The LiquidGoldConcept Summer 2018 intern team recently had the privilege of interviewing Glenis Decuir who induced lactation to co-breastfeed with her pregnant partner. Glenis is doing this while taking care of her two children 10 and 12 and being at work and school full time. Her goal is to provide nutrition and bond with her infant.
Induced Lactation is the ability for a person to breastfeed without going through pregnancy. While there are other ways this can occur, following the Newman-Goldfarb Protocol Glenis has found great success in inducing lactation and is motivated to share her story with other parents.
Photo courtesy of Glenis Decuir
*Disclaimer: Responses have been edited with consent of the participant.
Q: Why do you want to share your story?
A: I have made it my mission to share my inducing lactation journey because when I first started going through this process I had no support. I spent a long time trying to find a support system. Now that I have built it and had success, I don’t want anyone else to go through this alone. I want families everywhere to know this is possible.
Q: What has been the biggest change for you and your family?
A: I have a 10 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. My son is being raised by two women and he is very shy about “boy talk.” Therefore, the biggest change has been in the conversation surrounding “what breasts are” with my children. Before, breasts were a private or sexualized part that should be hidden. I sat down with my kids and explained to them that breasts are also for nourishment. My son was very uncomfortable when I first started pumping, but I can’t shove myself in a corner all day and I shouldn’t have to. It wasn’t easy, but I am very very proud we have had this discussion.
Q: What are the big differences between your previous pregnancies and inducing lactation?
A: Monday the 23rd marks the beginning of my fourth week of pumping, and I am already making more milk now than I ever did with my two other children. I am currently producing around 9.5 ounces per day, while during my previous breastfeeding experience, I was only able the make about 3 ounces per day. I really thank Domperidone for that. With my other kids I was told to just keep pumping and drinking lots of water, but that was about 12 years ago, a lot has changed since then. With supplementation, I was able to breastfeed my daughter for 9 months which I am very proud of. Unfortunately my son had a lot of stomach issues so I could only breastfeed for about 3 months and then he had to be on Alimentum formula. With all this milk production already, I am expecting greater success with Orion.
Q: What specifically are you doing in addition to pumping to increase milk production?
A: Before starting the protocol I did a lot of research. I research a lot on Google, talk to my lactation consultant, and I also emailed Dr. Jack Newman himself. He recommended Goat’s Rue. Since the beginning I have been taking 3,500mg (2 pills 3x a day) of Motherlove Goat’s Rue. I do not have a scientific background, but I read scientific studies. A lot of what is readily available on the internet is people talking about benefits or effects, not so much scientific evidence. I am however part of a lot of support groups online and they talk about a lot of herbs and supplements, they just confirm what is all over the internet. Getting feedback from people in a similar situation is reassuring.
Q: You talk a lot about the importance of a good support network, what does that look like to you now?
A: My wife was actually the one who brought this protocol to me. Since I have birthed two of my own it was really difficult for me to feel connected in the beginning, I couldn’t see where I would have a place in the process. We were looking for ways for me to bond with the baby, and my wife came across inducing lactation so I took it and ran with it. I am also very lucky I work in an accepting and accessible environment. I have a pumping room with a lock, a sink, soap, table, and chair. It’s not the prettiest but it has everything I need. There’s also a common fridge in the break room, which I proudly put my breastmilk and flanges in and no one has a problem with.
Q: How have your experiences with health care providers been?
A: I got a lot of pushback and confusion regarding my intent to induce lactation, especially as many of my initial health care providers didn’t know the Newman-Goldfarb Protocol. I am very health conscious and when I was thinking about this protocol it was very important for me to be surrounded by a team of doctors that were aware what I was going through and possible implications. A lot of people are unable to advocate for themselves, or do not have a team supportive health providers and may be going through severe medical issues alone, putting themselves at risk. I was determined to find a team that knew the risk, benefits, and help support me through this journey. My primary care physician wasn’t aware of the protocol and couldn’t help me, so she told me to see a lactation consultant. The first LC I saw didn’t know much about inducing lactation either which led me to my current LC who is great. While I wasn’t surprised my PCP wasn’t aware of the protocol I wasn’t prepared for it emotionally. I left their office feeling very alone and like I was back at square one. I think all PCPs, LCs, adoption agencies, fertility clinics should be aware of this and be prepared to pass this information on as an option or to have this conversation.
Q: Do you think this protocol is feasible for all moms that want to induce lactation?
A: Everyone is different in what they personally consider a success. It is expensive, it is emotionally taxing, there are side effects to this like weight gain, but I wouldn’t change it. It’s a sacrifice i’ve had to make but I would do anything for my children. It was a no brainer for me. A lot of moms come to me asking about information, I send them the Newman Goldfarb information and if they are still interested I tell them to come back and I tell them honestly what the process is. Feasibility is really up to the individual but with the right support I think it is definitely a viable option for a lot of people.
If you are interested in staying up to date with Glenis’ story connect with her instagram.
Are you a mom who is also inducing lactation and looking for a support group? Connect here
Stay tuned throughout August as we dive deeper into Glenis’ story and Induced Lactation.