Transgender Woman Breastfeeds Baby In First Recorded Case

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Dr. Tamar Reisman and nurse practitioner Zil Goldstein from the Mt. Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery published their extraordinary findings in Transgender Health.

The woman, 30, said that she had decided even before her child was born that she would breastfeed. Her partner was pregnant with the baby, but didn't plan on breastfeeding, The Post reported. The patient instead chose to take on the role of being the primary food source for her infant.

One of the drugs used to boost her milk supply - domperidone - was bought from Canada, as it is not approved for sale in the U.S. The unidentified trans woman neither gave birth to the baby, nor has undergone any gender-reassignment surgery like breast augmentation or vaginoplasty.

According to the study, the woman underwent a three-and-a-half month treatment that included a drug to stimulate lactation and suppress testosterone. Her first follow-up visit was after a month.

"The transgender woman came to our clinic with the goal of being able to breastfeed her adopted infant". It's possible that the breast pump, which was used six times a day during the treatment phase, increased the patient's prolactin levels independently of the domperidone, report the researchers. After the child was born, the patient could produce 227 grams of milk a day and sufficiently breastfed for six weeks.

For a variety of reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies breast-feed exclusively for the first six months - unless there is a medical reason not to - and then continue breast-feeding while supplementing with solid foods for at least a year. "During that time the child's pediatrician reported that the child's growth, feeding, and bowel habits were developmentally appropriate", the report stated.

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The woman, concerned that her breastmilk volume was not enough, supplemented her child's food with four to eight oz of Similac brand formula. She continued breastfeeding along with formula feeds. She also continues to adhere to the medication regiment prescribed to her.

Madeline Deutsh, a doctor at the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and who is also a transgender woman, argued that indeed, there has not been adequate research about the safety of the regimen to the newborn.

Doctors said the case shows "modest but functional lactation can be induced in transgender women".

Thomas, a pediatrician and lactation consultant for Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, said the regimen used in the case study is similar to the one used for mothers who can not produce milk on their own, except for the spironolactone needed to block testosterone.

"This is a very big deal", Boston University School of Medicine associate professor Joshua Safer told New Scientist magazine. Safer is not involved with the treatment. "Many transgender women are looking to have as numerous experiences of non-transgender women as they can, so I can see this will be extremely popular", he said. An analysis could reveal key differences between the breastmilk of transgender women and gestational mothers.