Why mum was wary of breastfeeding son she didn't have
At first, Dani Andlemac was shy about telling people she was breastfeeding her son. But now she can't contain her joy at the special bond she shares with a little boy she didn't give birth to.
Dani didn't give birth to Theo, her wife Bec carried the child. But the couple are among a growing number of Queenslanders who are co-feeding.
"A lot of people were really surprised when I told them. They didn't think it was possible. I was a bit embarrassed but now after the most wonderful bonding experience with my son I am a big advocate of induced lactation," the Ipswich woman told The Courier-Mail.
With the help of a lactation consultant and without the use of hormone medication, Dani was able to produce milk through breast stimulation.
"Cuddling up close to Theo during feeding was the most special time," she said.
Queensland's Virginia Thorley has been a lactation consultant for close to 35 years and over that time has aided countless women to breastfeed babies they did not give birth to.
Some were cases where a gestational carrier was involved, the child was adopted or same sex parents.
"This is my area of interest and my research shows that when a baby is fed by a woman who is not the birth mother the child does well and is usually in the normal growth range. Milk is milk," she said.
"Not only does induced lactation help with the bonding of the baby but it boosts bonding between the parents," Ms Thorley said.
Bec Andlemac is still feeding Theo, who is now two.
Dani is now without a milk supply but loves to comfort feed the child.
"I might be the 'tummy mummy'" but co-feeding has allowed us both to have the same special relationship with our son. Sharing the load really makes things so much easier and has allowed us both to return to work quicker," Bec said.
Ms Thorley says every woman is different when it comes to breastfeeding. There are no guarantees with inducing milk but when it works it works wonderfully.