Questions about both mommies nursing - Mothering Forums
Queer Parenting > Questions about both mommies nursing
Rachel Fox's Avatar Rachel Fox 03:34 PM 04-05-2003
I have a good friend who's partner will begin invetro soon. If all goes as planned she will be pg soon and my friend will do invetro with the same donor a couple years down the road.
I just mentioned to her that she and her partner should nurse the baby. She was so excited and asked me a whole bunch of questions. I explained how nursing is such a comfort thing and I personally didn't think it mattered so much if she had milk. I told her with the baby suckling it may or may not come in and she could do mothers milk tea and herbs to try to help the process. Or if she wanted to be aggressive about it she could pump and see a lactation consultant and so on.

So, how did you ladies do it?

mplsmom's Avatar mplsmom 08:38 PM 04-05-2003
I only know of one Lesbian couple where both moms nursed. The child who was nursed by both moms was the second child, each mom had a baby and the first bio. mom was still nursing the first child, when her partner had the second child. Is that confusing or what??
Our daughter realized that DP breasts were meer play things, and would not give her the 'good stuff'.
You might want to try La Leche League to see if they have any info.
Rachel Fox's Avatar Rachel Fox 10:38 PM 04-05-2003
So, did dd ever nurse with dp just for comfort or did she just never get into it? Did you encourage it?
tara's Avatar tara 10:38 PM 04-05-2003
I know of a couple in which both moms nursed. When the babe was little and did a lot of comfort nursing, it was a real help to the bio-mom. And, good bonding time for the non-bio-mom.

Isn't it possible for adoptive mothers to lactate, at least a little? I know they usually have to supplement with one of those little tubey thingies (don't know what they're called!), but they can produce some milk, right? Maybe that would be enough to satisfy the babe sometimes?
mplsmom's Avatar mplsmom 10:54 PM 04-05-2003
DD never did nurse on DP. she just would play with them.DP would offer them to DD, and DD would just laugh.
There is a device called the 'supplemental nursing system' that you are refering to.I think that Medela makes it. It has a resivoir and 2 small tubes that get taped to the breast. The tubes put formula at the end of the breast, and sometimes the sucking stimulates the non-bio mom to make milk. I don't know if your friend's dp would ever make milk, and I would worry that providing comfort sucking in the early days might hinder bio-mom's milk supply.
mamacate's Avatar mamacate 12:13 AM 04-06-2003
We didn't do this, but we investigated it a bit and learned a few things. My partner tried a few times with a supplementer (the lact-aid is generally thought to be better than the SNS, fyi), but the latch was never right and she wasn't motivated to continue with it. I still remember in the middle of the night hearing her yell from the next room where she was comfort nursing a baby "ow! you do this all the time???" hehe

Anyway, I know lots of two-mom families who have considered doing this and very few (none IRL, 2 online) who have actually done it. This link has a lot of great information about inducing lactation without a pregnancy. I do have one friend who tried to pump without using the medication protocol, and she wound up abandoning the effort once the baby was born. Another friend is waiting to adopt and is producing more than 4 oz per day through pumping and the medications (bcps and domperidone).

One thing to think about is the issue of the birthmom establishing a good milk supply. If your friend is going to do this, they might want to consider waiting 6 weeks or more after the birth to start the non-bio mom bfing. It's a tough call, though, because at that age the baby is more likely to have a preference. However, it's important to have the baby at the breast early on to establish biomom's milk supply, as I'm sure you know.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of LC's who know a lot about this. It's pretty uncharted territory. I live in an area where there are tons of 2-mom families, and the lactation support folks around here still don't have definitive information. And my partner decided not to pursue it largely because of discouraging information from LCs (mostly online). Uncharted territory, but worth charting, IMO. It would have been nice to have an extra set of boobs around here, lol!

Just an aside, why are your friends both doing in vitro (IVF)? Or do you mean that they're doing IUI? I got pg through IVF, but it was because I *couldn't* get (and stay) pregnant through IUI.


Rachel Fox's Avatar Rachel Fox 01:08 PM 04-06-2003
Just an aside, why are your friends both doing in vitro (IVF)? Or do you mean that they're doing IUI? I got pg through IVF, but it was because I *couldn't* get (and stay) pregnant through IUI.
I might not have the correct terminology here. Partner will be doing artificial insemenation this spring. If all goes well and they have a babe early next year my friend Michelle will do AI with the same donor a few years down the road. They both want to give birth anf use the same donor. I don't know what the scientific terminology is, do they still use the term AI?

Thanks so much for all the informative replys guys. I think the best route here sounds like comfort nursing in between feedings.

mamacate, I love Eleanor! We have Henry and Evelyn. My sister wouldn't let us do Eleanor bc she thought of it and wanted it for her future children But, I love Evelyn too!
madison's Avatar madison 12:11 AM 04-08-2003
Gee, I'm lucky to find ONE lesbian mom who wants to nurse her baby, much less two :

I would worry about supply issues and establishing the primary nursing relationship, since it's supply and demand.

As far as comfort nursing, why not, if babe is amenable? After bio-mom is established and babe has it all figured out, I'd suggest giving it a try, maybe at around a couple of months old. I would kinda bet, however, that the babe might either find it confusing or funny ala "You silly mama, you don't have the milkies I love, hehehe!" type of funny! I just wouldn't push it if the babe isn't interrested, and certainly not if the bio-mom's supply is in any way affected by the additional mother nursing.

And I can't imagine that dry nursing would feel all that great. She probobly wouldn't be nursing enough to establish any sort of supply as the secondary comfort nurser. It might just be UNcomfortable.

