Did you know that a woman doesn’t need to give birth to a baby to be able to breastfeed? Because I didn’t! Or maybe I had heard about an adoptive mother breastfeeding in the back corner of my brain, but had never even thought about in terms of me actually breastfeeding.
How is this possible? By inducing lactation.
This blog post originally appeared on Our Toasty Life
Just after announcing we were pregnant, one of my college friends, Lauren, asked if I was planning on breastfeeding. She knew that Tara was the one carrying our baby, and honestly when she asked I was totally thrown for a loop. The thought of me (the non-gestation mom) nursing my son hadn’t even crossed my mind. Before I responded to her oh-so-sweet and encouraging note on FB I googled “nongestational breastfeeding” for a solid 20 minutes. After furiously reading through all the blog posts/articles I could find, I responded with, “I think I’m going to try”.
I took a whole month for me to work up the courage to talk to Tara about it – and her reaction was initially, “WHAT?! How is that even possible?!” So I sent her the articles I read (that are also listed below), we talked it over for a couple days and made the decision together that this is something we wanted to try. Once we knew we were definitely going to co-nurse, we started sharing our plans with our friends and family. Most people we talked to hadn’t really ever heard or thought about it, so of course, I decided it would be a great blog post!
Inducing lactation and co-nursing has been around since the dawn of human existence. Formula didn’t exist and mother mortality rates were high. This let to relatives inducing lactation or already nursing moms to share the nursing responsibilites.. Now you can still induce naturally or with a little help from some hormones (domperidone).
What’s so amazing about induced lactation and co-nursing?
The physical connection of breastfeeding benefits both mother and child. Gestational mom who breastfeed will receive all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding, but there’s no reason non-gestational parents can’t get in on the benefits as well.
For me personally, there is this slight feeling of not being an adequite mommy – which I know is illogical, but the feeling is nevertheless there – so co-cursing seemed like a great way to help ease these feeling as well as share the breastfeeding duties with Tara. There was study conducted of 17 queer families who co-nursed and the results were, “unmistakable that their overall experience with co-nursing has been positive” The only real downside to co-nursing is pumping. Pumping is the worst… I’ve been pumping for about a month and it pretty much is the least pleast thing I’ve done for an extended period of time. All my breastfeeding mommy friends concur… pumping simply sucks. But it get a little better over time (so I hear)
Real Life Stories of Co Nursing Lesbian Mommies
Here are two of my favorite stories of lesbian mommies inducing lactation and co-nursing their babies
More Lactation Induction & Co Nursing Resources
Here are some of the other articles and resources I read, just in case you are interested in reading more:
- Co nursing pros/cons
- More lactation induction basics
- Inducing Milk Lactation Basics
- Super in depth research about 10 lesbian families who co nursed:
Co-Nursing without Lactation Induction
It’s worth noting that two moms or adoptive moms can nurse without inducing lactation. There are definite benefits to nursing like bonding with your babe and comforting you babe. You could also use an at-beast supplement as well. Here is a great resource from La Leche League.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today and have expanded your general knowledge on breastfeeding and co-nursing. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! Once baby is born we’ll give an update on how co-nursing goes IRL.