Can women produce milk without pregnancy

Induced lactation or. Relactation is called the targeted induction of milk production (lactation) without a previous pregnancy. In principle, milk production can be induced in any woman regardless of pregnancy, and lactation can even be induced in men. A pregnancy (possibly years) in the past facilitates induction, but is not necessary. The term Induced lactation is used while the word in women who have never been pregnant Relactation Used in women who want to restart the flow of milk after a break in breastfeeding. The woman may also be past menopause, be sterilized, or have had a hysterectomy. Targeted induction is usually used to breastfeed an adopted child and is then called adoptive breastfeeding. Occasionally the induction of milk production also takes place for erotic reasons; see erotic lactation.

The spontaneously occurring galactorrhea must be distinguished from induced lactation.


Various external factors help to increase the level of prolactin in the blood and thus stimulate milk production. In principle, regularly repeated mechanical stimulation of the nipples is sufficient to start the flow of milk. The most effective suction / wringing motions, such as those performed by an infant while breastfeeding, are most effective. The second most effective is a hand massage, using "milking" movements that mimic the suckling of the infant. Only the third most effective method is the use of a breast pump. The stimulation should take place at least six times a day for at least 10 to a maximum of 30 minutes each time. Depending on the system and external circumstances, the first real drops of milk can be reached after 6 days to 6 weeks.[1]

To avoid the rather time-consuming manual process, many women resort to medical help, at least for the first few months. As a rule, the dopamine antagonist domperidone is used[2][3]. Domperidone does not cross the blood-brain barrier, only passes into the milk in very small amounts and has surprisingly few side effects. However, at least in Germany, domperidone is not approved for the induction of milk production. The use of domperidone for milk production is a hot topic internationally, as this drug is on the one hand very effective for this purpose, but on the other hand a death had been reported with a very high intravenous dose during chemotherapy. In contrast, according to Newman and Schöbl, only 10–20 mg are used three to four times a day for 3–8 weeks to induce milk production. The majority of women respond within 3-4 days at this dose, some within 24 hours and others within 2-3 weeks.

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Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Roland Schöbl: Erotic Lactation, Denkholz 2007, ISBN 978-3-9811894-1-4
  2. ^ Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine: ABM Protocols
  3. ↑ Dr. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC; Teresa Pitman, "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers," Prima Publishing, Roseville CA, 2000, pp. 86-89