Inducing lactation without being pregnant can take between 4 weeks and 6 months, depending on the method followed.
Using hormones to induce lactation is the method that allows for the most precise planning. It's also the most effective method to induce lactation.
We made separate articles with the detailed steps you need to follow to induce lactation without being pregnant, depending on how much time you have (the more preparation time, the more the likelihood of success):
- Inducing lactation if you have more than 90 days to prepare
- Inducing lactation if you have between 30 and 90 days to prepare
- Inducing lactation if you have less than 30 days to prepare
In each of the 3 articles we allow for minimum 3 to 4 weeks of hormone therapy before you can start trying to express milk from your breasts via pumping.
After you start pumping regularly, it may take a few days, a week, or more for your breasts to start expressing milk. Everyone responds differently. The general rule is that the more preparation time you allowed during the hormone therapy phase, the faster the milk will come when you start pumping.
The Newman-Goldfarb protocols, on which our steps are based, have a high success rate. Most women from Western countries who induce lactation using these protocols manage to produce enough milk to cover the majority their baby’s nutritional needs.
A famous study made on 240 women who induced lactation to breastfeed adopted children found that two third of these women estimated they were providing 50-75% of their babies nutrition as breast milk.1
It can even work on a population that wouldn't normally be able to breastfeed like postmenopausal women, women who suffer from ovary dysfunction/ablation or transgender women.
1. Auerbach KG, Avery JL. Induced lactation. A study of adoptive nursing by 240 women. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1960). 1981 Apr;135(4):340-343.
Article tags: Breastfeeding and maternity