Aside from the many nutrients that are present in breast milk, an important benefit to breast feeding is the promotion of attachment and bonding between the mother and infant. However, many mothers of babies conceived through surrogacy, who are unable to naturally produce breast milk as a result of a pregnancy, are left feeling like that is a part of motherhood that they do not get to experience.
This is not actually the case. Women who were not pregnant can produce breast milk through induced lactation. Keep in mind, this is a complex and demanding process to go through, but for some mothers it may be well worth it.
Typically, the process of induced lactation will involve several months of taking hormone supplements to mimic the biological processes of pregnancy, and then using a breast pump several times a day to promote lactation. This process can take several months of preparation, and should be started while the surrogate is pregnant, so that the milk has already come in before the delivery of the baby. In some cases, the process of induced lactation can be sped up, but if possible the best method is to start early in the pregnancy. Since this process is induced and is not occurring as a natural response to pregnancy, it may not be possible to act as the sole source of nutrition for the baby, as lactation will likely be less than it is during a pregnancy. So it is important to begin building a supply, via pumping, shortly before the delivery, and continue pumping after each session of breast feeding. It may also be necessary to supplement their diet with formula. Ultimately, the goal is to have that bonding through breast feeding, so it is not about the quantity of breast milk, but rather, it’s about the quality of that time and interaction that is key. If you are unable to breast feed or don’t feel comfortable with induced lactation there are also assistive devices that can be used to feed the baby at the breast. Before starting anything, make sure you consult your/ baby’s doctor or a lactation consultant to see what method best suits you.