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Breastfeeding Outside the Box

Jan 26, 2016

Alyssa shared with Hope the breastfeeding story that inspired Breastfeeding Without Birthing.  It has been 10 years since Alyssa became an adoptive parent who nursed her baby, and she has been working hard ever since to grow information and support around breastfeeding without pregnancy and birth.  

Alyssa's passion for breastfeeding grew out of her experience nursing her first two (biological) children.  When she and her husband planned to adopt, she knew that breastfeeding would be a very important part of that plan.
Building a Full Milk Supply when Inducing Lactation

While many mothers who induce lactation hope to build a fully supply, few of them do.  Alyssa was one of the fortunate ones.  Why are some mothers able to produce a full supply and others much less?  We really don't have all the answers, just as we don't have all the answers why some mothers by birth cannot produce a full supply.  But we do have some inclinations:

  • Mothers who've birthed and breastfed before tend to make more milk.
  • Mothers who work with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) tend to make more milk.
  • Mothers who effectively and frequently empty their breasts make more milk, usually either by pumping with a hospital-grade breast pump or by breastfeeding with an at-breast supplementer.
  • Mothers who take the medication domperidone tend to make more milk.
  • Mothers who have experienced infertility due to hormonal reasons tend to make less milk.

Alyssa emphasized that nursing very frequently (up to 14 times per day) was a challenge, yet she believes it was an important factor in why she was able to breastfeed her adopted daughter without supplementation. She explained that frequently nursing her baby allowed her to get enough milk over the course of the day, even though her breasts probably didn't produce very much milk at each feeding.  Producing a small amount of milk each time the breasts are emptied is referred to as "small breast storage capacity" and is typical of mothers whose bodies haven't just undergone pregnancy.