Induction of Lactation After Adoption in a Muslim Mother With History of Breast Cancer: A Case Study

J Hum Lact. 2021 Feb;37(1):194-199. doi: 10.1177/0890334420976333. Epub 2020 Dec 4.


Introduction: With the prevalence of infertility increasing worldwide, many are seeking adoption to fulfill the need to start or expand their family. However, one of the challenges mothers face is the lack of the early maternal bond with the adopted infant, which typically starts during pregnancy, and then continues after birth, while providing care and nourishment to the infant. Breastfeeding is proven to strengthen the maternal-infant bond and provides numerous benefits to the dyad. Reports of induced lactation in non-biological mothers are uncommon, they are even more uncommon to find in women with a history of breast cancer.

Main issue: The induction of lactation in a Muslim adoptive mother who had a history of breast cancer.

Management: Pharmacologic methods, which included galactagogues Domperidone and fenugreek, in addition to non-pharmacologic methods that included breast stimulation by using a breast pump. The participant was able to provide her own milk for her adopted infant.

Conclusion: When provided with proper support, an adopting mother with a history of breast radiation was able to breastfeed. The participant's need to provide her own expressed milk was met; although, she was counseled on the possibility that her milk production will most likely not be sufficient to entirely meet the infant's needs. Determination and support definitely have a role in cases where the influence of past treatment on human milk production is not known.

Keywords: Islam; adoptive lactation; breast cancer; breastfeeding; breastfeeding difficulties; induced lactation.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Islam
  • Lactation
  • Mothers*
  • Pregnancy