Adoptive Breastfeeding- Inducing Lactation without Meds? Advice? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Challenges > Adoptive Breastfeeding- Inducing Lactation without Meds? Advice?
IHeartTaiwan's Avatar IHeartTaiwan 10:28 AM 08-22-2012

Hi there!! I'm new to this forum and new to the breastfeeding world entirely. :) My husband and I are in the process of adopting from Taiwan and are currently on the waiting list. Obviously we are hoping to get "THE CALL" any day now so in the mean time I'm trying to learn all I can about adoptive breastfeeding because I intend to breastfeed. I know that it may be a challenge and I'll have to work for it, but I think the benefits outweigh it all. Plus even if I can't get milk in, I'm excited about the bonding experience we'll have. So here are my questions...

I have done a lot of research and I know I don't want to be on meds. I don't judge anyone that does, I just don't feel it's right for me. So I've read that you can take fenugreek, blessed thistle and goat's rue to help with milk production....Is there anyone that has had experience with these and can share with me how they worked for them? From what I read it's okay, and in fact encouraged, to take them that true? When should I begin taking them and for how long? We are on the waiting list and can get a call any day and then it's probably 4-8 months before we can bring the baby home.


Also, I had planned to go ahead and start pumping and even if I end up bringing my milk in before we are able to bring the baby home, at least I can start storing up. SO, with that in mind....Should I start pumping before taking the herbs or take the herbs first? Does it matter? As far as pumping is concerned, this was my plan after doing research....

I figured I start out pumping 3 times a day for 3-5 minutes and then keep moving it up. Eventually getting up to the every 3 hours for like 10 minutes. In that process should I continue the pumping during the night or only during waking hours? Is that process reasonable?


I know I have lots of questions and I might be all over the place, but bare with me. I'm excited and nervous and new! lol. If anyone has any sort of a timeline of what they did when inducing lactation without meds that they are willing to share, that'd be awesome! I found the Newman-Goldfarb Inducing lactation protocol but I don't want to use birth control or meds so that's why I'm looking for a natural, no meds protocol.


I'm so excited about this community and this journey I'm on. I can't wait to hear from you ladies!


God Bless!


skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 11:57 AM 08-22-2012
Congratulations on getting on the waiting list and it's wonderful that you are willing to work so hard to induce lactation. I haven't gone through the adoption route but I do have pumping experience and I have tried some natural supply boosters. From what I understand, the hormones of pregnancy play a large role in initiating lactation and preparing breast tissue to produce milk. I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying the natural route but even with hormones and medication it can be tricky to initiate lactation. I understand your reluctance to take hormones, etc but it's the closest analog to carrying a pregnancy and I hope you keep it in mind in case you need it.

My DD had latch issues when she was born and I pumped for her for 10 weeks before transitioning to the breast and boy, those were hard, long weeks. I found that I had to pump around the clock every 3 hours or my supply would tank. I tried fenugreek and it really didn't make a difference to me. By week 6 I couldn't keep up the overnight schedule and had to supplement with formula. In preparation for the transition to breast, my LC put me on domperidone which increased my pump output noticeably and helped me empty quicker (30-35 minutes of pumping instead of 45-50 minutes). I only needed it for a few weeks, didn't have any noticeable side effects and weaned off of it easily. Transitioning baby from bottle to breast is a topic onto itself and I can share my experience another time. The pump you use is crucial and in your situation I would rent a hospital grade one for sure. The herbs won't do much without pumping to empty the breast so I'd start pumping at the same time as the herbs.

Every woman responds differently to the pump and the herbs so it's hard to say what routine you will need to follow. Eight sessions a day is really the minimum (for most) to establish a good supply and you may need more sessions. I suggest seeking out an experienced lactation consultant locally now to put a plan in place - you will probably need one to help you transition baby to the breast anyways later. If natural lactation is a good possibility then an LC would be the expert on it anyhow. Good luck!
IHeartTaiwan's Avatar IHeartTaiwan 08:55 PM 08-25-2012

Hi there! I appreciate you responding and sharing your experience and advice with me. :)


I understand that I might have to be put on meds to induce lactation and if it comes down to it, I'm not so opposed that I wouldn't consider it. I've just always tried the more natural and holistic approach to things first so I'm really hoping it'll work out. I know the liklihood of me producing all the milk our baby will need is slim, but even if I'm able to supply some milk I know it will be beneficial to the baby. And of course, the bonding is as well. ;) And like you mentioned, the pumping will be pretty intense and I can't gaurantee I'll be able to do it, but I figured I'll give it a good try. I'm a pretty determined and stubborn person and don't usually have trouble sticking to things like that so we'll see. lol.


