According to a recent report on the Today show, many adoptive mothers are now turning to hormonal therapy and prescription medication to stimulate lactation and breast-feed their babies. While both mother and baby may benefit significantly from the nutritional, financial, and emotional advantages of breast-feeding, it seems that many mothers may be ignoring the potential side effects and lasting harm of taking dangerous drugs for this purpose.
In these situations, the mother induces lactation by taking birth control pills for several months, deceiving her body into thinking that she is pregnant. Then, the woman takes domperidone, a gastrointestinal medication with a side effect of milk secretion. Because that drug has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, many women are using Reglan, which has similar side effects, or ordering the drug from pharmacies in other countries.
Reglan, which is also known by the generic name of metoclopramide, is generally used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux. Many people who take it are unaware of that prolonged use of the drug has been known to cause tardive dyskenesia, an often irreversible disorder that causes repetitive, involuntary movements of the face and extremities. Common side effects of the disorder include tongue protrusion, rapid eye blinking, lip smacking, puckering and pursing.
While we do not diminish the desire and benefits of adoptive mothers to breastfeed their babies, it is also important that they are aware of the risks and alternatives. In the Today article, the author described an alternative method of induced lactation that did not involve the use of hormones or drugs. Adoptive moms in Texas and throughout the U.S. may want to consider this method instead of taking Reglan for to stimulate lactation.
Source: Today, "More adoptive moms learn to breast-feed their babies," Kristin Kalning, Nov. 22, 2011