pro-lactin hormone. It has some nasty side-effects and can cause depression so it isn’t an ideal choice.
- Domperodone – a drug for stomach problems which is not available in the USA.
- Progesterone Contraceptive Pill – this can be used in conjunction with domperodone as it speeds up the process of lactation.
Some mothers do this as well as taking medication, some do it instead of medication as a natural alternative.
You can buy an electric breast pump during the surrogate’s pregnancy and stimulate your nipples with it, several times daily. This will release the hormone, oxytocin, which is the love hormone. It is released during sex to trigger orgasm, it is released during pregnancy to start labor and regulate contractions and it is responsible for the ‘let down’ reflex in which milk flows down from the mammary glands. Essentially, it is the hormone of life.
By the time your baby is born, you should be able to breastfeed them, at least partially. Some moms choose to wait until after the birth and then stimulate their nipples by putting the baby to their breast, but this might not produce as good a supply and you may have to use formula or donated breast milk initially until you start to lactate.
Herbs And Food
If you don’t want to take medications or you are contraindicated, you may want to try herbal remedies or foods that have been shown to induce lactation. The authors of the study in Human Reproduction suggest coconut milk as a good breast milk inducer. They also stated that herbal teas have been traditionally used to encourage lactation which can enable breastfeeding after surrogacy.
An introduction to breastfeeding in adoption, surrogacy, and other special circumstances: inducing lactation, latching an older baby, and supplementation are discussed.
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