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Parents who do not give birth to their baby may wish to breastfeed or chest feed (a term that describes feeding a baby from the chest and avoids using the word breast). These may include foster and adoptive parents, surrogate parents, partners of birthing parents, and parents of all sexes, genders, and sexual orientations. For example, some trans men with intact mammary glands may wish to breastfeed or chest feed. The medical professional can provide guidance and sup- port through this process, which can be both rewarding and stressful.

Breastfeeding by a non-birthing parent with mammary glands may be accomplished after preparation of the breasts to induce milk production. Estrogen and progesterone may be used to mimic the proliferation of mammary tissue that occurs during pregnancy. Once hormonal therapy is complete, pharmacotherapy and galactagogues may be used to increase prolactin levels. The effectiveness of these agents varies, and side effects should be considered carefully.

The next important step in the induction process is nipple stimulation. Over a period of time, the nonpregnant mammary gland may undergo changes in response to the physical stimulation of suckling or pumping the breast. If the breast is stimulated, prolactin may be secreted, and milk may be produced. The increase in prolactin and milk production, however, is variable. Milk production may take from 1 to 6 weeks (on average about 4 weeks) to begin, after initiating pumping or suckling.

Another key component to successful lactation is the letdown reflex, which is directly dependent on adequate levels of circulating oxytocin. Letdown may be facilitated by exogenous oxytocin.

The amount of milk produced varies, depending on the physiological anatomy and the pregnancy history of the parent. Frequent stimulation of the breast is essential. Current evidence suggests that achieving a full milk supply in a non- birthing parent is unlikely.

It may be useful and often necessary for the parent to use a supplemental feeding device (eg, an at-breast lactation aid device with a small feeding tube attached at the breast) while breastfeeding or chest feeding. This technique allows the baby to receive supplemental nutrition while suckling. Parents in these circumstances find that bonding with their baby is enhanced with suckling or breastfeeding, even when there is little to no milk being produced. Use of the at-breast lactation aid device to provide nutrition (via human donor milk or commercial formula) also allows parents who wish to avoid exogenous agents to still participate in chest feeding.

It is advised that this process begin well before the arrival of the baby, which can be stressful and may interfere with milk production. A consultation with a medical professional or medical team that specializes in lactation, as well as a knowledgeable lactation specialist, is advised. Recommendations, and pharmacological agents, if needed, should be tailored to each family’s circumstances.


Female chest Breast anatomy and physiology structure detailed colorful diagram on a white background


Relactation may be desired by mothers who initiated lactation and stopped for any number of reasons. When compared with non-birthing mothers who initiate lactation to nurse an adopted baby, birthing mothers who have previously lactated are more likely to achieve a full milk supply. With renewed stimulation to the nipple, the neuroendocrine loop can be reactivated, and milk production may ensue. Evidence for the use of galactagogues is mixed in these cases. Research suggests that successful relactation can happen in most cases, when the newborn or infant is young (especially younger than 6 weeks) and even more so when the mother is also young (younger than 25 years) and has a good support system.

1-How many years can woman produce breast milk

A woman can produce breast milk for as long as she continues to stimulate her breasts through breastfeeding or pumping. The duration for which a woman can produce breast milk varies from person to person. In general, lactation (the production of breast milk) can continue for several years if breastfeeding or breast stimulation is maintained. However, it’s important to note that breastfeeding patterns and milk production may change over time, and the amount of breast milk produced typically decreases as a child grows older and begins to consume other foods. If a woman stops breastfeeding or pumping, her milk supply will gradually decrease and eventually cease.

2-How much milk can a woman produce in 24 hour

The amount of breast milk produced by a woman in a 24-hour period can vary widely depending on various factors such as the age of the baby, breastfeeding frequency and duration, maternal health, hydration, and individual variations. However, on average, a breastfeeding mother typically produces about 25-35 ounces (750-1,000 milliliters) of breast milk per day during the first few months postpartum. This quantity can fluctuate throughout the day and may increase or decrease depending on factors like baby’s growth spurts, feeding patterns, and maternal supply-demand balance. It’s worth noting that breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand process, meaning that the more frequently and effectively the baby feeds, the more milk the mother’s body is stimulated to produce.

Additional Resources

For more details, refer to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine protocol, “Guidelines for Breastfeeding Infants with Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate, or Cleft Lip and Palate.” The American Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Association offers instructions for newborn nurseries (https://cleftline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/ Tips-for-Hospital-Nurseries-2017.pdf).

For more details on Down syndrome, refer to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine protocol, “Breastfeeding the Hypotonic Infant.”

The following organizations have useful information for patients:

  • The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (https://www.ndsccenter.org/wp- content/uploads/CDSS_breastfeeding_brochure.pdf)
  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association (https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/ bf-info/down)

Aman k. Kashyap

I am a hard-working and driven medical student who isn't afraid to face any challenge. I'm passionate about my work . I would describe myself as an open and honest person who doesn't believe in misleading other people and tries to be fair in everything I do.

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