Many expecting mothers worry about whether or not their breasts will be able to supply their baby with the milk they need, but for one mom who is making medical history, seeing those first drops of milk was even more amazing than usual.
The case, documented in in Transgender Health, describes how a 30-year-old transgender woman sought help from doctors at Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City just as her partner was entering the final trimester of pregnancy.
The woman’s partner did not want to breastfeed, but she did. She had not had gender reassignment or breast augmentation surgery, but had been taking hormones for six years, and had developed breasts.
Her breasts looked fully grown, and, thanks to her doctors, the woman was soon able to use them to help her baby grow.
The mom-to-be was put on an anti-nausea drug called domperidone to increase milk production. Her doses of hormones were upped, too.
Aside from the testosterone blocking hormone spironolactone, this is basically the same treatment other women who haven’t recently been pregnant but want to breastfeed—including some adoptive moms and those who’ve grown their family through surrogacy—use to induce lactation.
Along with the domperidone and the hormones, the woman began to pump, and, within a month she was producing milk. By the time her child entered the world she was pumping 8 ounces of breastmilk per day.
For six weeks the new mom exclusively breastfed her new baby (who was growing and developing normally) but her milk output didn’t increase so she began supplementing with formula.
As New Scientist notes, this case is not the first time in history a transgender woman has breastfed her baby. Success stories can be found on internet forums, but this is the first time one has been documented in medical literature.
This woman’s story reminds us that you don’t have to have given birth to be a breastfeeding mama, and while breastfeeding can be a challenge, there’s a lot of help, and hope, out there for nursing moms.