Adoptive breastfeeding is a term used to describe a mother who breastfeeds a baby that she did not carry herself. This term is gradually being replaced with the term induced lactation. You may be familiar with the term “wet nurse”, which refers to a woman who breastfed another woman’s baby. It was quite common among the European aristocracy prior to the 20th Century. The most famous “wet nurse” was actually Moses’. After he was plucked from the Nile his sister went to the Queen and suggested a woman to breastfeed him. The woman was Moses’ own mother. However in that case the “wet nurse” had actually carried the baby. It is not necessary to have been pregnant in order to induce lactation.
Mothers who induce lactation produce mature breastmilk that is comparable to the breastmilk of a biological mother at 10 days post partum. Because inducing moms are unable to produce human placental lactogen, they are unable to produce colostrum. However, since the amount of antibodies and other immune factors remains the same throughout lactation regardless of the volume of milk produced, mature milk contains ample amounts of antibodies, immune factors and other beneficial components that benefit both mother and baby.
In 1999 Lenore Goldfarb and Jack Newman, MD developed a protocol to help adoptive mothers to bring in their milk supplies. This method involves the use of medications, pumping and herbs, and in many cases has enabled adoptive breastfeeding mothers to bring in a full or nearly full milk supply. Basically the medications fool your body into thinking it’s pregnant, causing the breasts to produce breastmilk. Once the milk making apparatus of your breasts has been developed you can begin pumping and/or breastfeeding. It takes 2-3 weeks to build the milk supply.
For more information on adoptive breastfeeding, visit AskLenore.info Induced Lactation FAQs.
For information on how to induce lactation, visit Newman/Goldfarb protocol for induced lactation.