born twiceIn the new Penelope Cruz movie Born Twice, Cruz plays a woman who tries to breastfeed her surrogate-born baby. It's a dramatic scene, and Cruz's character fails because you can't breastfeed if you haven't actually given birth -- or can you?

I was wondering about this. I mean, I get the drama of the scene and for the movie it's kind of a moot point. But I'm a mom with lots of questions, so I wanted to find out: Can you breastfeed if you haven't given birth?

It's not easy. But it's possible!

You can induce lactation without giving birth -- usually by using a hospital-grade breast pump for about two months before you want to start breastfeeding. That jump-starts the breastfeeding hormones. Sometimes doctors prescribe additional hormone therapy as well, up to just before you start breastfeeding.

So that's pumping both breasts every three hours around the clock for two months. With a hospital-grade pump -- ever tried one of those? I have. SHUDDER. Anyway, it's a LOT of trouble to go through. I can see why there aren't more women out there committing to breastfeeding their adopted or surrogate babies!

Still, I think it's amazing that it's possible. I mean, sometimes it seems like there's just no end to the surprising things our bodies can do. Supposedly, if you're lucky, you can induce lactation just through hand-pumping instead of that horrid hospital pump. But you know, every woman is different, so what works for one woman won't work for another. There are women who DO give birth and still have trouble lactating. So there are no guarantees here! But it might be worth a try for those who have the energy and resources to do it.

Would you ever try to induce lactation to breastfeed a surrogate or adopted baby?

 

Image via Picomedia/Yahoo