As an intended mother, you may not be able to be pregnant yourself and carry your baby to term — but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on one of the most intimate parts of caring for an infant. In this case, we’re talking about breastfeeding.
You may not know that, even if you don’t carry a baby yourself, you can still breastfeed them by taking certain medical steps. Just like any other mother breastfeeding, it may be a long process with its ups and downs — but know that you can succeed in breastfeeding your baby and giving him or her all of the subsequent health benefits of doing so.
Your doctor can best explain how to proceed with induced lactation based on your individual circumstances, but here are some of the basics of the process:
How it Works
Like other pregnancy-related side effects, lactation is induced by pregnancy hormones. That’s why it’s so important to work closely with your doctor if you wish to breastfeed as an intended mother; they can help you proceed safely and effectively with inducing lactation.
Each intended mother’s situation is different but, typically, here are the steps you will take:
1. Take initial hormones.
Typically, these will be birth control pills that will “trick” your body into thinking that you’re pregnant, the first step to producing milk.
2. Replace these hormones with supplements and medication.
To promote your milk production, your doctor will give you medications and other herbal supplements after stopping the birth control pills.
3. Start pumping for milk.
To induce lactation, you’ll need to start pumping before your baby is born. By increasing the duration and frequency that you pump, your milk will hopefully come in by the time your baby is born.
4. Start nursing, but don’t be afraid to supplement.
Even women who carry their own babies have difficulties with breastfeeding, and that may be the case with you as an intended mother. If your milk supply is not substantial to feed your baby the nutrients he or she needs, don’t be afraid to use a supplemental nursing system. These are more common than you think and provide mothers a way to breastfeed their baby with their own milk and a milk supplement (like the surrogate’s milk, donated breastmilk, etc.) at the same time.
What to Consider About Breastfeeding
For many intended mothers, the opportunity to breastfeed their baby allows them to experience one of the most intimate parts of the post-partum baby-raising process. Even though they could not carry their baby to full term themselves, they are able to have that bonding experience through the intimate process of breastfeeding.
Many intended mothers also consider breastfeeding their child (with their own milk or donated milk) because of the health benefits involved. Studies have shown that breastmilk and breastfeeding may reduce the risk of many health issues for newborns, like asthma and allergies, and has also been linked to reduced risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer for mothers.
However, breastfeeding for any mother requires time and commitment — and even more so for intended mothers. In addition to nursing a child 10 or 12 times a day, intended mothers must pump for weeks or months before their baby is born in order to successfully breastfeed their child. There is also a learning curve for breastfeeding no matter whether you’re an intended mother or gave birth to the baby yourself; it may not be right for everyone. If you decide to try breastfeeding, it’s important to recognize that you may not always get the results you want — and don’t see it as a negative reflection upon your ability to “be a mother.” Ultimately, the decision will be up to you depending on what you think is right for you and your baby.
If you’re interested in breastfeeding your baby (whether through your own breastmilk, the surrogate’s breastmilk or donated breastmilk), we encourage you to speak with your doctor to learn more about what options are available to you. At American Surrogacy, we can also help coordinate this in your surrogacy contract, should you wish to have your surrogate pump and donate her breastmilk to you.
To learn more today about our other services for intended parents, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).