Breastfeeding Help and Postpartum Support

Inducing Lactation for the Adoptive Mama


While many people might find it weird or abnormal to even entertain the thought of breastfeeding an adopted child, I find it to be a remarkable tool for bonding, and of course all of the other endless nutritional benefits. Coming from someone who has fostered over 25 kids now, attachment and bonding are already enough of a struggle, why not make it easier on mom and baby in such a vulnerable time?

If you are an adoptive mom, or a soon-to-be adoptive mom, here are some options for you if you are considering inducing lactation. Know this: it is possible. The only thing you need to be able to breastfeed is a set of boobs and a pituitary gland. So even if you have had a hysterectomy or never had children, you’re still in the game.

Here are 3 viable options for inducing lactation:

1.) Wait until baby arrives and do nothing until then. Put baby to breast when he/she arrives home. Supplement using the supplemental nursing system with formula or donated breast milk.  Spend lots of time skin to skin. Your body will signal to make milk with breast stimulation, but more than likely this option won’t provide enough milk to fully supply your baby.

2.) Wait for baby to arrive but start pumping 5 minutes, 3x a day then gradually increase to 10-15 minutes every 3 hours and once between 1 am & 5 am. Start up to 6 months before and combine with herbs such as blessed thistle or fenugreek. Spend lots of time skin to skin upon baby’s arrival.

3.) Hormones & medication. Talk to your doctor about your options. If you have 30-60 (or more) days before the baby arrives this can be the most effective method. Combining a birth control pill with Raglan or Domperidone for 30-60 days, stopping after significant breast growth, and beginning a pumping schedule such as the one above can be extremely effective. Remember, these are prescription medications with specific dosages, so talk with your doctor first if this is a path you would like to explore.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any drops of milk for up to a month. Inducing lactation takes some committed work. A normal pregnancy takes 9 months to prepare for lactation, so trying to get your body to do it in 30 days is asking a big favor. The most important thing you can remember is that any time spent with your baby, whether the milk comes or not, is not wasted. If you look at the milk as only a bonus, the experience of giving it a try will be much more rewarding. 


“Origin of the Protocols – A Word About This Guide.” Ask Lenore ~ Breastfeeding ~ Induced Lactation ~ Introduction, 

“Induced Lactation: Can I Breast-Feed My Adopted Baby?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Jan. 2016,