My sister has a double pump that she was going to let me have that she paid a lot of money for and only used a few times. I was originally going to just start out at least with that and see how it goes. Is that not a good idea? I don't know what brand or anything it is. Just that it was a double pump. I'm just hesitant to rent one from the hospital and it not go well. I think they run about $50 to rent and then supplies on top of that. So I figured if I could try it with a pump that I didn't have to pay for first, I thought that might be best and then go from there. Plus I've heard that the hospital pumps are pretty hard to carry around and I would have to be able to take it with me to work. Luckily I work for family so taking breaks to pump isn't an issue, but if the hospital pumps aren't very portable I'm not sure I want to mess with lugging it back and forth.


I will admit one of my concerns is getting the baby to go back to breastfeeding after being bottle fed, especially because our baby will probably be older, but I also know that each baby is different so I won't know till I try. Right? :)


I've contacted a LC that is a friend's MIL so hopefully we can get together because I think she'd be a great person to work with on it all. I'm really eager to get started...I'm just so nervous too!


Thanks again for replying and helping me working this all out! :D

skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 10:21 AM 08-26-2012
It sounds like you're very realistic about the process and have some good support already arranged. That's wonderful! About the pump, if it's a medela pump in style or freestyle or an amends purely yours, those are the best double pumps out there after the hospital grade ones. At one point lansinoh double pumps were made by ameda, but I'm not sure if they still are so that may not be the best route. Other brands aren't that well made and the LC warned me against them as some have been linked to nipple trauma so be careful. It would be a good idea to borrow your sister's and check out what type it is and even try it out to see how well you tolerate pumping. If you plan to bottle/cup/spoon feed any expressed milk for the transition back to breast, you should still get your own pump parts to avoid risk of contamination. Having said all that, if your sister's pump is a good one and you find that the process is working for you, I would still rent a hospital grade pump. Take the borrowed pump to work and use it there (or when you're elsewhere, away from home) and do the majority of your pumping at home with the hospital grade pump. That would give you the best of both worlds: the hospital grade will stimulate milk production better but the other pump will be easier to travel with. I'm hoping to give you advice that supports lactation as much as possible but I do realize that it's more costly. I'm really rooting for you! joy.gif
IHeartTaiwan's Avatar IHeartTaiwan 10:42 AM 08-26-2012

Thanks for the info. about the pumps...that helps a lot! I'll find out what my sister's is then. And your idea of using both pumps is a good one!  I don't know why I didn't think of that. lol. I checked into renting a pump and it's not as expensive as I thought and I think it'll be worth the cost in the long run. So I think I'll do that because if it's going to be the most beneficial then it's definitely worth it. smile.gif


I'll be sure to post an update once I begin pumping.....I'm so excited! energy.gif Thanks again! :D

MountainMamaGC's Avatar MountainMamaGC 11:11 AM 08-26-2012

You can nurse regularly with a lact-aid or SNS, and the stimulation can help bring milk in. Nursing often is the best thing for supply, and better than pumping. Most women who pump before baby comes are only able to get drops until they actually start nursing. Then the magic happens. Blessed thistle and fenugreek are herbs that are said to help. So when the baby comes do lots of skin to skin and nurse often. Some women only get the smallest supply, and some get a full supply, and average is about 50-75% of a full supply. Have realistic expectations, and realize that breastfeeding is so much more than just breastmilk. 


I am going to start the process myself, as soon as we are on the list. I am going to do the Newman Goldfarb protocol, and I have all the prescriptions on file. I am going to take just the birth control until we are chosen, and then move on to the domperidone with hormones after we are chosen.