Breastfeeding And Prescription Drugs To Increase Milk Supply

When all other methods have failed for increasing your milk supply, prescription drugs can help

Hello Mommies! I hope you are all doing well. Oh I should not leave out the great dads who may be reading this. I hope you are fine too. We are going to discuss the prescription drugs used to increase breast milk supply. These drugs are usually recommended if all other methods have failed due to low milk supply, or if some women want to relactate a baby that was weaned. In some cases, a woman might want to breastfeed an adopted baby.

Did you know that these medications cause an increase in the level of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, so they have the side effect of making breast milk.1 Under the direct supervision and monitoring of a doctor, these medications have been prescribed to help create, re-establish or increase the supply of breast milk for nursing mothers.

Our Amazing Bodies Can do It

Thanks to God, it is possible for non-pregnant women to lactate. Historically, the motivation for women who have not just given birth to lactate has been to feed an infant whose mother died or was unable to breastfeed. More recently, women who adopt infants and want to breastfeed them are also seeking ways to induce lactation. And of course, some couples who find breastfeeding erotically exciting are exploring these strategies as well. The most successful cases of women who haven’t just given birth lactating usually include a combination of hormone therapy and physical stimulation of the breasts and nipples.

Lets look at what happens during pregnancy

During pregnancy, elevated levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin prepare the breasts for milk production. After delivery, there is a dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone, but prolactin levels remain high and initiate the onset of lactation. Women who aren’t pregnant but who wish to lactate can take a daily regimen of hormones to mimic these processes that occur during pregnancy. Typically, hormone therapy is discontinued shortly before breast-feeding begins. At that point, the baby’s suckling is thought to stimulate and maintain milk production.

Maintaining milk flow

Regular stimulation of the breasts and nipples can also help to produce and maintain milk flow. Some experts suggest pumping both breasts with a hospital-grade electric breast pump every three hours, beginning about two months before you hope to begin breast-feeding. You can also manually stimulate the breasts and nipples (this is where partner participation may come in handy).

Breast stimulation can encourage the production and release of prolactin. A qualified lactation consultant(link is external) may provide you with specific techniques for stimulation and hormone therapy. You could also contact a local hospital or clinic to see if they have lactation consultants on staff, or visit your primary health care provider for a consultation.

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The most common prescribed galactagologues

1. Domperidone (Motilium)

  • Domperidone, is used to treat gastric problems.4 It’s not available in the United States but is commonly used in Canada and other countries to stimulate the production of breast milk.
  • Outside of the U.S., domperidone is believed to be safer than metoclopramide, with fewer side effects for nursing mothers. It’s also considered to be safe to take long-term. Side effects such as headache, stomach cramps, and dry mouth can occur but tend to be uncommon.
  • In the United States, the FDA has not approved domperidone for any condition.5 It warns against the use of this drug for anyone, especially breastfeeding women.
  • Reports of serious heart problems and sudden death have been associated with the intravenous (IV) use of this medication, so the FDA has deemed it unsafe.6 Therefore, in the US, it is illegal to import, sell or compound domperidone except for specific patients with severe stomach issues, and only after a doctor submits a special request to the FDA.

2.Metoclopramide (Reglan)

  • Metoclopramide is a medication used to treat stomach issues such as reflux, nausea, and vomiting.3 It is the most commonly used medication for lactation induction and increasing a low supply of breast milk in the United States.
  • Results can usually be seen in a few days, and will typically last as long as the medication is continued. The supply often dwindles again once the medication is no longer being taken.
  • Metoclopramide does travel to the baby through breast milk, but it hasn’t been shown to cause any problems in breastfed infants.
  • The common side effects of metoclopramide are sleepiness, headache, or restlessness.3 Less common, but more severe side effects have also been reported with the use of this medication.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that depression and tardive dyskinesia, a condition that causes tics, tremors or uncontrollable movements of the face and body, could result from taking metoclopramide in high doses over an extended period of time.3 In some cases, the involuntary movements do not resolve even after the medication is stopped.
  • Metoclopramide should not be taken for longer than 12 weeks, and should not be used by anyone who suffers from depression, a seizure disorder, asthma or high blood pressure.

Other Medications- Not Recommended due to Risks Vs Benefits

Tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol), and the blood pressure medication methyldopa (Aldomet) are some of the other prescriptions that can increase the level of prolactin in the body and potentially increase the supply of breast milk.7 However, side effects of these drugs can be very dangerous. The risks these medications pose to nursing mothers outweigh the benefits, so they are not used to enhance the milk supply.

What if I need to lactate but do not wish to take these drugs?

If hormone therapy or breast stimulation treatments are not the ways you’d like to go, you can check out a feeding aide that delivers formula or milk through a device that attaches to your breast (supplementary aid). For an erotic alternative, you could also drizzle milk on your breasts and invite your partner to imbibe that way.

Bottom line

Prescribed medications sometimes are necessary in the need for increased milk supply. Healthcare providers must be aware of the risks involved before prescribing. When these drugs are used for the right reasons, they can bring joy to the lives of many families. I hope you learned something to help you if you fall into one of the categories above. Please like, or comment on this post if you like. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best in your breastfeeding goals.

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