How to Induce Lactation and Breastfeed Your Adopted Baby
Is it Possible to Induce lactation?
Here is the story of a mother who proves it is possible to induce lactation...
Rebecca Witcher's Personal Journey
& Successful Re-lactation
To understand my story, you must know I have two children, a girl “A" of 4 and a boy “C" of 1. When my daughter was born, I was very uneducated about breastfeeding, and even though my mom had breastfed all of her children, she was no help at all!
I tried so hard for about a week, but my daughter would not latch on! We decided that I still wanted her to have breast milk, even if it wasn’t straight from the tap. I pumped for her for about three months but was battling postpartum depression, so I decided to give her formula!
If I had heard of all the recalls and deaths that were going on by giving formula, I would have done everything to relactate with her also! She has developed great and had no problems, but still, to this day, I wish I had kept trying!
With my son, I was unsure if I would breastfeed since I was still very uneducated and discouraged by the experience with my daughter, but I was going to give it my best shot!
In the hospital, everything went great, he latched on like a pro, and I couldn’t be any happier! We left the hospital on day three due to a c-section and went home, where I tried to feed him again. Maybe it was the change from the hospital to the house, but he wouldn’t latch on at all!
I tried multiple times during the day but, he had already lost %12 of his body weight in the hospital, and I was scared! I felt like I had no experience and no faith in myself, and neither did anyone else. That night I gave in. I gave him a bottle but instantly felt guilty, so in the morning, I went straight to my local WIC lactation consultant, and she was no help either; we couldn’t get him to latch! She suggested spoon-feeding. Sorry, that was a pain in the arse! I kept spilling it, and he only would get a little drip, and he and I were so frustrated, so I just gave up, I remembered pumping with my daughter, and she did fine on formula, so why wouldn’t he? Right? Totally wrong!!!
My son quickly showed signs that he was allergic! We switched to the gentle ease, and he seemed a little better, so we gave it a week, but that’s when he started throwing up the formula. The doctor thought it might be a stomach bug or his stomach was adjusting to the formula. She said you have to wait two weeks to see the change.
One week later, we were back, so she told us to switch to the AR...he was so constipated, screaming as he would strain to poop. It made me feel so bad. Was it really worth it?
We decided to go back to the gentle ease. Two weeks later, we were back in the office, and he was still throwing up after each feed, and now his poo had blood in it. He even had horrible open ulcers on his bottom from acidic diarrhea. He wasn’t sleeping well and screamed all day.
The doctor told me to switch to Nutramigen or Allimentum; we tried one with little help and then switched to the other, which worked great! We had our happy baby back, finally! He was a little older than two months then, and now my question was, how would we pay for this formula? We had WIC but had already used the vouchers for that month on the gentle ease, and WIC required us to have a doctor refer the formula, and we must have our insurance deny the formula first, so that was some fun running around! And when we finally got everything worked out, my son started to throw up again!!!
I knew for a while that the only thing that was going to help him was breast milk, I looked into donor breast milk, but the nearest place was in LA, which is about 4 hours away. With all the gas expenses and such, I figured it would be just about the same as formula feeding, which was too expensive in the first place.
Re-lactating is something I had heard of. I googled it and looked at almost every site that had anything written about the subject!
List of items that helped me to re-lactate!
- A breast pump. A cheap handheld at first, then I got a double electric pump from WIC.
- Lots of water, Oatmeal.
- Mother's milk tea (or any hot tea-chamomile or green)
- Fenugreek. You will need to take three pills daily until your pee and sweat smell like maple syrup!
- SNS feeder was bought from amazon.com cheapest place I could find spent $12.
- Domperidone. It has been given to pregnant women for nausea, so it is up to you to decide whether to use it, but I read a lot about it and decided it was safer than anything else. I bought mine from inhousepharmacy.biz. You will need to take 30mg (they come in 10mg pills) 3 times a day and will need at least one month's supply (I needed about 1 &1/2 months)
- Alarm clock, Pen, and notebook.
My Day 1 - 26 Induced Lactation Journey
I pumped every two hours for 15 minutes on each breast and didn’t get one drop until the 2nd day.
I bought the mother's milk tea and drank it 10 minutes before I pumped and started getting 5 - 10 drops, still pumping every 2 hours.