So, summarizing my random thoughts, I'd say in theory it sounds great but in actuality it might be difficult to achieve.

bec's Avatar bec 08:29 PM 04-25-2003
My first thought here is: Lucky Babe! I can't tell you how many times I wished I could get dh to lactate!

Seriously, though, you might want to check out and look for information about breastfeeding adopted children. You won't have to worry about the supply problems that a non-bio mom would have. I also think there was an article about it in Mothering a while back.

Good luck!

laurashanley's Avatar laurashanley 11:49 PM 04-27-2003
The gay parenting magazine And Baby had an article about lesbian parents who induced lactation. I haven't read it myself (someone told me about it) but perhaps you could contact the magazine - - for more information. I believe it was written by Jennifer Reents.

In the May/June issue (which should be in grocery stores tomorrow) there's an article (also by Jennifer) about fathers who breastfeed. My husband and I were interviewed for the article and I believe there will be quotes from my article "Milkmen: Fathers who Breastfeed" -

As you'll see if you read my article, men can and have produced milk. In fact, I decided to write the article after a friend of mine told me about a gay man who was nursing his adopted baby. He used a supplimental nursing system at first but eventually he produced a full supply!
lexbeach's Avatar lexbeach 12:21 PM 04-28-2003
Originally posted by laurashanley
In fact, I decided to write the article after a friend of mine told me about a gay man who was nursing his adopted baby. He used a supplimental nursing system at first but eventually he produced a full supply! [/B]
WHAT?! Really?! How?????

Re: both moms nursing. . . My partner and I talked about her bfing our "baby" (turned out to be two babies, but that's another story. . .) a lot before I became pg. While I was pg, we were both just preoccupied with the difficult pregnancy and didn't think about it much. Then, after the boys arrived, it was hard enough for me to get bfing down, and we didn't even think about DP nursing them at all. When they were about five weeks old, we both suddenly remembered our original plan. I suggested that Dp at least try to latch one of the babies on. Well, Jasper latched on all right, and Dp *screamed.* I hope Jaz wasn't too traumatized, because Dp certainly was. When I thought about it more, it made sense that it would be really painful for her. . . It was really pretty painful for me at first, and my nipples were hormonally prepared for the experience! I still would have liked Dp to try to offer her breast for comfort sucking (with two babies, there's no way I can offer my breasts for all the comfort sucking that's needed. . . they do a lot of finger sucking as well), but I respect her decision to leave the "breast work" to me.

laurashanley's Avatar laurashanley 07:00 PM 04-28-2003
Lex wrote:
>WHAT?! Really?! How?????

My husband lactated using visualization. He never actually nursed our baby (it was basically just an experiment in the power of the mind). But some men have done it simply by stimulating their nipples, either by allowing someone to nurse or by using a breastpump. You can read more about it in my article on my site.

The May issue of And Baby came out today with the article about breastfeeding fathers. It's pretty good! At the end of the article it mentions the other article I mentioned in my previous post (inducing lactation in a non-biological parent). It says it appeared in the July/August issue of And Baby.
GoodWillHunter's Avatar GoodWillHunter 12:05 AM 05-02-2003
If both moms want to nurse the baby, the non pregnant mom can induce lactation. A lactation consultant who is supportive is paramount. When the bio-mom is pregnant, the other mom needs to pump her breasts regularly during the last three or so months (every three hours or so), even then, she won't produce the milk the pregnant mom will after birth. Try and find The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. William Sears. His wife induced lactation for their adoptive child. I believe this is the same thing.
DaryLLL's Avatar DaryLLL 05:57 AM 06-06-2003
Any woman can bf a non-bio child. Some will produce a full supply, most will produce a partial supply. There are different ways to go about it. Some pump before the birth, or adoption, for weeks or months. Some do not, and just bf or pump when baby is there.

Galactogogues help, but it is possible to do it without.

A SNS might help, but some babeis resist this. Try just putting the baby to the breast after a feed for comfort. The stimulation will make things happen.

Men can lactate. They have mammary glands.

Grandmothers can and have bfed their grandchildren if mom dies. Even if they haven't nursed for decades.

I got a call once from a new lesbian mom of triplets. I got up my courage to ask if her partner was interested in helping out. She wasn't! I think it would be nice in the case of a multiple birth, for the partner to help out in that way. JMO as a lactivist. And with assisted fertility running a higher risk of multiple birth, you would think lesbian couples would think about it. But, it is not for everyone. Partners can parent in many other ways, of course, as dads do.

Just want to point out, it sure does not have to hurt to start comfort nursing a baby. I did it once, pre-children and it felt fine. Sweet actually. Some kids are hoovers. But I just don't want anyone to be scared to attempt it!
seraf's Avatar seraf 04:47 PM 06-06-2003
so, our family has 2 nursing moms. my partner does comfort nursing and uses the SNS while i'm at work. (he actually prefered her for a while when my milk first came in, b/c my let-down gagged him all the time) we had to worry about the bio-mom missing feedings b/c of mastitis more than supply problems

the sns is a pain in the butt, tho, b/c while dp loves nursing him, she hates the sns. the baby doesn't mind it tho. and he's had a beautiful latch since birth. in fact dp first nursed him when he was about an hour old
simcon's Avatar simcon 09:39 PM 06-08-2003
Here I'm the bio-mom, but DP has comfort nursed since a week or so after the babe was born (I had no supply problems, and nursing was going well) , Now Maddie is 3 months and has no interest in taking a bottle (or pacifier or any other non-breast thing in her mouth 'cept her fingers!), so I think we are going to try DP using the SNS so that I can go to work sometimes! Hopefully it'll be okay and that the babe will take to it...