Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Got Milk? Inducing Lactation


I do… well kinda.

The last post was all about men’s danglely bits. This one will be all about the female top heavy danglely bits. Or in other words breasts, boobs, knockers, flapjacks, big boppers, tatas or whatever endearing term you prefer. Feel free to throw out more creative suggestions in the comment section below. I would love to hear what you come up with.

I have received some very interesting looks, comments and reactions lately.  We all know that “Jellybean” is a super special surro in-utero baby. (Try saying that 3x fast!) So allow me to point out the obvious infertility elephant in the womb here, I am un-pregnant. Even though I will not birth her, I will be able to breastfeed. Record player scratches, room quiets, crickets start cricketing… it is called induced lactation.

I was in shock too when I found out I may physically be able to breast feed. So imagine those outside reactions I got. This is actually not that foreign of a concept in the adoptive and surrogacy inner circles. With the rising awareness and social re-acceptance of breastfeeding it just seems to be what is breast (haha get it?) for your baby.  Now, it is not for everyone. It is a lot of work and dedication. I have very personal reasons for wanting to induce lactation. My body has failed my baby, but damnit the top half works (I think) so at the least I can provide her with the second most instinctual mother-body function I have left to offer which is breastfeeding.

It is a long process and there are many different protocols and schools of thought. I will spare you the details and just send you to the two articles I wrote for specifically on that topic if you want to know more on overall general induced lactation 101.

I started the process about 6 weeks ago. Yep, like said it takes a while. I called my insurance company told them our very unique situation and they sent me an Ameda Purely Yours double pump,  I later graduated to the Ameda hospital grade Platinum pump; hospital grade is the most recommended by lactation consultants. For the first 2 weeks I would pump 3 times a day and take a cocktail of herbs which were: Fenugreek, Mothers Milk tea, brewers yeast and a prenatals. Consider this the "priming" stage, your just gearing up your ladies for battle. One point I should share. For two weeks I walked around smelling like an IHOP pancake doused in maple syrup. Fenugreek makes your sweat smell like maple syrup. Basically, I was hungry and disgusted all at the same time.  Second point, brewer’s yeast should come with a warning label: “This product tastes like bar mop ass.” There are only two other things I have had in my life that is worse. Sea urchin and eel, brewers yeast takes the #3 spot. I then met with my local LLL (La Leche Leagueand they kindly steered me in the direction of a vitamin blend called Mother’s Love Special Blend  which basically had everything I needed in it. The pill does look like black tar heroin or some inconspicuous substance but at least I no longer smell like a pancake. At week 3 I started Domperidone. This drugs intended use is for gastrointestinal issues but the main side affect is lactation! It is also proven to be more affective and have less side effects than Reglan, which is another medication to induce lactation? Reglan is known to have side effects such as depression and it crosses the blood brain barrier, hence why I opted for Domperidone. So each week of the protocol the pumping increases from 3 times daily to 6 times and now to 8 times. Basically, I am married to my pump “Larry” as I like to call him, and it is like a scene from National Geographic at our house.

You know what though? I have milk! It is really not much. Boobs-Milky-Magee fertile mom may laugh in hysterics about how much I produce, but come on, I am not physically pregnant and I may be able to breastfeed. It is only about an ounce a day currently but that is more than I had a week ago and more than I had the week prior to that. Now, I am not naive enough to think that I will be able to fully support our baby on my rinky-dink supply so I will likely have to supplement.  For now, I will sit back and revel in the fact that I have defied Mother Nature yet again.  2 Points Candace, O Points Mother Nature.

For more scholarly information on this, my dear thoughtful friend sent me a book called “Breastfeeding Without Birthing” by Alyssa Schnell. It has truly been the breast resource for me.

HEY YOU! Yes you!

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  1. I'm completely blown away that this is even possible. But then again, I guess if we can force our bodies to produce multiple eggs, we can make it lactate, too! Amazing. So glad you're able to do this!

  2. Have you looked into breast milk donations for the supplementing? I donated throughout my daughter's first year and really loved the experience

  3. Believe it or not, I have heard of it before and read a blog of someone who tried it after adopting.
    You probably already know this, but if not here it goes. You can get donated breast milk. That way you won't have to switch Jellybean back and forth from the real thing and formula while supplementing.
    BTW, I loved this part: "Record player scratches, room quiets, crickets start cricketing" I totally heard it in my head. :)

  4. You go girl! So many people don't even try to breastfeed after having a baby and you are making it happen! It's the best thing for your little jelly bean! Way to go girl!

  5. Get it girl! I enjoy breastfeeding way more than I enjoyed pregnancy. It's the sweetest thing.

  6. Hey there,

    When I had my baby I pumped about 15ml (not oz) per session. That's about half an ounce. Then I remember being excited to pump 25ml per session. Nowadays I average about 5oz per session, and my "top score" is 9oz per session (pumping every 2-3 hours when I'm at work).

    My point is your output will change as your body gets used to the pump. Good luck...I struggled with infertility and miscarriage before successfully carrying my daughter. I know how it feels. I am so pleased for you that you are finally having your baby.

  7. Im with joy to hear your expecting . Seen your episode of ture life a week ago. Plans of having a 2nd child thur surrogacy.

  8. Thats awesome! Even one ounce of breast milk will do the bay wonders, if you keep it up i bet you won't even need to supplement

  9. I'm so happy for you that you're producing milk! Every little bit is that much more epic boob milk Jellybean is getting instead of formula which is E P I C! careful. Her poop will start to smell like whatever you ate the day before so...ya know...maybe steer clear of Mexican. :-P

  10. This is wonderful! A side note, which you most likely already know, some people get minimal amounts when they pump, but there's plenty when baby nurses. I'd assume it doesn't matter if you induced lactation for that to be true. Yeay boobs!