A transgender woman has made history by being the first to successfully breastfeed her baby, according to a study.
The woman, 30, said that she had decided even before her child was born that she would breastfeed. Her partner was pregnant with their baby, but had no plans to breastfeed, The Washington Post reports.
To prepare herself, the woman completed three and a half months of treatment that included drugs to stimulate lactation, and hormone therapy to suppress testosterone. She had not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery.
Tamar Reisman, who co-authored the study with Zil Goldstein, said,
We want to present our patients with the full range of reproductive choices, and this is one step closer to that.
Reisman, an endocrinologist with the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, described how doctors used “non-puerperal induced lactation,” a method used to stimulate lactation.
The transgender woman was also given additional supplements to induce lactation and was told to use a breast pump, the study said. After a month of treatment, the woman reportedly started producing droplets of milk. After three months, she was producing eight ounces of milk a day.
The patient then breastfed the baby during the first six weeks after birth, during which “the child’s growth, feeding and bowel habits were developmentally appropriate.” However, the woman had to supplement breastfeeding with formula later one because she wasn’t producing enough milk to fill the baby’s appetite.
The treatment has been hailed as a breakthrough by some, but doctor and transgender woman Madeline Deutsch, said that the science behind it is lacking. Deutsch has a child of her own and empathizes with transgender parents, but says that inducing lactation is “not something I would do.”
There needs to be more work done on the topic, Deutsch added, since “here are unknowns about the nutritional picture of the milk.”
The study was published in Transgender Health.