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Breast feeding
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Breast feeding

My wife and I have recently adopted a baby boy.  My wife has had a total hysterectomy to include removal of her ovaries.  Subsequent to our adoption, she has decided she wants to breast feed our baby.  Is it possible for her to produce any milk at this time?  Our baby will latch on, but there is not any evidence of milk production.  Does she need to increase prolactin levels?  If so, can these prolactin levels be increased safely?  Is there any other method to start producing milk?
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Thank you for visiting the Family Practice Forum.

When an infant suckles the breast, there are receptors on the nipple which sends a "message" to the hypothalamus and posterior pituitary causing prolactin production. It is the prolactin produced in this manner that stimulates the breast to produce milk. Nursing mothers should have and additional 600 calories to their diet 20g of which should be protein. An additional 400-500 mg of calicium is a good idea as well. Other vitamin supplements have been helpful as well (including prenatal vitamins).

It is possible to breastfeed. Prolactin levels could also be checked with a blood test. It is possible that you may not have given the baby enough "suckling" time. Most hospitals will have what is called a "lactation specialist". I would encourage you and your wife to consult with this person to learn different breastfeeding techniques and ways to improve milk "letdown".

I hope this helps and I wish you and your wife all the best with your new baby boy!
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