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  1. #1
    New Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Can I produce milk even if my second child is already 2yrs old?

    It really breaks my heart not to be able to breastfeed my children. I have some anxieties though. I have a goiter and I have 2 cysts already and I was afraid they would inherit it if a breastfeed. Can I produce milk even this late?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Marrickville, Sydney, Australia
    Hi Jhoan

    I feel for you! This would be a good conversation to have with your doctor. There seem to be two questions here - the possibility of transmitting a goitre to your child through breastfeeding, and whether you could start breastfeeding your 2 year old now. It would be interesting to know why you did not pursue breastfeeding after your baby was born. Was this something you were medically advised against or where there other issues?

    As far as passing goiter to you child through breastfeeding, let me preface by saying I am not a doctor. However as I understand it, while some forms of goitre can be inherited we are referring here to genetic predisposition - that is one family member having a goitre can in some cases increase the likelihood of other family members having a goitre. This has nothing to do with breastfeeding, just the genes that are inherited through conception. As I said, this is something you need to speak to a medical professional about.

    Inducing lactation (breastfeeding without or a long time after the birth of a baby) is something I can talk knowledgeably about because I have done it. My first child is biologically mine (my egg) but was born through a surrogate. It was my ardent wish to breastfeed her. I induced lactation, never having given birth to a baby.

    The reality is that while it is obviously difficult, female bodies are built to breastfeed and while pregnancy and birth are the usual triggers, there is evidence throughout history of women inducing lactation to feed babies they did not birth themselves. So the answer to whether you can produce milk this late is theoretically yes, however I am unsure whether having a goitre will impact on this.

    When a women is breastfeeding, the amount of milk she produces is directly related to the amount of feeding her baby does. It is the stimulation of her baby feeding which signals her body to make more milk. The same trigger is capitalised on when inducing lactation. I used an electric breast pump (because my baby had not been born) to mimic a baby feeding. Over time this result in the production of milk and I was ultimately able to feed my baby! There are medications that can help kick start your supply too.

    An additional issue to consider in your case is whether your 2 year old will be willing to feed. Some aren't, particularly if they have never been breastfed or were weaned a long time ago. It's not a reason not to try but it is something to consider when deciding whether too.

    Induced lactation is often referred to as adoptive breastfeeding because in many instances it is a women adopting a child who seeks to achieve it. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has an article on their website on adoptive breastfeeding you might like to read: Breastfeeding the adopted child. They also offer a booklet called ABA booklet: Breastfeeding: relactation and adoption which you may find useful.

    Lastly, it may be worthwhile seeking some counselling in regard to the strong emotions you are having around this issue. This may help you to sort through your feelings and thoughts and make decisions going forward. Obviously you would want to seek out a counselor experienced in these types of issues.

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