Getting about 10 - 15 drops still pumping every 2 hours, I got a blister on my nipple and got the larger pumping cup to avoid any more blisters.
I bought the fenugreek and didn’t notice any change in the amount of pumping.
I noticed at my 4 o’clock pump that I filled an entire bottom of the bottle up! Yay, because I was wondering if this was worth it!
Each time I pump, I get about 30 drops. They are starting to get to be bigger drops than before. I read that oatmeal increases pump output - I will try that tomorrow.
I got half an oz at my 5 am pump!
Each pump afterward, the 5 am pump, has been filling up the bottom of the bottle. I bought more mother's milk tea today.
Today I pumped nearly an oz at my 4 am pumping time! With the help of eating the oatmeal using the mother's milk tea and using the fenugreek. I received my Domperidone today in the mail and took my first 30mg dose at 9 pm. I’m getting a little less than 1/4 an oz each time I pump.
I have gone up to 1 oz at my 4 am pump with the Domperidone and 1/4oz with the other pumpings throughout the day.
I was so exhausted from pumping every two hours that I slept in till 7 am and pumped about an oz and 1/4; throughout the day, it has gone up to 1/2oz! Today I filled up a whole bottle - this Domperidone is fantastic!
I have filled up around 1.5 bottles each day.
I have upped the dosage to 4 pills three times a day =120mg/day on day 15 because I ran out of the fenugreek. The max is 160mg daily, so I still feel I’m at a safe dosage! And my pumping output is around 2-2.5 bottles a day.
Today I received my SNS feeder in the mail and can't wait to try it out. My pump output is about 2.5 (4oz) bottles a day. It’s been about 3weeks since I started this journey, and it has been exhausting. I’m still not pumping enough to breastfeed exclusively, but I am happy with what I have accomplished.
Today I tried the SNS feeder out! He screamed and arched his back when I tried to feed him. I’m so discouraged!
I have been trying to use the SNS feeder, but it is messy, and C fusses when I put him up to me.
I read online to try rebirthing. Basically, it just says go skin to skin and keep Cameron on my chest! Hopefully, this works.
Tonight I have been skin to skin. We took a warm bath together, and I had him on my chest, and he came right up and nursed on his own! He only nursed for about 1 minute, then was done. I think he is used to the bottles, but this gives me hope.
After our bath, I used the SNS feeder, he wouldn’t take it right away, so I fed him a bit from the bottle and used the fast drip for the SNS. He nursed on one breast, then became fussy, and he wouldn't take it when I switched him to the other breast. And I fed him the rest of the bottle. I am using the formula in the SNS tonight.
I have been using the SNS with no problems and topping off with 2oz of breast milk or formula, whichever I have now.
Today when I was feeding with the SNS, I pinched the tube and let him nurse without it for a while, so with the feeds afterward, I have been only using the SNS for a few minutes, then letting him nurse only from me the rest of the feeding! I am still topping off until I feel I am making enough milk for him.
Today I tried nursing without the SNS, and it went great! I had to squirt a little breast milk into his mouth, but then he latched right on like a pro! I took away the afternoon top up today.
I have been exclusively breastfeeding without any top-offs; he nurses every 1.5- 2 hours. I have been watching diaper counts, and everything seems to be going great! Yay, I’m so excited! I have successfully induced lactation!
I kept using the Domperidone until I started forgetting here and there at about 1.5 months of using it. I copied this all down from a journal I was keeping. Please let me know if you have any questions. As you can see, as long as there is a demand for breast milk, your body will supply it, so even if you didn’t use the items I used, your body would still make the milk, maybe not as fast as I did, but it will happen.
I am a stay-at-home mom and could read a lot, which gave me the education I needed to keep going. I highly suggest the book breastfeeding book of answers. Although it is way outdated, it was the only book I read, and it helped me a lot! I have also heard about the book the womanly art of breastfeeding, and although I have not read it, it is highly recommended by many people!
I had many people against me; doctors, family members, and friends. They said I wouldn’t be able to do it and that I'd never get him on the breast, and that I wouldn’t make enough milk, but I did it, and I am so happy that I did because my son is 13 months old now and healthy and thriving in the 56 percentile!
By Rebecca Witcher
Bakersfield, CA, USA