If you have ever done any research on the subject of non-maternal milk production, you have probably read words such as inducing and re-lactation (among many other common phrases found in the milk making world like lactogenic foods and the use of galactagogues), and it might seem a bit overwhelming as you sort through the available information, and as challenging as the process to produce breast milk without the natural aids of pregnancy and/or childbirth can be, the process can be simplified.
What is Inducing Lactation?
A woman who chooses to induce lactation uses a variety of methods (such as proper hormone placement, suckling, manual stimulation, and/or pumping) to trigger the lactation process, essentially “tricking” her body into believing that there is a need for that milk. These women have never lactate prior to the inducing process.
What is Re-lactation, and How is it Different From Inducing?
Unlike a woman who is inducing lactation, someone who chooses to re-lactate has produced milk (and possibly breastfed) at some point in her life. During re-lactation, a woman is simply reminding her body of what it has done in the past, but it will still be necessary for her to use traditional inducing methods to achieve the goal of lactation.
Is it Harder to Induce than it is to Re-lactate?
Sometimes…but not always. The lactation process is unique to every woman, and how easily or quickly she produces breast milk is really dependent on her.
Do Inducing Methods Really Work?
Yes, they really do. There are many reported cases of women who have been able to fulfill their dreams of producing breast milk, but the process is a true labor of love that requires patience, determination, and a lot of concentrated effort. (And many women find greater success when they use a combination of techniques on a strictly regulated schedule.) There has been a lot of debate on whether or not inducing can be effective, and we now have medical research to assure us that it is. In a study on Galactorrhea (a condition that causes the breasts to begin lactating for a number of reasons that do not include pregnancy), it was reported that excessive stimulation of the breasts, either through massage, suckling, self breast exams, or other forms of manipulation can, in fact, trigger milk production.
Is Lactation a Possibility for Every Woman?
In most cases, yes. Very little can hinder a woman from successfully producing breast milk. Because breast milk production relies more on the release of key hormones from the pituitary gland rather than the reproductive organs, lactation can be achieved by menopausal and post-menopausal women as well as those who have undergone hysterectomies, and, because our breasts function independently from one another, there have been cases where beautiful women have undergone single mastectomies and were still able to successfully lactate and nurse their little ones. (There is so much power in the female form, isn’t there? 🙂 It reminds me of how truly wonderful it is to be a woman!)
If you hope to produce non-maternal breast milk, I wish you great success. It can be done–it might just take some time. Remember the old saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day? Well, neither is a terrific supply of breast milk! 😉
Warm wishes to you!