Sunday, August 7, 2011

Breastmilk after surrogacy

This may be weird to some, but one of the things that have been most uncomfortable for me about the surrogacy is the fact that I will have breast milk and no baby to feed! I feel like it is such a waste. I am a BIG advocate of breastfeeding and feel bad that I will not be able to share the wonderful goodness of breast milk with the baby I carried.

I considered donating, but I do not pump well. I pumped a little with each of my 3 children, especially in the beginning to get my milk supply up and when I was away during feeding time (which was hardly ever). I just never responded well to the pump - didn't get as much out as if I was feeding the baby naturally. If I could be a wet nurse for a baby during the day, I so would do it. A child that lived close that I could feed 4 times a day or something like that.......

A friend of mine was a La Leche League leader and passed on my circumstances to the another leader. I talked with her last night and she gave me some helpful information.

Here is what I remember from the conversation:
try NOT to stimulate your nipples/breast before delivery/soon after.
It is NOT recommended to bind the breast - this could lead to mastitis - wear a supportive bra
If I get engorged, hand express ONLY to relieve pressure/get to a level of discomfort you can live with, don't totally empty, otherwise your breasts will increase supply.
Ibuprofen can help with inflammation, but it is not recommended for the 1st 4 weeks after delivery. Take Tylenol for pain. Ibuprofen is a closer relative to aspirin and can cause hemorrhaging if taken after delivery. Be cautious with Tylenol as it can cause liver damage if taken too much.
Cold medicine with pseudo-ephedrine may be helpful to dry up fluid. This is the kind that is behind the counter now that you have to sign for as it can be used in making crystal meth. She said even just a couple of doses have helped some women she has worked with.
Sage tea or eating sage herb may be helpful.
Ice on the engorged breasts may help.

She said I may get differing opinions from hospital staff, but this is what she recommends based on the current research she has done. I suggest doing your own research and make informed decisions for what is best for you.

She included a couple of good videos about hand expression of milk to relieve some of the engorgement.

Hope this is helpful. I would be interested in hearing what other people plan on doing/what they have done.


  1. Carla, I'm also a LLL leader and I think you've gotten some very good advice here, although I would not recommend avoiding ibuprofen. It is so commonly given to mothers postpartum, and so much more effective than Tylenol in my experience.

    I would also remind you that because the breast rebuilds its milk duct system during every pregnancy, and every time is different, it is possible that you will be able to pump more effectively after birthing this baby than you were able to in the past. Are the baby's parents open to milk donation from you?

    Also: don't forget cabbage leaves in the bra!

  2. The parents have not mentioned anything about milk donation. I no longer have any pumps either, so they would have to invest in one,if interested. For myself, I only had a manual one, so that probably did not work as well as an electric one would have...... She DID mention cabbage leaves - I forgot about that! Thanks for bringing that up! Yeah, I will most likely use Ibuprofen - she just said use caution......

  3. Hey, I'm coming to this post late but I have an idea to share.. peppermint! Apparently peppermint oil can dry up some moms (like me). I found out the hard way. I was using a body lotion with peppermint oil in it and I thought I was being so good and natural but couldn't figure out why my breasts were getting smaller and smaller. Sammy kept trying for hours! After I stopped the lotion/oil, I was full (read: over-flowing leaking pouring that pads couldn't/wouldn't protect me from all that trying previously) for a very long time while my body re-calibrated itself. Oh and still I can't have mint-chocolate chip ice cream, or any mint candies. Yup, dries me up like the Sahara!