I hope your week wasn't too stressful midwives. Sometimes it's really easy to get bogged down in the negatives - and feel unappreciated.
But the stuff you get up to at work is life changing.
Not just the emergency stuff, although this is obviously incredible care to give. I'm talking about the soft skills. A kind word or piece of advice to someone vulnerable can push them into parenthood with enough confidence to impact their family forever. So even if you don't feel like it right now, midwives, you are so very appreciated. More than I can put into words.
Hmm. The longer I write this blog, the more whimsical I get.
But there's something about spending time online with midwifery writers, people wanting to become midwives (some of whom have incredible life stories), and passionate midwives that blows me away.
I want to write about something this week I found really exciting. I have several close friends and family members who are gay. Several of them right now are either starting families or have children already. So this is a subject I care about.
I had something very different planned for this week, but I just had to rush and write this when I found out about it: when it comes to female same-sex couples and breastfeeding, consider suggesting induced lactation so the couple can co-feed!
I have heard of a Mum adopting a baby before who induced lactation so she could breastfeed. She established feeding well. However, I haven't come across it in women who I've looked after personally. Female same sex couples and induced breastfeeding is not something I came across when studying as a student midwife, and I haven't come across it in the last 4 years of practice either. So I'm not an expert, and this is just a quick round up of reading online.
But it makes perfect sense. Not only does induced lactation mean breastfeeding is less demanding, it has a host of other benefits like:
- More colostrum for babies as soon as they are born, especially if the birth mum has minimal supply, or there is a premature birth
- Increased skin to skin time with all its benefits
- Anecdotally (and logically!), babies settle more easily
- Bonding with both mums, and good relationship benefits reported for the couple in question
- Shared tricky days of cluster feeding
- More sleep for everyone!
It is definitely possible to induce lactation, even for women who have not had babies or breastfed before. It is fairly demanding, and obviously is a very personal decision for each couple.
The most common method of inducing lactation follows a schedule something like this:
- A mixed contraceptive of oestrogen and progesterone
- Donperidone, often 10mg 4x daily for 1 week, increasing slowly to 20mg 4x daily
- Hand expressing starting 6 weeks prior to the birth, followed by pumping, and then breastfeeding once the baby is born
It's also possible to help supply along with lactation inducing herbs and teas.
It's important that babies breastfeed most from their birth mother to begin with. This helps to establish supply. But it's also good for babies to have a few feeds from their co-feeding mother to get a good latch.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Are you a gay mother, or have you had any of your family induce lactation for any reason? Any good stories to share that we can learn from? Or have you supported a mother in practice with induced lactation, gay or otherwise?
I hope this week to come has lots of good relationships, wonderful births, and a good time on shift. Please look after yourselves out there and don't forget to have a laugh with your colleagues as well! If you keep yourself happy, you keep the women safe 🙂
If you'd like to share this post around and spread the induced lactation love, that'd be awesome. And if you like my stuff, perhaps consider subscribing to MidwifeDiaries 🙂