Milk comes naturally in the breasts after childbirth. Women who adopt babies often wonder whether they can enjoy the pleasure of breastfeeding by inducing lactation. The good news is that you can indeed induce lactation even without being pregnant.
How To Induce Lactation
Production of breast milk is a complex biological process involving the progesterone, estrogen and the prolactin hormones. The moment a woman gives birth, the estrogen and progesterone levels fall, while the prolactin remains at a high level. This leads to production of breast milk.
This natural process of production of breast milk could be mimicked through nipple stimulation. Nipple stimulation is a process of pumping the breasts with breast pumps several times throughout the day, for at least two months. This process triggers secretion of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin helps the milk producing sacs or the alveoli to extract nutrients from the blood to form breast milk.
The tissues present around the alveoli should contract to push the milk, produced in the alveoli, into the milk ducts. This process of milk ejection is done by the hormone oxytocin. Nipple stimulation also helps to send signals to the brain to release this hormone to facilitate milk ejection.
Nipple stimulation could be done simply by allowing your adopted baby to suckle your breasts. However, the hospital grade electric breast pump is the most popular nipple-stimulating tool. If you want to breastfeed your adopted baby, it is advisable to start nipple stimulation with breast pump two months before you bring the infant home.
Pumping both the breasts every three hours, throughout the day could induce breast milk production. Often additional hormonal therapy is prescribed for inducing lactation. Estrogen and progesterone hormones are administered to replicate hormonal changes during pregnancy.
However, hormonal therapy is discontinued soon after a woman starts breastfeeding. As your baby starts suckling, the milk production is sustained naturally without any external aid.
Certain herbs could assist milk production. However, it is advisable to consult your physician before taking herbal supplements for inducing lactation. Women who induce lactation with lactation aids should eat nutritious meals to sustain production of breast milk. Milk production might increase by consuming a bowl of cooked oatmeal daily.