Last Updated: 15 June 2020

When you hear the term “breastfeeding,” what do you imagine? You probably imagine a mother who has just given birth to a baby and is nursing him/her. However, do you know that a woman who hasn’t been pregnant can produce breast milk too? Yes, if you want to adopt or are waiting for a baby being born by surrogacy, it’s really possible for you to breastfeed him/her and feel that special bond between you and your sweetie. You can achieve this by inducing lactation! A female body is amazing, right?

Let’s find out what induced lactation means and effective ways to make breastfeeding possible for adoptive or foster mothers.

breast pump to induce lactation

When a woman is pregnant, the three hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin – are responsible for preparing the mom-to-be body for breastfeeding – it’s a natural way. But the good news for adoptive mothers is that a female’s breast can supply milk even without pregnancy, of course, if the breast is stimulated correctly. The hormone prolactin can help to produce breast milk through forced lactation.

Without too many details here, forced or induced lactation is a practice of helping women who haven’t given birth to produce milk and breastfeed a baby. There are numerous ways to induce lactation, starting from natural stimulation (e.g., suction) to consuming some of the medications.

Let’s go through these methods and see how to stimulate lactation!

Easiest And Fastest Methods To Induce Lactation

As it was said above, there are several options for women who would like to breastfeed a baby. With enough patience, determination, and a bit of luck, you’ll be able to stimulate milk flow and feed the little one on your own. However, you should be aware that building a milk production takes time, and you may need some amount of supplements.

Below you’ll find a list of options you definitely should try to stimulate milk flow effectively.

inducing lactation through suckling

Stimulate Lactation Through Suckling

This is one of the easiest and most natural ways to induce lactation without pregnancy. The act of breastfeeding, as well as pumping, stimulates breasts to encourage milk supply. If you have a friend with an infant, then before your baby comes home, ask to cuddle her infant, hold him/her as often as you can. It’ll raise the hormone level and give a boost to milk production. When your little wee is at home, put him/her to the breast as soon as possible. Experts recommend using an SNS (a supplemental nursing system); it’s a small tubing which you have to tape near your nipple. When the little one latches to the nipple, SNS ensures that he/she gets enough milk, while your breasts and nipples are being stimulated for milk production.

Use Breast Pump To Stimulate Lactation

Another excellent way to induce lactation is to use the best breast pump; it stimulates milk flow almost the same way as an infant’s suckling does. Experts insist on using a hospital-grade pump with a wide range of adjustable settings and motor strength. You’ll have to play around with the pump tweaks to figure out which ones work best for you. Remember, that you can even switch settings several times during every pumping session.

If you decide to induce lactation this way, you should understand that it’ll take some time and effort. Optimally, you must pump every 2 hours or even more often! It’s crucial to keep up the frequency, while milk production is being established.

Herbs For Lactation Induction

If you prefer natural methods, you’ll appreciate herbs for stimulation lactation. And there are lots of various herbs that may be helpful for you. They are available in different forms, e.g., cookies, tea, etc., so you can choose the most suitable one for you. We’ve prepared a list of the most effective herbs to boost milk flow.

medication to induce lactation
  • Fenugreek
  • Fennel
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Blessed thistle
  • Alfalfa
  • Goat’s rue
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Ginger
  • Garlic

If you buy a herbal supplement, it’ll include several of the above components. Although herbs are quite effective and safe, you should consult a medical expert because some of the ingredients may cause allergic reactions.

Medicines To Induce Lactation

Doctors often prescribe medications for induced lactation stimulation. The medicines include birth control pills – they are capable of stimulating milk supply without pregnancy. The pills contain hormones estrogen and progesterone, which encourage milk production; you’ll have to take pills for a few cycles. However, providers still recommend breast and nipples stimulation.

Before starting any medications to induce lactation, do consult a doctor. A specialist will help you to choose a correct version of pills that will be safe and effective for you.

How Long To Induce Lactation

We understand that inducing lactation is a bit frustrating and time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort! If you practice pumping or suckling regularly and helping yourself with herbal supplements or medications, it’ll take from 2 to 4 weeks to see the first results. Don’t get upset if the first output is just a few milliliters. It’s all right. Look at those milliliters as a victory because it means that your body has learned to produce milk without pregnancy.


Every woman is different, and inducing milk can take more or less time. Plus, the quantity and quality of milk vary in women. However, it’s difficult to overestimate how significant breastfeeding is for a baby. Especially if you are an adoptive or foster mother, then breastfeeding is the best way to create that special bond between you and your little one! So, every drop of your milk is important. It’s the best gift for your baby!

We, here at, hope this post has been helpful, and now you know how to induce lactation fast! If you need further information, contact your local lactation consultant.

Take care!

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