Induced breastfeeding

Today Online

It is possible to breastfeed even if you’ve never gone through childbirth

August 3, 2010
LIKE other new mums, Sally (not her real name) shared a fulfilling breastfeeding relationship with her newborn baby.

But unlike them, she did not go through pregnancy and the painful process of childbirth. Sally adopted her son Andrew four years ago, when he was just two weeks old. The names have been changed to protect their identities.

When Sally held him in her arms for the first time, she knew for certain that she would treat Andrew like her own. So she made the decision to breastfeed him.

“I’ve never felt like I was an adoptive mum, so like any biological mother, I wanted to give him the best. Through breastfeeding, I was able to build that mother-and-child bond with my baby,” said Sally, who is in her early 40s.

To induce lactation, she consulted a doctor and a lactation consultant, and took a combination of medication. It was a tough process, but she was “mentally prepared”.

Said Sally: “I strongly wanted to breastfeed my baby. Realising the benefits of breastfeeding helped me to overcome all difficulties.”

Such cases are rare in Singapore. But lactation experts Today spoke to said it is possible to induce lactation.

At KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, lactation consultant Cynthia Pang, who is also the assistant director of nursing, said the hospital sees about two to three such cases each year. It saw five cases last year.

Betty Lee, a lactation consultant in private practice, said induced lactation is not new. The practice dates back to centuries ago. In some countries, women do it to care for orphaned babies.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.