Today, breastfeeding a baby born via surrogacy is no longer a utopia. Breastfeeding a baby is not only about supplying the baby with the necessary food for growth and development, but also a special connection, which is especially important. At the same time, I want to emphasize that when you decide to use formula for feeding, you should not feel guilty or ashamed for choosing a different way of interacting with your baby. Feeding a baby is a conscious choice of a mother who knows exactly what will be the best for her baby.

There are two main points required for successful feeding of a baby, born via surrogacy 

  1. It is important that breast milk appears.

  2. It is important that the baby picks up the breast (which is not always easy).

You need to understand that there is a genetic disposition to the breast milk production, even having given birth to a baby on your own it is not always possible to achieve the required amount of milk for feeding, but I am sure that many mothers will be happy to feed their baby with their milk, even knowing that they will not be able to provide the baby with the necessary amount of nutrition.

How to stimulate lactation?

You need to know that hormones such as prolactin (responsible for milk production) and oxytocin (responsible for the flow of milk) are involved in the stimulation of lactation, these hormones are produced in the pituitary and have no direct connection with the reproductive system, which allows even mothers who have used assisted reproductive technologies, and more specifically such method as surrogacy, to be able to feed a newborn child with their breast milk. Both hormones are produced when the nipple is stimulated. Hence, even women, who have survived the hysterectomy, still have the opportunity to experience the happiness of breastfeeding. There are several ways to artificially achieve lactation. The first method is to stimulate the breast with a breast pump a few months before the baby is born. Naturally, you won’t be able to pump the required amount of milk, but it is important that the mammary glands will be stimulated and the milk will begin to flow, in the future there will be more milk. Breast stimulation should be regular. If there is a possibility, buy a breast pump with two attachments to be able to stimulate and express two breasts at the same time, this will not only save you time, but will also stimulate more milk flow. As various studies show, milk usually begins to arrive 1-4 weeks after the start of mechanical stimulation of lactation, this all happens very individually. While lactation is not yet established, at the very beginning you can only see a few drops of milk, but over time, milk will begin to arrive in greater amount. You may also notice the changes in nipple sensitivity, changes in areola color, menstrual cycle, and libido. For good lactation, it is recommended to express milk using a breast pump as often as possible or at least 2 times a day for 20 minutes. If you are unable to express milk often and daily, you can do it less often on weekdays and more often on weekends, this scheme also works.

Also, many intended mothers, who expect the baby via surrogacy, resort to the help of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Of course, hormones are not necessary to stimulate lactation and you can absolutely do it without them, but with them it is much easier to prepare your body for milk production, as you artificially make your body feel pregnant. Usually, hormones are taken three months before a surrogate mother gives birth to your baby. If you decide to take hormones, your doctor should know about it, you should regularly attend medical examinations and measure your blood pressure, since side effects are very rare, but it can be. In the future, you should inform the pediatrician about surrogacy process and the stimulation of milk with hormones and constantly come with the baby for check-ups, so that in case of any side effects, you will notice it in time and stop breastfeeding. It is also important to monitor your child’s growth and weight gain to avoid underfeeding.

The same time, to stimulate lactation there is a specially developed protocol for taking the well-known drug Domperidone is used. Reception of Domperidone is divided into two stages: increasing the dosage and decreasing the dosage. Intended Mothers usually start taking it 3-4 months before the baby is born by a surrogate mother. It is important to know that lactation consultants usually do not recommend to take Domperidone for lactation stimulation, as there are many side effects and bad reviews.

Is the artificially produced milk suitable for feeding a baby?

In New Guinea, there was a research, where 24 babies, who were fed exclusively with milk, produced by stimulating lactation of non-biological mothers, were involved. The study showed that all infants received adequate nutrition.

Since stimulating lactation leads to the production of a small amount of milk at the beginning and bypasses the colostrum stage, how can a baby eat well in the first days? Many women use a feeding tube device. It is a pouch or bottle that is hung around the neck. A thin silicone tube departs from it, which is fixed on the chest with a hypoallergenic surgical plaster. The baby suckles the breast, and donated milk or formula flows through the tubes straight to the nipple, like a drink through a straw. In this way, the child learns to get food on his own, which is usually hindered by bottle nipples with large holes that almost do not need to be sucked, and also gets used to sucking the breast, and not the binky (due to the binky, a baby later, getting used to this type of sucking, may refuse to take the breast). There are special devices called Supplementary Nutrition System (SNS), which can help you to teach baby to suckle the breast.

In conclusion, I would like to say that in Repromedicine SEDA we believe that nothing is impossible and if you have made a decision for yourself to breastfeed your baby, then you have all the possibilities for this process to be successful and enjoyable. At the same time, today there are many infant formulas that contain all the necessary elements for a balanced and healthy diet for your little ones. Whatever decision you make for yourself, it will always be of the true one, because you are a mother.