breast feeding miscellaneous

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Since Tripod is evidently not working right today and just lost three and a half hours worth of text that I had written on this topic, I am writing a very abbreviated version for now. I will concentrate on what I believe is most effective, but without alot of discussion. My apologies!

First of all, remember that the most effective way of stimulating milk production is to have a baby sucking at the breast both often and long. Also, remember that the things that I am about to discuss are options, not a necessities. Nursing full time and preparing formula and supplementers alone requires a great deal of commitment. Each adoptive mom must weigh ALL of the needs of her baby, herself, and the rest of her family, in decisions of how much to do in order to help produce as much breast milk as possible. No one who chooses not to take on any of these other things should ever feel that she is being negligent. Remember that nursing is supposed to be a wonderful, enjoyable, emotionally rewarding experience, not an ordeal. The adoptive mother should avoid things that interfere with her ability to enjoy her baby. Babies enjoy being enjoyed! In fact, they will not thrive without it!


In brief, the two drugs which have been shown to be the most effective at increasing milk production are metoclopramide, AKA Reglan, and domperidone.

Metoclopramide has proven to be a very hazardous drug, because of the very high potential for side effects such as depression and/or anxiety. These symptoms can appear immediately after starting it, after it has been taken for awhile, or only after the drug is discontinued. The effects can be quite severe and also take several weeks or months to subside after the drug is discontinued. The modest increase in milk production that it is known to produce is not worth the risk of these side effects. Some moms have become so depressed that they wished they hadn't adopted their babies, felt totally unfit to be mothers, or even had suicidal thoughts. There does not appear to be any way to predict who will have severe effects and who will not. The vast majority of adoptive moms who have tried this have experienced them to some degree. Most have stopped taking the drug soon after noticing the effects, which may have prevented severe symptoms. I do not recommend that adoptive moms take this drug.

Domperodone has been used to successfully augment milk production in adoptive moms, without the side-effects of metoclopramide. It is not currently available in the USA. However, it can be obtained through a pharmacies in Mexico, which can be contacted by phone at 011 526 654-1834. The recommended dosage is 20mg., four times daily. Remember that this only helps with milk production. It does not take the place of time spent nursing the baby, nor does it guarantee a large milk supply.


Many herbs have been used to improve lactation. The most common of these is fenugreek seed. I have provided a link to an article about the use of this herb. It can be taken whole, washed down like small pills, made into teas, taken in capsule form, or in infusion form.

The only side-effect of fenugreek that I know of is increased perspiration which has a maple syrup scent to it. No cases of toxicity are known to me. A government commission appointed to review several topics in the use of medicinal herbs, which are in common use in Germany, reported no cases of toxicity.

Among the other more popular herbs for this purpose are blessed thistle, fennel, nettle, marshmallow, red clover and red raspberry. Taking both the fenugreek and one other, or a combination of them, may be the wisest course to take. Some prepared forms of these are available, including Mother's Milk tea, which is widely available in grocery stores, and More Milk, offered by the Motherlove herbal company (see below for link).


Pumping in addition to nursing is sometimes recommended. However, trying to spend time sitting pumping in addition to all of the time spent nursing is not often reasonable. The most effective use of a pump appears to be for use on one breast while the baby is nursing on the other. This should only be done with a gentle pump that is easy to operate with one hand. The Avent Isis pump would be a good choice for this. Again, this should only be undertaken if it can be done without turning the experience into an ordeal.

Breast compression is also found to be helpful by some moms. A link to a good discussion on this is provided below.

Breastfeeding and/or Adoption Links

Lact-Aid International: Information on breastfeeding with the original, and most highly recommended, device available for providing formula supplement to a baby at the breast.

La Leche League International: Five articles written by adoptive mothers for LLLI's journal for nursing mothers, "New Beginnings".

The Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia: A good resource for breastfeeding information and support, and related equipment.

The Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Website: This site provides helpful links, discussion, and a bulletin board for dialog about adoptive nursing.

Adoption and Nursing Bulletin Board on : A general discussion of the topic. Be sure to look through the archives!

Ordering information for The Nursing Mother's Companion, by Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S.: An excellent general breastfeeding book.

Fenugreek: One Remedy For Low Milk Production, by Kathleen Huggins, R.N, M.S.: A good article on the use of the herb, fenugreek, for improving milk production

Information about inverted nipples: Describes a test to take to determine whether nipples will protrude for nursing.

Avent UK: Information about the Nipplette, a device for everting severely inverted nipples.

Evert-It Nipple Enhancer: Ordering information for the Evert-It, a "mini breastpump" designed to help pull out inverted or flat nipples.

Medela Breastfeeding Products: A source of excellent pumps, breast shells, nursing bras, the SNS, and other nursing aids. Also contains a small amount of information on adoptive nursing.

Mother to Mother Nursing Wear: A good source of nursing clothing that is handy for nursing with a supplementer

Copyright © 1999-2000 Darrillyn Starr. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Credits: Darrillyn Starr

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Visitor Comments (2)
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TM - 4 years ago
0 0 0
isn't red clover bad for a pregnant woman, or woman that's breast feeding? #1
NASIM - 4 years ago
3 0 0
Is it possible that a mother adopting child can breastfeed the baby although she had never been given birth any baby and hoe effetive are herbal medicines for her to produce milk #2

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