Justine and Caroline are Breastfeeding a Baby (Part II)

Justine Hémond, Caroline Fréchette and their little baby form a tight-knit family unit. They’re united, among other things, by ties of… milk!

Caroline carried the baby in her belly. But, unusually, both mothers are breastfeeding the little one. Thanks to “induced breastfeeding” – a treatment that triggers the production of milk without pregnancy – Justine can breastfeed, an experience she describes as marvelous.

By Marie-Claude Simard

Justine believes there’s a lot of awareness raising to be done concerning induced lactation.

She works with JAG, an LGBT+ organization that serves the Montérégie area. She says that even she wasn’t always fully understood by her family and friends.

Justine and Caroline, with their growing boy Chad.

“There was a lot of fear from my circle,” she admits. “For them, it was normal that my wife would breastfeed. They couldn’t figure out why I would want to breastfeed. But slowly, as they saw that the baby was developing well, that he didn’t prefer one milk to another, those fears just faded.”

Justine did a lot of research before setting off on this adventure. She recommends that people who want to go down this road get informed through groups like the LGBT+ Family Coalition. This organization has published a guide to lactation on its website addressed to parents in general, be it an adoptive mother, a lesbian mother, a trans man, a trans woman or a non-binary person. The Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation also offers some useful information on its website.

A Little Known Protocol

Induced lactation without a pregnancy doesn’t always produce enough milk to satisfy a child’s needs. There can be side effects. You should always seek the support of the health care system.  

Not all doctors are familiar with this process, nor are they necessarily at ease with it. As Justine puts it: “When we got a positive pregnancy test, I phoned my family doctor. He clearly had no idea what I was talking about. It was as if I was speaking Chinese!”

A few months later, Justine finally found a specialist at her CLSC who agreed to accompany her. The doctor, a lady, followed up with her the whole way, even during breastfeeding, to make sure that everything ran smoothly with baby and partner.

Justine thinks that medical personnel should become more familiar with LGBT+ realities. “Some are up to date on things,” Justine observes. “They’re adequate and they’re open minded, even if they don’t know everything, like the nurses and the specialist who supported me. They are rare pearls, there to equip us, or at least refer us. If that had happened from the start with me, I could have started sooner.”

The two lovers, who have been together for two and a half years, recently bought a house in Granby. They want more children. Next time, Justine will carry their baby to term. “Breastfeeding allowed me to feel more comfortable in my role as a mom. It gave me confidence. That has brought me pride and happiness.”

JAG’s Mission

JAG is an LGBT+ organization dedicated to raising awareness, supporting and referring. They serve the population of Montérégie, from Vaudreuil to Sorel via Longueuil. At first their services were focused on young gay adults (Jeunes Adultes Gai-e-s, which is how they came up with JAG). But since, it’s opened its doors to everyone touched near or far by questions relating to affective diversity, sex, gender, or those questioning themselves in these areas. The organization, based in Saint-Hyacinthe, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2022.

Phone: 450-774-1349

First seen in Reflet de Société, Vol. 29, no. 5, juin (June) 2021, pages 14 – 15.

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