So you want to breastfeed but you’re not pregnant. Maybe you’ve just adopted a baby, or maybe you want to breastfeed your partner’s child. Or maybe you just really want to experience the benefits of breastfeeding without actually having to go through pregnancy and childbirth first. Whatever your reasons, inducing lactation is definitely possible—but it does take some work. Here’s what you need to know about how long it will take – along with a few other tips!
There are many reasons why someone would want to induce lactation without pregnancy – and you may even wonder if it’s possible.
The good news is – many, many women have successfully induced lactation without ever being pregnant.
With that said, it can be quite the process and take a lot of time and patience. In this article, we will be talking about how long it takes to induce lactation without pregnancy – along with a few other facts!
How Long Does It Take to Induce Lactation Without Pregnancy?
The process to induce lactation is certainly not something that you decide you want to do the night before you decide you want to give breast milk. For most, it is a month-slong process that requires quite a bit of time and even money to accomplish.
When I work with individuals to induce lactation, I typically have a three stage process, though it can be accelerated based on the circumstances.
Stage One: 6+ weeks (you can remain in this stage for awhile, but it can be shortened or skipped if baby will be arriving soon)
Stage Two: Ideally begin six weeks before baby is born
Stage Three: Begins when baby is born
For most parents who are inducing lactation and have never been pregnant, it generally will take 6-8 weeks to induce lactation, though you may see drops of milk within days of starting. Typically you will see drops being produced between 10-13 days from starting your protocol, with it gradually increasing from there.
Bottom line – the more time we have, the better. You should plan on a couple of months to induce lactation.
Pro Tip: Measure your increases in supply – even if it’s just one more drop, if we see an increase with each day, the plan is working!
What Are the Methods to Induce Lactation Without Pregnancy?
There are a few different methods you can use to induce lactation without pregnancy. There are some protocols that have been created if you are wanting to DIY this, however, I recommend working with a lactation professional to come up with a plan that works specifically for your goals and situation.
I have taken Alyssa Schnell’s course on induced lactation and am trained to help with relactation and induced lactation. If you are interested in working with me virtually, you can book an induced lactation session here. You can also book a free 10 minute discovery call to make sure I’m the right fit for you!
Most methods include the preparation of the breasts, the introduction of stimulation, and the use of certain medications and herbs.
Here are some of the other protocols that exist.
I highly recommend buying the book Breastfeeding Without Birth:
The benefits of inducing lactation without pregnancy
There are many benefits of inducing lactation without pregnancy!
For one thing, it allows indvidiuals who are not pregnantfor whatever reason (adoption, surrogacy, etc.) the opportunity to still provide them with the nutrient-rich food they need for optimal development. Additionally, it can help build and strengthen the bond between mother and child. And finally, it can provide a sense of well-being and satisfaction for the mother herself.
There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby to consider as well.
How to maintain lactation induced without pregnancy
Once you’ve successfully induced lactation and are able to produce milk for your baby, it’s important to maintain a good pumping and/or nursing schedule in order to keep up your supply.
Additionally, continue with any herbs or medications that your healthcare provider has prescribed—discontinuing them too early could cause your milk supply to dwindle. up.
Any possible side effects of inducing lactation without pregnancy?
There are a few potential side effects of inducing lactation without pregnancy that mothers should be aware of before they begin the process.
First of all, it takes dedication and time; if you’re not able to commit a few months or more to the process, then inducing lactation probably might be difficult. It requires regular stimulation of the breast, and it can oft times feel discouraging, especially in the beginning.
Additionally, there is always the possibility that you won’t be able produce enough milk for your baby; this is why it’s so important to consult with a medical professional before beginning the process. The amount of milk a person is able to produce varies significantly based on their prep, health history, and more. It’s important to have realistic expectations and celebrate any amount of milk that can be produced.
If you are using any type of lactation supplements or medication (especially hormonal medications), these can have varying levels of side effects.
And finally, some mothers report feeling engorged or uncomfortable while their bodies adjust to producing milk; again, this is normal and will subside with time as long as you maintain a good pumping/nursing schedule. However, it can be difficult for some to handle.
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about inducing lactation without pregnancy. If you’re interested in trying this method out, be sure to consult with a medical professional first—they’ll be able to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Remember, I offer virtual consults worldwide and would love to help you! Click here to book a consult!
And remember: patience is key! It takes time for your body to adjust to producing milk so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away.
More Articles You May Enjoy:
- Breastfeeding During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
- Birth Control When Breastfeeding: Everything You Need to Know
- The Ultimate Relactation Guide – How to Get Your Breast Milk Back
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.